I was in a bar this weekend and saw a guy with red suspenders, red docs and white laces, with what seemed like an anti-fa shirt. I come from a place where the boots, laces and suspenders codes meant something to POC (get to somewhere safe FAST or die). I confronted him and he pretty much said I was too sensitive and he was anti-fa. My question is: is it habit for anti-fa to wear nazi stuff with anti-fa stuff?
Ah, the old “laces ‘n braces” code! For those of you who missed the 1980s/1990s, skinheads used to identify their political affiliations (if any) by the color of their bootlaces or suspenders (aka braces). The trouble was that this was pre-internet and pretty difficult to coordinate what color meant what political allegiance among skinheads in one city, let alone in every city around the world.
Since skinheads tend to be a bit transient, what would happen is a skinhead wearing, say, white laces & braces would leave a town where it mean they were a racist bonehead (and tbh not a skinhead at all) and visit another town where it meant they were a trad or what-have-you. This happened for pretty much every color you can think of. Most famously, redskins (who are inherently anti-fascist) would signify by wearing red laces & braces, then run into people from places where those colours meant you were a nazi bonehead.
This whole system fell out of favor by the late 1990s and skinheads mostly wear what they like now and everyone has a much more difficult time discerning actual skinheads from their racist bonehead imposters.
For a historical/academic take on this whole phenomenon, have a look at this paper.