Letter: Original skinheads were not racist

"The skinheads started as a youth subculture in

"The skinheads started as a youth subculture in England, and their musical soundtrack was not a hateful one," writes Jordan Romano. (Credit: Janet Hamlin)

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Brian Levin's op-ed, "Rock of haters" [Opinion, Aug. 11], states, "The skinheads began as a 1970s British working-class movement and splintered into a racist subculture with its own folklore, symbols and, of course, music."

However, it is almost easy to overlook this statement and its meaning. When a person hears the term skinhead, it's often tied into neo-Nazis and violent hate crimes, like the atrocity committed at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. However, as Levin states, the skinheads started as a youth subculture in England, and their musical soundtrack was not a hateful one, but of Jamaican ska and reggae. Neat haircuts, Dr. Marten boots, Ben Sherman shirts, and Levi's jeans were a look complementing a working-class lifestyle. Their anthems were sung by such artists as Laurel Aitken, Symarip and Derrick Morgan.

When the punk rock movement started later in the '70s, the skinhead music made a comeback with loud aggressive songs that spoke of violence and police brutality. Only when politics became involved did racism emerge, completely contrary to the founding views and ideals of the original, and true, skinheads.

I urge your readers to look into this glorious and lost subculture and not let a few bad seeds take away our great name.

Jordan Romano, Hauppauge

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