White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race

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Stephen Duncombe, Maxwell Tremblay
Verso Books, Jul 1, 2011 - Music - 371 pages
1 Review
From the Clash to Los Crudos, skinheads to afro-punks, the punk rock movement has been obsessed by race. And yet the connections have never been traced in a comprehensive way. White Riot is a definitive study of the subject, collecting first-person writing, lyrics, letters to zines, and analyses of punk history from across the globe. This book brings together writing from leading critics such as Greil Marcus and Dick Hebdige, personal reflections from punk pioneers such as Jimmy Pursey, Darryl Jenifer and Mimi Nguyen, and reports on punk scenes from Toronto to Jakarta.
 

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This book is an insulting, condescending fantasy-driven response to those of us who lived and created the LA punk lifestyle. Traber's off-the-wall totally-out-of-touch-with-LA-punk rant is not based on any actual interviews or archival material other than ONE source.
--I was shocked reading his 'essay' which is a CLASSIC! A classic? How can one man be the authority when he woefully closed his eyes to realities easily refuted by so many other sources, esp photos and fanzines which contradict most everything he states. He cherry-picked his quotes and thesis based on a ONE movie with a very specific, very narrow POV.
--The way he describes the punks at the Canterbury made me nauseous. MANY of them went onto very productive, accomplished creative lives and careers. They were far from "spoiled brats." Many were abused, neglected, confused, some mentally ill and most using drugs/booze (to self-medicate) who had NOWHERE else to go. Or were exploring their lives between high school and either college, trade school, work, marriage, raising a family.
--I was shocked when I first saw Penelope Spheeris' Decline. I'm in it and some of my most famous, iconic photos of X taken during her filming of that segment. Her film, although true from HER POV, didn't reflect my vast photo archive and personal experiences the previous four yrs, living and documenting the punk lifestyle, genre and scene. There's so much available refuting his feeble, wordy and obtuse essay. Read Slash Magazine and go from there! SHE had access to all the issues but chose to focus on the dark side.
--Those of us who created it, starting around 1976 and by spring/summer 1977, have a vastly different take on what, why and how LA Punk developed. I am SO tired of hearing we were racists or excluded the Other. Our doors were open. Many, many Latinos/Latinas involved, many Jews, many gay young men and women. WE were the Other. he goes on and about the Other. Wassup with that? WE were the rejected ones or rejected following the path society expects from us. At least for awhile, while we explored other CREATIVE options.
--Plus none of us embraced poverty. He went on and on about that. Tell me how we were supposed to make money when writing, photographing, performing and looking like we did and kept the hours we did. Plus many did work, at record stories, for bands, record companies, temp jobs and a wide variety of other jobs (some in the sex trade). He TOTALLY missed the point of living at the Canterbury. I was amazed no mention of the Masque.
--He's made a whole career by projecting HIS fantasies on the scene. Shame on him. Shame on the editors who included more of this tripe. Apparently, not many of the contributors were actually involved in punk back in the day and don't know how to research real facts. Oh well, people only see what THEY want to see. URGH!
 

Contents

Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay
1
TWO ROCK N ROLL NIGGER
18
Weatherman Songbook White Riot
27
Steve Waksman Kick Out the Jams
37
THREE WHITE MINORITY
44
Punk and the Contradictions of SelfMarginalization
82
White in Maximumrocmroll
99
FOUR WHITE POWER
114
The Impact
205
Fae Reggae Yiualitionfiom
216
Michelle HabellPallan éSoy Punkera y Que?
222
Michael Muhammad Knight Muhammad Was a Punk Rocker
235
Martin Sorrondeguy interview in Maximumroeenroll
248
SEVEN RACE RIOT
256
Kelly Besser What Happened? Chop Suey Spex
277
Vincent Chung I am Colorblind Race Riot
285

John Clarke The Skinheads and the Magical Recovery of Community
120
White or Black? SeznneaAlzve
142
FIVE PUNKY REGGAE PARTY
154
David Widgery Beating Time
170
Paul Gilroy Two Sides of AntiRacism
177
A Discussion
194
EIGHT IM SO BORED WITH THE
295
A Pune Roee Safizrifrom the First World
333
Notes
339
Permissions
367
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Stephen Duncombe, an Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of New York University, is the author of Dream and Notes from Underground, editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader, and coeditor (with Maxwell Tremblay) of White Riot.

Maxwell Tremblay writes for Maximumrocknroll, plays drums in the band SLEEPiES, and is a doctoral student in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. Follow Maxwell on Twitter (@maxwelltremblay)

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