Critical Review: Greif – Epitaph for the White Hipster
In this article Mark Greif discusses the white “hipsters” of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. The hipster subculture developed in Manhattan’s Lower East Side as “entitled whites” moved into the area, which was previously made up primarily of lower class Puerto Ricans, Blacks, and Jews. Unlike bohemians or artists, the whites who moved in during this gentrification did not integrate with the local groups, but instead marked themselves off as different, with their own unique style, “coded ‘suburban white.’” They were, in the words of Greif, “pro-consumer, pro-consumption, amoral, pro-lifestyle.”
I was familiar with the hipster style of trucker hats and “ironic” t-shirts popular for a brief time in the early oughts, but I was surprised to read about how this hipster identity played with whiteness and had overtones of homophobia and racism. Clearly the hipsters Greif discusses are very different from hipsters post-2004, as I understand them today. What caused this shift in hipsterism? What role did music play in white hipster identity before 2004?