One of the blogs I occasionally like to visit is Stuff White People Like. This site by Christian Lander is very funny and I appreciate his self-deprecating humor. It became an internet hit and has led to a book and t-shirts.
It got me thinking what I have observed through my own experiences about what White people like. Here is a list of 10 things I put together, in no particular order of relevance.
1. To put Black people in their “place”
Every so often, White people like to remind us… sometimes subtly, sometimes not… that we are not the same as them, regardless of whatever constitutional rights, legal rights, civil rights, human rights, voting rights, etc., we may have attained over the years. Whether it’s your close “White” friend, or co-worker who tells you “that” joke… you know the one that is based on some derogatory stereotype or your skin color, or it’s the references to lynching via nooses, or the blatant use of the word “nigger” by celebrities, the message is clear: “we’re not equals and furthermore your life is worth less than mine”.
2. To minimize the accomplishments of Black people
This one follows closely on the heels of #1. I am sure we can all tell a personal experience where we have accomplished something, or stayed late a number of nights working hard on a project… whether at work or school… and our efforts were downplayed or minimized. While we knew in our “heart of hearts”, that if a White person had done the same thing, it would have been acknowledged and recognized. I have seen it in relation to the Williams sisters and even Tiger Woods! In the words of the late Rodney Dangerfield: “I get no respect!”
3. To compare their own personal struggles and/or movements with those of Black people
If you have been visiting here for a while, you know this is my pet peeve! Whether it’s the White women’s movement, the White homosexual movement, the White peoples’ animal rights movement, etc., they all like to claim that whatever their issue is, it’s just like (or even worse!) than the discrimination and prejudice that Black people went through (cause we ain’t going through it no’mo, especially since there is now a Black POTUS). The “(insert issue here) is the new Black” mantras have become the new age slogans for the White yuppie socialists and guilty liberal types.
4. To make a living and/or become famous by claiming to be some kind of anti-racist expert
We have all been forced to attend the company sponsored diversity workshops or anti-racism seminars, which can last from a half-day to 3 days. The facilitator is almost always a White woman and at the end of the workshop there is usually a luncheon featuring “ethnic foods” for all to experience. During the seminar, we end up feeling uncomfortable and go home pissed because we have just wasted a day (or 3), listening to the same ole recycled rhetoric and bullsh*t, all the while rolling our eyes knowing that nothing will change. During the seminar, White people end up being defensive, but go home feeling good about themselves because they were able to vent about what they perceive as “reverse racism” in regards to the supposed “special privileges” colored folks are now getting.
Then there are the Tim Wise types, who claim to be experts on the evils of “White Privilege” and then hustle this into making a comfortable living on the lecture circuit, as well as selling their books, cds and dvds. You can certainly get a more honest and therefore credible analysis on issues relating to “White Privilege” and “Eurocentric Superiority” by reading blogs such as Brotherpeacemaker, The Black Sentinel , The Field Negro, as well as this one (to name a few)… and its all for free!
5. To get into romantic relationships with people of color (POC) as an act of rebellion (usually against their Father) or to feel better about themselves
Don’t get me wrong, I believe there are genuine inter-racial relationships that are based on love and respect. However, I have experienced and know of many of these relationships where it’s clear (to me at least), that the White person is in the relationship with the POC because they have some deep seated issues with authority, or an authority figure… usually their Father… and this is their way of rebelling against him or society in general.
Let’s not forget to mention those White people who have some sort of an inferiority complex and get into these relationships to feel better about themselves… even a sense of superiority and entitlement in regards to their POC mate.
6. To spend a lot of time and money getting a tan
I have always been amazed at how much time and money White people will spend trying to get “darker”. They will even risk skin cancer by burning their skin, whether it’s in the sun or under heat lamps. Some will even use a “tan in a can” product. However, these are the same people who would have a major meltdown if one of their kids decided to date a Black person… Dog the Bounty Hunter syndrome anyone!
7. To keep exotic pets
What is it with White people having snakes, tarantulas, chimpanzees, crocodiles, ferrets, rats, iguanas, pigs, goats, rabbits, etc., as pets!? And why are they so surprised and shocked when these wild animals attack and kill or maim their azzz!? Besides having dogs, cats and maybe some species of fishes as pets, if we are keeping any other animal around, it’s most certainly for a future meal!
8. To buy a Jazz or Blues Festival pass which allows them access to every event
White people will spend $200 – $400 to buy a single pass to be able to get into every concert/event at a Jazz or Blues fest. Then they can’t wait to tell a Black person to prove how much they love Black music. They will then list every Black performer who will be playing and if you are at their house, they will certainly show you their collection of Black artists who they grew up listening to. I like Jazz and Blues, but I’ve never even heard of 70% of these artists. It sometimes leads me to question my “Blackness”…
9. To travel to foreign countries for a sightseeing adventure
Most POC I know travel (whether legally or illegally), to foreign countries so that they can build a better life for themselves and their families. I have never met a Black person who took a year off from work… or school… to travel to Europe, Asia or Africa for that matter, just to see it. When I travelled to West Africa, I met White people in villages in the rural areas… just hanging out with the locals! We have all seen the documentaries or “movies based on a true story”, where a group of (crazy) White people will go climb Mount Everest, or trek through rain forests/jungles, or go scuba diving in some shark infested exotic location… and die!
10. To adopt kids from third world countries
I am not here referring to the “Madonnas or Brangelinas” of the world, who collect kids like they were collecting trinkets to show off to their friends. I’ve always had a lot of respect for anyone, especially a White person, who will travel to a third world country to adopt a child, especially a Black child.
The Queen and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from Jamaica and I can tell you it’s an intense, frustrating, emotional, time-consuming, expensive and humbling experience… and we are just in the initial stages and we both have ties to Jamaica! I could only imagine how much more nerve-racking it would be for someone who is sincerely wanting to make a better life for a child who is in a completely foreign country. The bureaucracy, the added costs to pay corrupt officials, the travel, residency requirements and uncertainty up to the last moments, are more than enough reasons to dissuade anyone from pursuing foreign adoptions.
Here is my follow up post on Stuff Black People Like…