Stuff White People Like…
So I picked up my morning paper this week and saw two prominent stories on the state of Black America according to white people. The first was the usual coverage of Barack Obama, in anticipation of Super Tuesday.
The second, just below the fold, was an utterly disturbing story on a low-income Black community in San Francisco. Obviously written from an ignorant ethnographers point of view, the story was filled with references to cheeto diets and chronic laziness, with the occasional vague reference to ‘peripheral’ causes like institutional racism and gentrification.
What bothered me most was the writer’s claim that “most” of San Francisco never sees this neighborhood unless they’re playing golf at the nearby golf course or if they took the wrong exist off the nearby freeway. Based on that account, the archetypal San Francisco resident is probably young, wealthy, white and works for Google. Ugh.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since people of color have been the ethnographic playground for white folks since the days of Sara Baartman. But stories like this still make me cringe, especially in places that pride themselves on being liberal utopias. Perhaps because of all of this, I thoroughly enjoy things that attempt to dissect the interests of white people privilege.
Enter: Stuff white people like, a brilliant blog that takes a witty approach to the scientific study of white people. It has an ongoing list of things that are staples of white American culture, things that include: Top 10 hip hop songs white people love, Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops, Vintage and Religions their parents don’t belong to.
As a true ode to the irony of white privilege, my white friends are obsessed with it. There were, of course, a few angry folks who were all “what if I made a blog that listed all the stuff that Black people like?!” Could it be that in this day and age people of color could still be painted as mere caricatures? Then I thought to myself, that would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever happen.