Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice

Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice

Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) are anti-racist skinheads who oppose neo-Nazis and other political racists, particularly if those racists identify themselves as skinheads.

SHARPs recognize the biracial origins of the skinhead subculture, and resent what they see as the hijacking of the skinhead name by white power skinheads. The SHARP logo is based on the logo of Trojan Records, which originally mainly released black Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae artists. Beyond the issue of anti-racism, there is no official political ideology of SHARP. In the 2000s, SHARP has become more of an individual designation than an official organization.

History

The original skinhead subculture started in the United Kingdom in late 1960s, and had heavy British mod and Jamaican rude boy influences, including a love for ska and soul music. Although some skinheads (including black skinheads) had engaged in Paki bashing (random violence against Pakistanis and other South Asian immigrants), skinheads were not associated with an organized racist political movement in the 1960s. However, in the late 1970s, a skinhead revival in the UK included a sizeable white nationalist faction, involving organizations such as the National Front, British Movement, Rock Against Communism and Blood and Honour. Because of this, the mainstream media began to label the whole skinhead identity as neo-Nazi. This new white power skinhead movement then spread to other countries, including the United States.

Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice was started in New York City in 1987 by Marcus Pacheco as a way to show that the skinhead subculture is not based on racism and political extremism. André Schlesinger (and his Oi! band The Press) and Jason O'Toole (vocalist of the hardcore punk group Life's Blood) were among SHARP's early supporters. In 1989, Roddy Moreno of the Welsh Oi! band The Oppressed visited New York City and met many SHARP members. On his return to the United Kingdom, he started promoting SHARP ideals to British skinheads. SHARP then appeared in Germany, throughout Europe and in other continents. In the UK and other European countries, the SHARP attitude was more based on the individual than on organized groups. According to a 2005 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, SHARP groups were essentially defunct in the United States in that year (although the SPLC does not explain how it came to that conclusion).

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