We Heart: Youth Punk Band the Linda Lindas’ Song ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’ Combats Xenophobia

Updated May 24 at 10:15 a.m. PT.

“A little while before we went into lockdown, a boy in my class came up to me and said that his dad told him to stay away from Chinese people,” said The Linda Lindas’ drummer Mila, 10, into her microphone.  “After I told him I was Chinese, he backed away from me. Eloise and I wrote this song about that experience.”

Much in the same vein of their favorite punk artists Bikini Kill, Alice Bag and Jawbreaker, the Los Angeles-based youth band, The Linda Lindas, performed a mini concert at the Los Angeles Public Library, where they sang a song called “Racist, Sexist Boy” in response to xenophobic comments they received by a classmate. The concert took place on May 4, and this week the song went viral on social media. Even Tom Morello, a member of the rock band Rage Against the Machine—known for lyrics about social justice—took note of the young musicians, calling “Racist, Sexist Boy” the “song of the day.”

Over the weekend, the band landed a record deal with longstanding L.A. punk label Epitaph Records.

Since the onset of COVID-19, hate crimes against Asian Americans have been dramatically on the rise. Although federal crime data from 2020 is yet to be released, Stop APPI Hate, an advocacy group that tracks incidents of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, received more than 3,800 reports of hate incidents nationwide in 2020 alone. Members of the AAPI community have reported abuse and discrimination in the form of verbal harassment, being coughed or spat on, workplace discrimination and physical assault.

In the spirit of what punk music is at its core, The Linda Lindas channeled all the rage, frustration and angst they and many others have felt and turned it into a powerful song that fights back against those who, as The Linda Lindas sing, “turn [their] head away from what [they] don’t want to see.”

The Linda Lindas, composed of Los Angeles youth Mila, 10; Lucia, 14; Eloise, 13; and Bela, 16, have already found success in the music industry by being the opening act at the Hollywood Palladium for Bikini Kill, where actress Amy Poehler was able to see the performance and offer them a cameo in her film Moxie. They have also performed with the band Best Coast, as well as Karen O of the band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

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Michael Herrera is a contributor at Ms. Magazine. He studied at California State University, Northridge and has a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism as well as a minor in creative writing.