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Stuff An Incredibly Tiny Subset of White People Like

April 11th, 2008 · 11 Comments

Samitha at Feministing offers up a bit of a thumbsucker about Stuff White People Like, which reminds me that I’d meant to second Megan’s take from last month: The vast majority of the stuff there has always felt a bit like one of those fantastic Onion headlines that’s followed up by a lame article. It seems like it ought to be funny, but always ends up reading like one of those rambling C-grade Andy Rooney monologues that begin “didja ever notice…?”

Quite apart from that, the site also strikes me as mistitled. A less pithy but more accurate title might be “Stuff a small number of hipster kids and 30-something bobos like.” (And last graf notwithstanding, The Onion typically does this better.) Which one could overlook, except that in a few cases the title leads to some weird implications, especially given that the author of the site is himself white. For instance, am I alone in finding it slightly offputting to suggest that graduate school is in the category of stuff “white people like”? (Minorities, presumably, not being interested in all that book learnin’?) Or, along the same lines, that a dating prospect’s being “poorly read” could only be a “white problem”?

Tags: Sociology


       

 

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 digamma // Apr 11, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Meh. I’m white, I like 9/10 of the stuff he writes about, and I still find it funny.

  • 2 jayjay // Apr 11, 2008 at 11:06 am

    i think the whole point is that SWPL is stereotyping white people by the behavior of a small sub-group, as often happens with non-white people (associating black people with the behavior of people in poor inner-city neighborhoods for example). I think the real butt of the joke is the mass of people who take it seriously enough either a.) to fawn over it or b.) to be offended.

  • 3 Franklin Harris // Apr 11, 2008 at 11:09 am

    “Stuff a small number of hipster kids and 30-something bobos like.” Ah, the whitest of white people.

  • 4 Lorna // Apr 11, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I am a sociology major (white, female) that was born, raised, and went to a college in Detroit–not a suburb of Detroit, Detroit, which is comprised largely of blacks. I have specialized in race relations, and I still find a lot of the posts very amusing. Sure, a lot– the vast majority, even– of the posts could apply to one of any color, but to view these things in the context of (mostly yuppie) whites is funny, I think. These are obviously sweeping generalizations and stereotypes– since when to minority groups not wear shorts?!– and I think it’s meant to be very tongue-in-cheek, not offensive. (And sometimes I find myself nodding along as I read them– I can’t count on two hands the times I’ve threatened to move to Canada, etc.) I think that race is definitely something important to discuss, and if these posts spark some sort of dialogue, then I’m happy. I know that a lot of people find the blog offensive though, and I’m sure that if it were “stuff black people like”–incidentally, there is one called that but it’s a bit different– or “stuff mexicans like”, yada yada, there would be some outrage too. I truly don’t believe that these posts are meant to be spiteful though, and though every post might not apply to most whites, I bet you can think of one or two people that they describe to a tee.

  • 5 Tybalt // Apr 11, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Is the author white? I read some stuff on the site a short time back and came away convinced that he was Asian-Canadian. Odd.

  • 6 Klug // Apr 11, 2008 at 11:52 am

    No, he’s white. There was a lot of speculation in the comments that “clander” was Asian, but he’s not.

  • 7 tde // Apr 11, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Wait you mean that there are differences among the white people on the planet? That “Stuff White People Like” is not an empirically sound summary of the billions of white people?

    Wow.

  • 8 Brock // Apr 11, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Stuff a small number of hipster kids and 30-something bobos like.

    I agree with jayjay. That’s part of the joke.

  • 9 lemmy caution // Apr 11, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Or, along the same lines, that a dating prospect’s being “poorly read” could only be a “white problem”?

    That NYT article really deserved some ridicule:

    “I know there were occasions when I just wrote people off completely because of what they were reading long before it ever got near the point of falling in or out of love: Baudrillard (way too pretentious), John Irving (way too middlebrow), Virginia Woolf (way too Virginia Woolf).”

    There are some status games that certain largely white people do with books. I would be very suprised if the author of the above quote wasn’t white.

  • 10 Glen // Apr 12, 2008 at 4:38 am

    “A less pithy but more accurate title might be ‘Stuff a small number of hipster kids and 30-something bobos like.'”

    This is a valid a criticism, because an if-then proposition implies the contrapositive.

    “For instance, am I alone in finding it slightly offputting to suggest that graduate school is in the category of stuff ‘white people like’? (Minorities, presumably, not being interested in all that book learnin’?)”

    This is not a valid criticism, because an if-then proposition does not imply the converse.

  • 11 M // Apr 14, 2008 at 9:20 am

    The White People Like Grad School post focused on white people wasting time in majors that do not obviously lead to a job. Which is the opposite of the sterotype of minorities doing well in school in majors that lead to obviously jobs. e.g. I took Chemical engineering, I’m going to be a chemical engineer vs I took 14thC English Literature as a counterweight to 18thC Russian Lit. I’m going to be a …

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