4.25.2008

White Privilege and StuffWhitePeopleLike

As everyone knows there is this website called StuffWhitePeopleLike.com I decided to create this little post just to clarify a few things on the website and how it relates to whiteness and white privilege.

Macon D put it best in this comment:
I don't care as much as many others do, though, for "Stuff White People Like." I think it lets white folks off the hook, since what little insightful critique it has to offer is routinely buried beneath a smarmy, ironic, humorous surface.
Gary Dauphin states in this blog post:
Nothing gets under my (colored, nearly-middle-aged) skin like the spectacle of a twentysomething white kid doing what twentysomething white kids do all the time, namely, play on some or another aspect of their race for smug fun and profit. Lander has already reportedly been offered a $350K-plus book deal from Random House. (Can a VH1 Special be very far behind?) People of color are constantly accused of playing various race cards, but "White boy makes good by being white" is hardly a man-bites-dog story.
The problem with StuffWhitePeoleLike.com (or SWPL) is that there is actually nothing that offensive (all though some white people have thought it that) or thought provoking within the site. The reason for this is obvious, as whites are the majority in the country that have never experienced racial discrimination, institutionalized or socially. Because of this a site such as SWPL, which purports to "make fun of" white culture, can become profitable and can garner a large book deal from a major publisher.

Whiteness is essentially an invisible and often overlooked (in mainstream culture) factor within the United States and because of this most whites are blind to their own privilege as it is never talked about all that much.

In fact, even when people of color want to bring up certain offensive characteristics of white culture, such as naming mascots after Native Americans, and try to show them how offensive certain aspects are; white people can actually shrug all of that aside and laugh it off. After all, white folks are the dominant ones in society and have all of the advantages that have been built up over hundreds of years of racial preference toward whites; so when a group of Native American students name their intermural basketball team "The Fightin' Whites" in order to point out the stupidity of naming a team "The Fighin' Reds" white people find it funny and laugh it off because it is not a real threat to whiteness.

When you look at SWPL there is very little content in the site except a few jokes here and there about sandwhiches, non-profits, and drinking wine. It doesn't point out some of the very real and serious consequences of whiteness within American society.

A blog site that points out white privilege and white supremacy and its damaging affects on society is deemed as too dangerous and makes many whites uncomfortable about who they are because who they are and will become (or have become) is a product of a system that benefits them and tries to break down everyone else. A blog or web site such as The Unapologetic Mexican or Race Traitor will never get a huge book deal by a major publisher. Yet sites such as those actually get straight to the issues on whiteness and attack the structural and social privileges of whiteness. They make the invisible visible and the glossed over ever so apparent. Yet somehow a website such as SWPL is hailed by the mainstream white media as "brilliant" for poking fun at white culture.

Yet as Dauphin and others have said it's not that SWPL is poking fun at white culture but more of using the advantages of white culture and being white in order to make a buck while in turn leading the white American public away from critical self thought on their own whiteness and what it means for themselves and others in America.

Image From:
Tolerance.org

4 comments:

E said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but I'm sure the SWPL blog is written by a black person. He was interviewed by a particular magazine once with his photograph shown.
As much as I agree with the blog not tackling serious issues facing race in America, I think the blog was merely supposed to be poking fun at the upper-middle class whites and their, "quirks". As regularly pointed out by the commenters on the site, the blog does not really include ALL white americans, but the rich yuppie ones lol. It's all in fun though.

Jack Stephens said...

Nope, he's a white dude ( http://www.racialicious.com/2008/02/25/meet-the-man-behind-stuff-white-people-like/ ).

And it wouldn't matter if he was Black the blog is still kinda fucked up when you think about it, even more so that this white guy has a book deal.

Macon D said...

Thanks for the nod, Jack, and I certainly agree with your analysis of SWPL--silly stuff over there.

The owner is a white guy, 29 years old, a smart player for the dollar, very white after all in his ultimately individualistic pursuits. Assimilated Negro interviewed him back in the day (February 28), some 20 million pages views ago:

http://theassimilatednegro.blogspot.com/2008/02/stuff-white-people-like-interview-part.html

My site is an attempt at the white-analysis-by-a-white-guy that you're calling for, and SWPL was my impetus to start talking/blogging about it. Like you say, though, I know no book deal will come out of it, which is quite all right. I just appreciate the chance the Internet gives me to spread the word, or rather the counterword. Thanks again for helping with that, AND for the inspiration I find on your blog.

Macon D said...

PS--one of my early posts was about the way white folks will only think for more than a minute about whiteness if someone asks them to laugh about it:

http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2008/04/laugh-at-other-white-people.html

(And by the way, that fake team's name is Fightin' Whities, as in Wheaties.)