Gangs of angry white men
Faith & Inspiration
by Anthony Bradley
Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2007, at 12:43 pm
Last August, Rolling Stone magazine featured a story on the hardcore punk rock scene in the Boston area. The 'angry white kids' in the story commit random acts of violence against preppy, suburban white kids, emo kids, frat boys, neo-Nazis, and Confederate Flag lovers. This particular socio-cultural war within the white community is intensely violent.
Youtube.com hosts video trailers for Boston Beatdown, a new documentary on hardcore culture, where viewers are invited into a world where guys move from slinging each other around in mosh-pits at concerts to walking the streets looking for preppy frat boys to 'beat down.'
One Boston gang called "FSU" (Friends Stand United), with chapters represented in Chicago, Seattle, New York, and Los Angeles, draws guys with similar backgrounds- absent parents and families troubled by drugs and alcohol. Anger, pain, and abandonment fuel their resentment, nihilism, and violence.
A friend of mine gives a recent account of his experience saying, "This summer I witnessed an emo guy get completely thrashed by two punks for showing up at the wrong house party. This emo kid unwittingly walked into The Halfway House, a mecca for Philly hardcore punks. The only reason I ever make it through the front door of this house is because I have known most of the house's residents the better part of my life."
Can evangelicalism reach this sub-culture? Not without a new breed of leaders. Many Christian leaders today are too soft, passive, and fearful to have any credibility with this growing movement. Moreover, evangelical Christianity often produces the kind of men that 'the hardcore' detests.
I am hopeful that hardcore culture can be reached by a different brand of "hardcore" missionaries-men who have the fortitude to be "salt and light" and move toward human brokenness instead of away from it.
Anthony is associate professor of religious studies at The King's College in New York and a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.