Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stuff White People Like to Like

I recently came across the blog Stuff White People Like. Since its launch in January of this year, it has received over 18 million hits and 4,000 comments. The blog reads like a satirical handbook on how to understand white people by examining what they like.

At first I had to laugh that the first season of Arrested Development (#38) is in my DVD player, I recently received an invitation to an 80s party (#29), and I just made plans to meet a friend this weekend at our favorite breakfast place (#36).

As I thought more about the list, I noticed that it really only describes a particular brand of white people (seen every day here in Cambridge). One commenter agreed that the list is more “a qualitative outline of the young, faux-activist, indie-lifestyle, suburban white person, than of the caucasian race itself,” and it is more of a description of “an emerging pop culture stereotype than a racial one.” One of the posts even clarifies that white people don't like “white people who vote Republican.” Obviously not all white people can identify with this list, but it's a pretty accurate list for those who do.

With a satirical tone and focus on describing a cultural stereotype rather than an ethnic group, can this blog be considered racist? Since Fringe’s latest issue is “Ethnos” themed, my awareness (#18) of racial issues was piqued. I couldn’t decide whether the blog was racist, funny, or ironic (#50).

What do Fringe readers think of this blog? Is it the “White Chris Rock”? It’s a nice wake-up call for me, to re-examine the things I like and make sure I like them because I like them, not because of how cool (or lame) they make me look to everyone else.


Jill said...

I personally love this blog--it's one of the blog feeds I subscribe to on my Google reader. When I first read it, I too was sort of mortified, and then amused at how many things on the list actually apply to me. I don't think it's racist--I think it's a sardonic comment on popular culture.

Dean Rader said...

I would think Fringe readers would respond to the topics and the tone of SWPL, in part because a recurrent theme on the site is how much white peole like all things fringe. There is no doubt that people like liking edgy things.

My original post on the site got so many hits, I recently did a follow-up that Fringe readers might like: