September 9, 2011
While the punk rock movement has been obsessed by race, the connections have never been traced in a comprehensive way. White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race (Verso Press), edited by Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay, aims to do with a collection of first-person writing, lyrics, letters to ’zines, and analyses of punk history from across the globe.
“While punk has been largely, and largely correctly, defined as a white subculture, there is a vibrant history of punks of color that is often sequestered to the shadows,” the editors observe.
The book, which explores the racial politics of the last four decades of punk music, brings together writing from leading critics such as Greil Marcus and Dick Hebdige, personal reflections from punk pioneers such as Jimmy Pursey, Darryl Jennifer, and Mimi Nguyen, and reports on punk scenes from Toronto to Jakarta. Its essays are stories of youthful disaffection, alienation, and found community, with introductions by Duncombe and Tremblay that place each selection in its historical context.
Duncombe is an associate professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the author of Dream and Notes from Underground (Verso, 1997), and the editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader (Verso, June 2002). Tremblay writes for Maximumrocknroll, plays drums in the band SLEEPiES, and is a doctoral student in philosophy at the New School for Social Research.