Punks Around 11: POC Punks
Professor Falcon, Michelle Gonzalez, Carlos Romero, Martin Wong, Boston Brock, et al.
I feel like there's no punk culture without some form of confrontation, either to those who seek to oppress, of authority and its excesses, or to shitty ideas and the shitty people who have them. Punks Around 11, POC Punks does just that, and it's goddamn refreshing for it.
I'm a shitty punk. I've never been good at confrontation. I learned too early in life that I was too weird to speak out, and that pushing back against people who hurt me because of it was frowned upon at best, and actively punished at worst. I think that's really what drew me to punk, that there were poeple that knew how to push back, that weren't afraid of what would happen if they did, that had a place to direct their anger, that had a place where they could be taken at face value. Everyone deserves a community like that.
The pieces in POC Punks describe times when that doesn't happen, when the community fails the authors. This is nothing new, that white supremacy is so ingrained in society that people will do things like apply labels to anyone outside of the status quo, but if you're a skinny white guy, those labels don't apply to you. It's walking into a room full of people knowing you stand out, and wondering how you'll be perceived. It's finding solace in a music that speaks to you on a deep level, but knowing the actual scene is at least passively hostile towards you.
We can do better.
What strikes me the most in this is the way the authors speak about punk music and the scene out of love, and as such, this is where their disappointment comes from. They love this music, they love the values. It's a connection to their community, or to their father, or to their identity. And we could be doing so much better by them.
POC Punks should absolutely be required reading for every white cis male punk, especially anyone who considered themself anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-bigoted. It's easy, as a white person, to look past this. "I'm not really political." Motherfucker, you are, get your shit right. To quote from the zine what should be a constant refrain for the 2020s, "We have to get rid of the apolitical strain."