Hyphenates

Detail: Headquarters crowd in inverseRay Brandes’ incisive revelations about his Mexican-American identity and Kristi Maddocks’ remarks about feminism in the context of the early-’80s San Diego underground prompt another complex discussion: How many of us had another ethnic, sexual or cultural identity that colored our personal view of the San Diego underground?

Me first: I was certainly aware of the other Jewish kids in the scene, and I know many of us of the Hebrew persuasion read special irony into swastikas and other signifiers in some punk quarters. (SD underground veteran and friend-with-benefits of Che Underground D.A. Kolodenko has dealt intelligently with this Jewish-punk identity in his fiction.)

Long before Ray mentioned it, I’ve thought San Diego’s deep Mexican connection put an interesting geocultural twist on the musical underground (including the unusual Latino-skinhead synthesis within the SDSH).

And while I’m not aware of gay members currently contributing to our little sewing circle, I’ve spoken with folks who were at least semi-closeted in the early punk scene; urban gay aesthetics informed punk from the Velvets on, and I’m always interested in how much these friends considered themselves a minority within a minority.

Comments on the blog also drive home that some of our circle raised in less-affluent households were quite aware of socioeconomic differences that those of us born into more comfortable circumstances might not even consider.

How did you define yourself and those around you? Are those definitions still meaningful to you now?

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