Man talking(l+r), Goodwill sign(c)

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‘Please Google the band’: Man calls out customer who bought T-shirt from Goodwill. He didn’t realize what these symbols really were

‘I only wear band tees from bands I like. why? saves me from situations like this.’

 

Ljeonida Mulabazi

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At a time when fashion serves as a powerful form of self-expression, it’s easy to overlook the significance behind the logos and symbols we wear. In the past few years, a number of fashion brands have been caught in controversies over the symbols or styles they chose to include in their clothing lines.

For instance, in 2014 Zara faced backlash for a children’s shirt resembling outfits worn in concentration camps, complete with blue and white stripes and a yellow star, which the brand claimed was inspired by Western films​.

Similarly, Gucci was criticized for a sweater design that the public thought highly resembled blackface, prompting the brand to apologize and remove the item from stores​.

When major fashion brands make such mistakes, it’s understandable that unaware customers might inadvertently do the same.

TikTok user Micah (@1voct), who works at a vintage clothing store, went viral after sharing a story where he warned an unsuspecting customer about a shirt he was wearing.

As Micah recalls, one day, while working at the store, he saw a group of teenage boys walk in. Among them, there was a boy wearing a T-shirt with white supremacist symbols on it. 

Judging by the group’s demeanor and appearance, Micah suspected the boy didn’t know the message he was conveying with his T-shirt. 

“There was a boy wearing a Skrewdriver shirt,” says Micah. “It had some pretty blatant symbols on it, and I had a feeling that perhaps he didn’t know what it was.” 

Why Skrewdriver shirts are a no-no

Skrewdriver was a British punk band known for promoting white supremacist views. In the early 1980s, the band adopted far-right ideologies, using their music to spread racist and neo-Nazi messages. This shift turned Skrewdriver into a symbol for white nationalist groups, leading to widespread condemnation and controversy. The band’s leader, Ian Stuart, died in a car crash in 1993 at 36.

As Micah listened, he overheard one of the boy’s friends ask where he got the shirt, and the boy replied that he found it at Goodwill and thought it looked cool.

“So I walked over and said, ‘Hey, I’m not sure if you know this, but I overheard you, and that band is a white supremacist, Nazi band,’” Micah recalls.

Just as Micah suspected, the boy had no idea what those symbols signified—or who Skrewdriver was.

“He looked horrified,” says Micah. “He’s like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I didn’t even know what it was. I just thought it was a cool shirt.’”

The TikTok creator stressed how crucial it is to do a little research before you snap up a band T-shirt.

“If you’re gonna wear a band shirt or something that you don’t know, just look it up, make sure you know what it is because, realistically, if you were walking around with a [expletive] Skrewdriver shirt with a [expletive] sun wheel on it, you are likely to get your [expletive] beat by somebody at some point,” says the TikToker. 

@1voct

♬ original sound – 1vOct

The video garnered almost 3,000 comments, with users mostly reiterating that same message. 

“This is why ppl should just wear shirts of bands they’re fans of or at least know 1 song,” shared one commenter. “Even if you don’t know the band when you buy the shirt, it takes 3 min to just look up 1 song. Cmon now.”

“I only wear band tees from bands I like. why? saves me from situations like this,” wrote another.

“Being a fan of black metal I ALWAYS have to do research before listening or buying anything. Sucks there are bands like this,” stated a third. 

We’ve reached out to Micah via Instagram DM for comment. 

Update May 20, 12:25pm CT: In an Instagram Direct Message exchange with the Daily Dot, Micah shared some insights into his experience.

When asked what motivated him to approach the boy about his T-shirt, Micah explained, “In the goth/punk/metal world, in the past few years, it has been fairly common for younger kids to find problematic band shirts and music. This particular instance could have ended with someone being hurt for wearing it. Skrewdriver is notorious for being a Neo-Nazi, white power band, and that’s not welcome in most scenes. Typically via very aggressive means.”

Micah also addressed the measures his vintage store takes to filter out offensive T-shirts.

“A long time ago, I had made a guide with different symbols that weren’t as common in terminologies and problematic bands,” he detailed. “We train all of our buyers to be on the lookout for that. Occasionally, something will slip through, and either I will find it or one of the customers will bring it to our attention, and we will pull it and destroy it.”

Regarding advice for someone who sees another person wearing an offensive T-shirt, Micah pointed out the importance of context and compassion.

“I think it really depends on the context of where you are and who the person is,” he wrote. “First, it is probably important to determine whether or not they are wearing it on purpose. For instance, without giving personal details, there were things about the teenager that definitely led me to believe that he was probably not wearing it on purpose.”

“But in general, I would say to try to be compassionate and kind without seeming like you were trying to police them,” he continued. “If you feel like they are wearing it on purpose, then that is a different story and just depends on your comfort level, honestly. I just tell them they have to leave and it will almost always be met with some sort of incident.

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