When I first heard of Stuff White People Like I took a quick glance at it and was vaguely amused. Oh, ha ha, making fun of white people, how clever. But I don’t really look to the internet for humorous commentary so I quickly forgot about it.
A recent comment from Garvey caused me to go back and take a second look. I was mighty surprised at what I found. It seems this site isn’t making fun of white people at all. It’s making fun of middle class liberal Americans.
Case in point: NASCAR. A search for NASCAR turns up a “not found” result. 102 entries (and counting) about “stuff white people like” and not one mention of NASCAR? Come on.
Second case in point: The entry on bumper stickers contains the following passage:
If you have decided that you want to improve your status with white people by applying a bumper sticker to your car do not make the assumption that you can just use anything! Stickers that support right wing politics, guns, patriotism, war, or hunting are all unacceptable. It is also unacceptable to use a sticker with a clever slogan that does not support a left wing political cause. Any of these stickers will likely end any chance you had of befriending a white person.
What kind of limited exposure to white folks does this author have? Where I grew up, and indeed in much of our nation, white people are noted for their love of God, guns and guts. Not to mention NASCAR.
The more I look the more obvious it becomes. NPR? The Wire? Free health care? The site is a collection of screeds against what Jeffrey calls the Yuppie Left. They attempt to skewer hypocrisy, with mixed results. This should be called “Stuff Hypocritical Middle-Class Liberal Americans Like.” That’s not such a funny title, is it?
So what agenda does it serve to characterize all white people as middle-class liberal Americans? What value in promulgating a worldview in which the poor are all nonwhite? It strikes me as some kind of vast rightwing conspiracy, another attempt to further discredit liberalism and make it look ridiculous. But I’m not sure it’s that simple. Maybe it’s a liberal attempt at self-critique, because the humor only seems sharp when it’s directed against hypocrisy. Actually it seems incoherent. A commenter over at the rightwing American Scene says it best:
I think in a sense the blog does precisely what it complains about white people doing, claiming to support the poor but expecting them to remain in poverty. It purports to support wealth creation for the nonwhite, but it defines wealth and upper-class identity as an aspect of whiteness.
Anyway, I for one am offended. And yes, I know “Being Offended” is #101. Spare me the withering irony. Frankly, your irony couldn’t wither my lily-white dick. (Um. Apologies to my parents for that line. It was rude.) But unlike the hypocrisy effectively skewered in that write-up, I’m not offended on behalf of someone else. I’m offended on my own behalf. I’m offended by the racial stereotyping that’s not even accurate.
I’m also offended by the general lack of funniness once I realized this was really about attacking liberalism and not about race at all.
Granted, “Stuff White People Like” is still funnier than my blog. But I’m not trying to be funny, folks. Not everyone is a comedian.