The Color Of Your Shoelaces Might Tell Someone You're A Neo Nazi

The Color Of Your Shoelaces Might Tell Someone You're A Neo Nazi

What you don't know can hurt you

In my younger days, I would match my shoelaces to my hair color (I still do, but with more discretion). In my days of blue hair, I began playing in a new band, and for the first time, I was experiencing a scene larger than the immediate suburbs. At a practice early into this group's life, our guitarist looked me from shoes to face, and casually remarked "you must really hate cops." I was confused. You could say that I've never been on the law enforcement side of an argument, but at the same time, I wasn't sure that could be construed as "really hating" anything, or from where he was gleaning this information.

He explained that he could tell by my shoelaces, and I was even more confused. I thought he was making something up, or that this was some failing attempt at a joke, but it turns out that what he was telling me held weight: in the punk scene (and more specifically, the skinhead scene) Dr. Marten's boots worn with colored shoelaces have various meanings. Keep in mind that these vary from region to region, but I feel like it's important to note the most common ones, if only for the sake of avoiding conflict, knowing who is to be avoided, and understanding that our music scene isn't free of hate. Not yet. And we should be working to shut out that hate to the best of our ability.

As far fetched as this all may seem, I promise you that this article is very much accurate, or as accurate as it can be without actually sitting down with a "true believer." Racism is alive and well in America, as unfortunate as it may be. While it may not be as active in the music community as it used to be (at least locally), skinheads still exist, and have a whole background that many aren't familiar with. Keep your eyes on people's boots. It just might save your life.

White: White Pride

This is often used to represent Ku Klux Klan affiliation, as well. Often times the two go hand in hand. Fun anecdote about the difference between KKK members and Neo-Nazis: the KKK refuses to associate with the beliefs of Hitler, because he was foreign, and they hate foreigners. That's right folks, the Ku Klux Klan's hate is American made, and accepts no substitutions.

Blue: Killed a Cop

The scariest thing to me is that these shoelaces indicate not just murder of a police officer, but the fact that they're openly bragging about it, and that it's so prevalent that there's a code for it.

Red: Neo-Nazi/National Front

Could also mean always up for a fight, or that they've killed someone. These are apparently the meanest SOB's you'll come across, and it's advised that you don't associate with them.

Yellow: Anti-Racist

Thankfully, since Docs often come with yellow laces, they haven't been given an assigned meaning. The anti-nazi punk movement claimed a few lace colors, and this is one of them.

Purple: Gay Pride

An interesting one. Purple laces are anti-skinhead, but also often mean gay pride. This has nothing to do with the others, but I think it's worth noting.

Black: No Affiliation

Another good thing to know is that black laces (another standard Doc lace) don't have a meaning either.

Hopefully this code gets put to some good use. I know that some may start calling out people based on their shoelace color, and I recommend not to. Not everyone who wears these laces knows about these rules -- and even if they do, even if you think you could take the person in a fight, know that doing anything violent will only make these people believe more in their case. This is meant as a warning, and not as an advocation for any more violence. Hate only creates more hate, after all.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam


Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

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Victoria's Secret Is Lacking Diversity, For The Love, It's 2018

Hint: it's not pro-diversity.


William Bernbach, an accomplished advertising executive of the 1960s, once said, "Good advertising does not just circulate information. It penetrates the public mind with desires and belief." What Bernbach meant by this is that the main goal of effective advertisements is to, first and foremost, sell a fantasy to the customer. Once the fantasy becomes associated with the product in the consumer's mind, the consumer becomes much more willing to invest in a product.

Victoria's Secret, a very well known manufacturer and marketer of women's clothing and lingerie publicized an advert of ten of their "angels" (a name coined for famous models that walk for their annual fashion show) in lingerie with the tagline "The Perfect Body." The idealized reality shown in this ad portrays the concept that if women purchase Victoria's Secret lingerie they too will look like a model and have a "perfect body."

However, the reality is that no women can achieve a shockingly high level of attractiveness simply by purchasing lingerie made by a specific brand and yet the popularity of Victoria's Secret and the idealized view of what a woman should look like seem ineffable. By promoting a sense of exclusivity and idealism, this advertisement has allowed Victoria's Secret to penetrate into the minds and beliefs of women all over the world. It shows them what they should look like and how by purchasing their merchandise average women can become closer to the ideal being sold.

In the advertisement, the societal standards of beauty are clearly exhibited. Out of ten models, only two are not Caucasian in appearance. Additionally, all the models are of the same body type, tall with large breasts, tiny waists, and long limbs. By not showing diverse body types and using the tagline The Perfect "Body" it is displaying the fantasy of what an ideal woman should look like. What makes this advertisement so effective is the fact that it preys on the insecurities and low self-esteem of women. John Berger analysis of the social presence of women speaks about how a woman's sense of being gets "replaced by the sense of being appreciated by others—ultimately men."

While women may feel a sense of shame or self-loathing by looking at this particular advert, heterosexual men would have appreciative attitudes to such adverts. Berger goes on to say,"The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object—and most particularly an object of vision: a sight." The women in this advert are essentially an object and both male and female viewers of this"sight" are thinking about pleasing the male sense of approval. The man viewing the advert sees women with that he finds desirable and the women viewing the advert want men to want her the way men want the women in the advert.

The fantasy that if a women puts on Victoria Secret lingerie she will somehow be able to imitate the photoshopped perfection that is exemplified by the advertisement is effective because by somehow emulating the models, women hope to become more desirable in the eyes of men.

The lack of diversity in this advert is very apparent and also very intentional. Only two model are not caucasian. The ideal standards of beauty upheld in society are of Caucasian women. By using the tagline The Perfect "Body," this advertisement perpetuates this ideal because the conclusion can be drawn that not only is the perfect body slim and tall but it is also preferable that it belongs to a girl of Caucasian origins.

The Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world, have addressed the idea that people in the world of advertising and art think that an acceptable solution to the issue of a lack of diversity in the realm of art and media is to add one or two people of color. However, that is not a legitimate solution considering the fact that there being one or two people of diverse background out of a much larger Caucasian majority does not suffice to represent all the people this advert reaches.

Additionally, there appear to be no models of South Asian or East Asian backgrounds even though people of Asian backgrounds make up a significant part of the consumer market.

The choice to style the women of color in the advert with wavy hair instead of hair that is more like the natural texture of their hair also shows how this advertisement sells the idea that for a women of a diverse background to be considered beautiful by societal standards they must conform to ways and looks of women of Caucasian ethnicity.

Subsequently, this advertisement aims to create a fantasy of elevated class. Victoria's Secret as a brand has a reputation for selling "luxury" and exclusive lingerie. This image is reinforced by the fact that they hire the prominent models to advertise their merchandise. Models such as Candice Swanepoel and Behati Prinsloo who also have modeled for very ostentatious brands like Gucci and Chanel lead to consumers thinking that by purchasing Victoria's Secret products they have somehow crossed an echelon which has enabled them to be a part of a much more embellished part of the societal hierarchy.

Another very interesting aspect of this advert is the fact that all the Caucasian women seem to have tanned their skin. Judith Williamson wrote about the "fashion of tans" in which she expressed how in everyday life normal women with 9 to 5 jobs or/and children do not have the luxury of going out to the beach every day or taking long vacations to exotic locations, so when a Caucasian woman is tan it indicated that she leads a life of leisure and luxury making it appear as though she is part of the upper classes.

However, it is important to note neither of the two African American models used in this advert appear to have darkened their skin tones, in fact, some might even argue that they look lighter than their natural complexions; which goes back to the concept that beauty in Western society is based on how Caucasian someone looks.

Williamson states,"Isn't it nice to be brown when everyone else is white? Yes, but only if you were white to start with." The fantasy of elevated class only corresponds when the Caucasian models are tanned, not when the models of color are because beauty ideals in society are created by the wealthy and white.

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