The post was originally published at Ongoing History of Protest Songs.
Back in March 2020, ten-year-old Mila was approached by a boy in her school whose father told him to stay away from Chinese people.
“It was my first experience of racism, and I didn’t really know how to respond,” said Mila, who told the boy she was Chinese, and he backed away.
Considering the spike in anti-Asian racism since the pandemic outbreak, this could be considered a relatively mild example, but it still illustrates the discrimination that Asian youth are exposed to in either subtle or blatant forms.
In the case of Mila, she happened to be part of the garage punk band The Linda Lindas. This allowed her to compose the tune “Racist, Sexist Boy”, with Eloise, her 13-year-old bandmate and cousin. The tune is a direct response to the boy and others who express similar hateful ideologies.
The video of them performing the tune inside the Los Angeles public library for AAPI Heritage Month went viral. The band also recently announced that they signed with the influential independent punk label Epitaph.
“I hope the song empowers people who have been oppressed,” said Eloise.
“The song lets people know that they are not alone,” Mila added.
If you go back to the origins of punk, it was an all-inclusive scene that allowed diverse voices to speak their truth. It is refreshing to see a new generation of youth grabbing the torch and returning to those roots.