Letters to the Editor

The White Stuff

A day at the racists: I wanted to say that I have tremendous respect for David Holthouse's July 25 articles, "Skin Deep" and "White Like Me." His depiction of the neo-Nazi subculture (and the like) took the most unbiased approach I've truly seen about something of this nature. He didn't judge or bash this life and belief system. He treated it with respect and a sense of empathy (in "White Like Me"), which most people have a hard time doing in a situation like this (highly understandable, given the circumstances).

I also must commend the owner of Small Gatherings in the Arvada strip mall, Gregory Wolfe. He showed maturity and civility in his actions and "acceptance" by allowing this group to have their show. That would be hard for anyone to do. So I'm expressing a sense of gratitude for such behavior.

Now, before people start believing I'm part of this subculture, I'd like to point out that I'm a nineteen-year-old female of Japanese and Black descent (yes, I am from an interracial marriage). I may not like how neo-Nazis feel; I do, however, wish to let them -- or anyone, for that matter -- be able to have the right to say and believe what they wish to say and believe. I wouldn't want my beliefs to be cast aside because others don't agree. I have been discriminated against and have dealt with plenty of racism in my short years. But I've formed my own belief system that does not hate those who may hate me. I see being "racist" against such a "racist" subculture as redundant. All the hatred will continue to breed so long as we, as supposedly open-minded individuals, can't at least act with civility toward those we consider close-minded. Needless to say, I didn't agree with some of Anti-Racist Action's tactics (or the police department's) in attempting to shut down the showcase.

I just wished to express my respect for the portrayal of such a hated group. I commend the efforts of the writer and Westword. I leave this last paraphrased quote from Voltaire that I hold as truth: "I may not agree whole-heartedly with what you have to say...but I will defend with my life your right to say it."

Autumn Yamamoto

Reich and wrong: ARA? Where was ya? David Holthouse's "Skin Deep" should have unnerved the most simplistic folk: Nazis gathering at any supermarket, possibly recruiting, possibly selling drugs. Just one problem: The story is fifteen years too late. Game over! The good guys won.

When I was younger, there was a time when going to certain types of shows and bars could invite trouble. Back in the day (late '80s), skins could ruin any show, from Social Distortion to Suicidal Tendencies to GBH...none of which ever showed a hint of white-power rantings laced in their lyrics. "Longhairs" (read punks or, I assume, today's ARA) got pummeled in mosh pits by organized skins. This was the time of Maximilius Grant, and others, kidnapping a male beautician in utter bigotry. Denver police added the surveillance of skinhead groups to its growing anti-gang task force. My friends and I would gather at Cafe 13 (now a pizza joint) and discuss what we needed to do; how shows sucked because we had to be wary of the racists/bigots who patronized the same shows.

With time...something happened. Music allegiance started to pigeonhole, yet expand simultaneously. Bigger acts didn't need skin following, and ones that did just disappeared from even the most liberal publications. The defiance to skin moshing was punctuated when Mike Ness heckled a racist locally at the Fillmore just a short while back.

Regarding the article (and I am fighting to choose the words so that I don't sound contradictory): I believe a mere 150 people (as reported in "Skin Deep") have a right to gather and believe what they choose (as long as there is no harm to others). Good people of ARA: There is a world of difference between being intimidated by others and attempting to prevent a gathering of 150 people who listen to crap (like "Max Resist"), something you wouldn't bother with anyway. The war is over, the losers, um, lost.

Ken Hodson

Neck and necktie: A pretty balanced report there, all in all -- certainly more balanced than I've come to expect from the "mainstream" press. It was particularly refreshing to see Holthouse criticize the "po-lice"; he's right that they had no right to search the skins without a warrant. These ADL-conditioned bastards are the real thugs -- far more of a threat to American liberty than the tattooed bad boys they were harassing.