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The Hate Issue

Negro Skins

Trends in tattoos come and go.
Κείμενο Toussaint Okele

Photos, l-r, by Andy Capper and Peter Bienge.

Trends in tattoos come and go. Ten years ago all the lesbians were getting Celtic knots on their arms. Now they're getting traditional sailor pieces to cover them up. All the punks used to have homemade Exploited tats. Now they're not happy until they've got an all-seeing-eye- within-a-tree- holding-a-dagger-that's- stabbing-a-scorpion-who's- reading-the-bible-upside -down-on-top-of-a -traditional-English-sixpence design. Whatever, dudes. One thing you can be sure of is that the true classics never die. Just look at the fine ink on these two brothers. VICE: Hi, what's your name?
Pete: Swastika Pete. What inspired your design?
 Earlier this year, I made a bet with a Nazi skinhead from Orange County. He said he'd come and spend a weekend with my family if I got a swazzie tattoo. We both fulfilled our side of the bargain and both our eyes have been opened as a result. Do you share the same views as him?
 I'm a bit more quiet and reserved about my racism.
I'm pissed with certain elements of Somalians, West Indians, and Nigerians. They called my mum a black bitch on the bus. What happened?
 I'm like, "You're from Africa, where do you get off calling my mum a black bitch? You were on ITV a couple of years ago asking for biscuits, and we were sending you clothes or whatever. Now you're over here pimping and being bad boys." Who else do you hate?
I'm not racist toward all people, but I am racist towards certain Bengalis. You can see where I'm coming from: 1. My girlfriend was nearly raped by one of them on Brick Lane, and 2. Because of the stickers I'm seeing around. One of them is Bin Laden and George Bush. It says, "You're either with the Jihad and a Muslim or you're a non-Muslim." I'm not pro-America or pro-Bush, but 9-11 wasn't an attack on America, it was an attack on humanity. In London there isn't much of a white/black divide anymore, but there is a divide against Muslims because of these stickers. The other day at the video store they said to me, "This is Bengali turf, get out of here, you white fucker." I'm still trying to figure that one out. Swastika Pete is the guy on the left. The guy on the right didn’t really want to talk to us about it, but Peter Bienge, who tattooed him, told us he got it to "piss off his neighbors because they told him he played his music too loud."