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You can be harmed by what you don’t know.
I used to match my shoelaces to my hair color when I was younger (I still do, but with more discretion). I started playing in a new band during my blue hair days, and for the first time, I was exposed to a scene wider than the nearby suburbs. “You must truly detest cops,” our guitarist casually commented at a session early in this group’s tenure. I was perplexed. You might claim that I’ve never been on the law enforcement side of a dispute, but I’m not sure that qualifies as “truly loathing” something, or from where he was getting this knowledge.
I was even more perplexed when he said that he could tell from my shoelaces. I assumed he was making it up or making a poor effort at a joke, but it turns out that what he was saying was true: Dr. Marten’s boots with colorful shoelaces have numerous implications in the punk movement (and more particularly, the skinhead culture). Keep in mind that they differ from location to region, but I believe it’s necessary to identify the most prevalent ones, if only to prevent confrontation, know who to avoid, and recognize that our music community isn’t without hatred. No, not yet. And we should do all we can to block out as much hate as possible.
As unbelievable as it may appear, I assure you that this report is 100% factual, or as accurate as it can be without sitting down with a “true believer.” Racism, as sad as it is, is still alive and strong in America. Skinheads exist and have a history that many people are unfamiliar with, even if they aren’t as involved in the music world as they once were (at least locally). Keep an eye out for other people’s footwear. It has the potential to save your life.
White: White Supremacy
This is also a common symbol for Ku Klux Klan membership. The two frequently go hand in hand. A fun tale regarding the differences between KKK members and Neo-Nazis is that the KKK would not affiliate with Hitler’s ideals since he was a foreigner, and they despise outsiders. That’s correct, the Ku Klux Klan’s hatred is 100% American-made and will not be substituted.
Blue: Assassinated a cop
The most terrifying thing to me is that these shoelaces signal not just the murder of a police officer, but also that they’re publicly bragging about it, and that it’s so common that it has its own code.
Neo-Nazi/National Front (Red)
It might also indicate that they are constantly ready for a battle or that they have killed someone. These are supposedly the nastiest jerks you’ll ever meet, and it’s best not to interact with them.
Thankfully, since Docs frequently come with yellow laces, no connotation has been attributed to them. This is one of the lace colors claimed by the anti-nazi punk movement.
Purple is the color of gay pride.
It’s an intriguing one. Purple laces are anti-skinhead, but they’re also frequently associated with LGBT pride. This has nothing to do with the others, but I believe it is important to mention.
No Affiliation: Black
Another thing to keep in mind is that black laces (another common Doc lace) have no meaning.
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This code, hopefully, will be put to good use. I understand that some individuals may start criticizing others based on the color of their shoelaces, but I strongly advise against it. Even if you think you can take the person in a fight because they are wearing these laces, realize that doing anything violent will simply help these folks believe more in their case. This is only a warning, not an incitement to more violence. After all, hatred just breeds more hatred.