In the comments to a previous post, Tyson Aschliman reminded me about Christine Scheller’s suggestion that I check out the new blog Stuff White People Like. I meant to reply to her on that awhile back but got distracted. I’m sorry, Christine.
I had heard about Stuff White People Like (SWPL) earlier this year through TheRoot.com and another interesting blog called Racialicious. At the time, I wondered whether or not I should blog about SWPL. I decided not to because, while I found it funny, I wasn’t sure whether I was laughing with my white brothers and sisters or at them. Also, I realized that I like many of the same things that are supposedly the primary domain of white folk (e.g., #44 Public Radio, #40 Apple Products, #64 Recycling). Does this make me “too white” or “not black enough”? 🙂
I may be overreacting about all of this, but I wonder what your thoughts are. Is SWPL a harmless site that’s good for a few laughs? A subversively instructive site that uses satire to help further our understanding of racial and cultural differences? Or, like that Root.com essay suggests, is it just the latest humor-clad gimmick exploiting our differences for one individual’s selfish gain (the guy got a nifty book deal out of this thing)? More importantly, does it help or hurt the cause of true racial reconciliation?
I don’t want to come across as a spoilsport. Frankly, I think many of the SWPL entries are hilarious. And I believe it’s helpful to use humor in our discussion of racial issues. (Heck, I attempted to do that in my book.) But is there enough that’s redemptive in the SWPL approach to make it something that’s healthy and productive, and not just a slow-acting poison for the mind and heart that will ultimately make us more cynical?