About a year and a half ago, I predicted that the Next Big Thing was white people in mosh bands jocking cholo-style imagery. In particular, the part where I said that it was only a matter of time before some band foolishly used some kind of srs gangster iconography:
It could get awkward if kids end up wearing some cholo-style graphic around the wrong person at the wrong time. Nobody is going to mistake them for gangsters or anything, but some cholo who’s having a bad day might just fuck with them anyway.
Well, it just happened– courtesy of SWORN IN:
Figure 1, SWORN IN wearing matching “XIII” hoodies
Figure 2, Sureños (13) and Norteños (14)
For those who don’t know, the Latino gangs in the US are basically divided into two groups: Sureños (who wear blue and use the number 13) and Norteños (who wear red and use the number 14). You may have heard of MS13 on the news- they are just one of hundreds of sets who push Sur Trece. Like other gang imagery, they take these numbers really really really seriously, and IMO you really can’t even ironically play with using them like you can get away with ironically saying black gangster rap lyrics if you are an alternative white person. And prominently displaying 13s or 14s on your clothing or body is definitely not the best idea.
Like I said, I don’t think anybody is going to actually think the kids in SWORN IN are trying to be gangsters (I’m sure they didn’t even do this on purpose), but a bunch of derpy little white kids walking around in matching XIII hoodies is definitely asking for trouble. Some cholo who is having a bad day might not think it’s too cool that you are inadvertently appropriating gang culture and you could end up in a sticky situation where saying the wrong thing makes things end very very badly. I seriously would not wear one of these shirts to the mall in say Salinas, it’s just asking for someone to fuck with you.
While hardcore has always been a costume party to a large extent, the latest fads of appropriating cholo and biker imagery are not just embarrassing and cringeworthy, but more than a little bit dangerous. I pray for any midwestern white hc kid who thought it was cute to get a 13 tattoo on his face that ends up having to spend a night in jail in California…
Kids, let me give you a little pearl of wisdom: when you wear a shirt of a band you don’t actually listen to, the worst thing that can happen is that someone calls you a poser. When you wear a shirt that implies you are in a gang that you do not actually belong to, well, the consequences can be a little harsher. THINK BEFORE U IMITATE!!