BOOTS AND BEATS
True 'Skinheads' Are Not the Racist Thugs of Media Fame
The majority of skinheads are not racists. The skinhead movement itself was started in the mid-1960’s by working-class youths in England. Instead of opting for the flamboyant, fancy-dress escapism of the Mod and Teddy Boy youth cults before them, the skinheads embraced working-class fashion: cropped hair, meant-to-last shoes and boots, white T-shirts and worn Levis.
They also borrowed from their working-class West Indian neighbors, adopting trilby hats and crombie jackets, peg-legged striped suits and love for ska, the Jamaican music that mixed Latin beats and American jazz melodies and was the forerunner of modern reggae. The original skinheads loved to dance to these ska beats, often frequented all-black nightclubs and had, by the end of the decade, several Jamaican “skinhead reggae” records and bands they loyally supported.
Racism appeared on the scene in the 1970’s because of the poor economic climate in England. Many neo-Nazi groups began recruiting the skinheads, most of whom were in low-paying jobs or on the dole. Playing on the traditional nationalistic ideas of the working class, the fascist groups did their best to turn the skinheads against their immigrant neighbors. Unfortunately, many confused souls left the skinhead movement and joined the National Front and other neo-Nazi groups in England.
The skinhead movement never ended, although for a time in the 70’s it was nearly nonexistent. This was mainly due to the bad rap skinheads received for their perceived violent ways. The violence often arose when true skinheads were threatened by the racist groups. There was a huge skinhead revival in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with the advent of punk rock and oi, as well as with the Two Tone ska revival.It was this second wave of skinheads that saw the beginning of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, or Sharp, which has chapters in every state in the United States as well as in nearly all Western European countries. It is dedicated to upholding the traditions of the skinhead movement, as well as battling racism.
Real skinheads are not the neo-Nazi . They choose to be skinheads because they believe in the values of the working class, they believe all races should come together and they like to groove to the ska beat.