On Not Being White
One look, and people think they have me pegged. I am a blonde, white girl of a certain height. That should say it all right? Well at least that’s what I thought. I am the wasp stereotype embodied.
Think again. Watson St. has recently become the recent owner of the cult classic, New York Times Bestseller, Stuff White People Like. This post is not about how stereotyping is wrong. For all intents and purposes, let’s assume that this book, which was written by a white person, is a 100% accurate depiction of white people.
The book is self explanatory: it is a catalog of all the things white people like, complete with witty explanations and pictures. It was when this book came into the possession of the residents of Watson St. that two important ideas were realized.
Before Stuff White People Like:
Stephen thought that he was pretty alternative. He embraced diversity, motown music, and felt like he was pretty much bucking the white person stereotype.
I thought that I was just about the whitest person I knew. I went to a liberal arts school, enjoyed country music, and went to yoga, regularly, in my barefoot running shoes.
After Stuff White People Like:
Stephen’s activities and interests are in almost 100% agreement with stuff white people like. Stephen is SO. WHITE. Stephen thought it was unique that he worked at a bike shop. Au contraire, as it turns out, white people love working at places like this. Other things on Stephen’s white person check list included: outdoor preformance clothes, being the only white person around, public radio (his homepage), bicycles, coffee, assists, diversity, asian girls, and last but not least Barack Obama.
I realized…I am basically a minority. Not only would I be eligible for affirmative action based on my interests alone, but there were things on the list that I hadn’t even heard of (who is wes anderson anyway). Needless to say I felt pretty damn diverse (but not enough to actually like diversity) and proud of myself for bucking my own racial stereotype. I scanned the list, twice. the things that did not apply to me such as, film festivals, organic food, nonprofit organizations, veganism, the toyota prius, natural medicine, and free health care, was actually overwhelming. In fact….I really dislike a few things white people like such as people who threaten to move to Canada (it’s China…get it right!). A good five minutes of silent celebration for my lack of whiteness went by before I realized:
this wasn’t stuff white people like at all….this is stuff liberals like. this is what the 1% is doing when they aren’t pretending to be the 99% on Wall St.
As it turns out my appreciation for coffee, international travel and yoga make me pretty stereotypically white, according to the book, but my lack of interest in apologies and knowing what’s best for poor people just make me a libertarian.