Race, Class, and Indie Rock Music


No teenager wants to listen to their parents’ music. For Martin Douglas, that music was hip-hop, so he gravitated toward the world of grunge and indie rock.

The only problem: that world is very white, and Douglas is black.

In an astute essay titled “The Only Black Guy at the Indie Rock Show” after a Cocker Spaniels tune, Douglas explores what it was like to be “an outsider among the outsiders”—and what self-segregation along music-genre lines means for our culture at large.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →