Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm White, Apparently

There is a blog and a book afoot called Stuff White People Like, all written by a white guy, and they kind of make me feel usual. I know the author is making fun of himself as much as he is making fun of a kind of subculture, but still...I was hoping to be singular.

Christian Lander, the author, has put together a list of things white people like and use to set themselves apart. But even though the author thoroughly embraces this new culture with his tongue in his cheek, and even though I seem to fit in with this bunch like my favorite sweater, I don't feel superior as Lander suggests. I feel bad. I feel cheap. I feel as if my uniqueness has been robbed from me. There. I've fit in again just by feeling typical. says this to describe the white people in this new book: "They believe they’re unique, yet somehow they’re all exactly the same."

The blog has an updated list with 104 items, and I have copied it below, making bold the things I like and occasionally brag about. I relate to about 50% of these holy tenets, which is interesting because white people seem to hate math but just love statistics.

#104 Girls with bangs
#103 Sweaters
(I especially like the sweaters I knit myself, and I can't wait until fall so I can wear them)
#102 Children’s Games as Adults (Candy Land is fun, and if I could find a game of dodge ball to join...)
#101 Being Offended (being typical offends me)
#100 Bumper Stickers
#99 Grammar (I make my share of mistakes, but I get practically giddy when I can spot someone else's errors, especially in restaurant menus, which is something white people really like to do)
#98 The Ivy League
#97 Scarves (I have so many knitted scarves and lace scarves, I could outfit my entire neighborhood)
#96 New Balance Shoes
#95 Rugby
#94 Free Healthcare (affordable healthcare is a better phrase here, since nothing is truly free)
#93 Music Piracy
#92 Book Deals (what I wouldn't give for a book deal!)
#91 San Francisco
#90 Dinner Parties (I thrive on these things and love obsessing over everything from the menu to the serving dishes)
#89 St. Patrick’s Day
#88 Having Gay Friends
#87 Outdoor Performance Clothes
#86 Shorts
#85 The Wire
#84 T-Shirts
#83 Bad Memories of High School (is there such a thing as a good memory from high school?)
#82 Hating Corporations (it's trendy, I know, but I can't help but join in on all the hatred and mistrust)
#81 Graduate School
#80 The Idea of Soccer
#79 Modern Furniture
#78 Multilingual Children (mainly, I'm just jealous of them)

#77 Musical Comedy (Love 'em)
#76 Bottles of Water (while I'm leery of throwing out plastic bottles unnecessarily, I do like having bottled water in hand when I'm out and about, almost as much as having coffee)

#75 Threatening to Move to Canada (I used to mock people who threatened to move, and I would never actually do it, but it does come to mind on occasion)
#74 Oscar Parties
#73 Gentrification
#72 Study Abroad (again, I'm jealous of people who do this, and I love when my kids make plans)
#71 Being the only white person around
#70 Difficult Breakups
#69 Mos Def
#68 Michel Gondry
#67 Standing Still at Concerts (I don't know how to move at concerts)
#66 Divorce
#65 Co-Ed Sports (a big champion of everyone having a chance to play)
#64 Recycling (I champion this, too, but I'm a fraud. I don't actually do it. Shoot me)
#63 Expensive Sandwiches (I think this means pricey food in general)
#62 Knowing What’s Best for Poor People
#61 Bicycles
(I love the idea of bicycles and have been thinking about dusting mine off. If it weren't for the darn hills near my house)
#60 Toyota Prius (I have a Camry, actually)
#59 Natural Medicine (the last time I went to a doctor, he said, "boy, you must be sick" because I never go)
#58 Japan
#57 Juno (I have an issue or two with what message might be interpreted from this film, but I loved it, loved the music, love to quote from it)
#56 Lawyers
#55 Apologies
#54 Kitchen Gadgets (Giminy, do I love kitchen gadgets!)
#53 Dogs
(I don't have a dog of my own, so I have to love my neighbors' dogs)
#52 Sarah Silverman
#51 Living by the Water (I made this bold even though I don't live by the water. I was just reminsicing about living close to Lake Michigan)
#50 Irony

#49 Vintage
(vintage decor, vintage clothes, vintage anything)
#48 Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops (I would probably shop at a Whole Foods if one were nearby)
#47 Arts Degrees
#46 The Sunday New York Times
#45 Asian Fusion Food
#44 Public Radio ( I love NPR and listen any chance I get. I even put a static sticker on my car window as a show of support)
#43 Plays
(who doesn't like plays?)
#42 Sushi (I don't get much opportunity to have sushi in middle Ohio, but I do like it an awful lot)
#41 Indie Music
(I don't take time to explore it on my own, but my kids keep me informed)
#40 Apple Products (do we even have to discuss this?)
#39 Netflix
(now that you can rent a movie on line with an Apple TV thingy, we have stopped fiddling with Netflix, but it's a cool option)
#38 Arrested Development
#37 Renovations
#36 Breakfast Places (nothing like a relaxing breakfast with endless coffee)
#35 The Daily Show/Colbert Report (oh, hee hee hee)
#34 Architecture
#33 Marijuana
#32 Vegan/Vegetarianism (I like the occasional animal on my plate, but I have been eating vegetarian for over two weeks now)
#31 Snowboarding
#30 Wrigley Field (I thought this was just a Chicago thing, but there's no ball park quite like Wrigley Field. It's an institution)
#29 80s Night
#28 Not having a TV
#27 Marathons
#26 Manhattan (going there in a couple of weeks, actually)
#25 David Sedaris (Ha! I have read two books and just bought a third)
#24 Wine (yeah, wine is nice)
#23 Microbreweries
#22 Having Two Last Names
#21 Writers Workshops
#20 Being an expert on YOUR culture
#19 Traveling (I'm a homebody, but I can't pass up a good trip either)
#18 Awareness (this is a pretty general thing to sign up for, but I like reading up on all the new issues we like to create for ourselves)
#17 Hating their Parents
#16 Gifted Children (my own, at least)
#15 Yoga
#14 Having Black Friends
#13 Tea
#12 Non-Profit Organizations (again, who wouldn't like non-profit organizations?)
#11 Asian Girls
#10 Wes Anderson Movies (haven't seen them all, but the ones I have seen I have seen several times)
#9 Making you feel bad about not going outside
#8 Barack Obama (Note my sidebar)
#7 Diversity (maybe I'm just reacting to living in a white bread town)
#6 Organic Food (my kids mock me for it, but I don't care)
#5 Farmer’s Markets (there's talk of one starting up here, and we've got a lovely stand about two minutes from my house. I just wish they'd sell more diverse stuff)
#4 Assists
#3 Film Festivals
#2 Religions their parents don’t belong to
#1 Coffee (Oh, please)

Landers also discusses being annoyed with typos on restaurant menus, shopping at Target, and shopping with reusable bags. I like all of those things, too. One of the biggest things white people like to do is look down on people who don't like any of these things. It's all part of feeling superior, not compared to people of other races, but to other white people who don't like the same stuff. It's like when my mother would make us brush our hair and change out of our ripped jeans so we wouldn't look like those white trashy people she despised so much. Landers gets some hate mail for his list, but he's really just trying to be funny and offer a critique of this group from life on the inside. And here I thought I was distinctive.


dive said...

Oh, what a brilliant post, Robyn.
I'm doing this list myself together with Andy (who is decidedly not white) to see what we come up with.

Rich said...

Well I have to agree with #1 - I do like coffee. As for the rest of the list, well, that's for white people.

MmeBenaut said...

WASP - that's me, apparently. I had fun with this list even though I didn't understand some of the words. What in the hell are "Assists". Does he mean people who assist other people down the stairs?
I could identify with grammar and antiquity but bicycles? Sheesh, hasn't he ever been to China? This is not an exclusively white list. I like the idea that he has done it tongue in cheek but a more exclusive list might work better.
I'd have never guessed you were white Robyn. I think it is the cardigans that gave it away! I love cardigans too, but not on men.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

I also think that white people like to know what other white people like.

Sassy Sundry said...

Sigh. I'm so white.

Miss you! I'm still alive.

Shannon & Paul said...

Assists is a sports term. It means passing off so someone else can score. At least, I'm guessing what it means here.

Add to mine yoga, microbreweries, new balance shoes, Mos Def, Arrested Development.

Yep, you'd LOVE Whole Foods. The seafood & cheese sections would bring you to tears of foodie joy.

Terroni said...

I love this list. It cracks me up.

DearestDragonfly said...

Cool list. I resonate with much you've bolded. High School was completely miserable.

BTW...My son-in-law has accepted the position of Political Director for Obama's Minnesota campaign. This WASP thinks that's WAY COOL...