Friday, April, 11, 08

Stuff white people like

I had a good conversation with MR about the blog Overall, I find the blog funny. MR finds it irritating and does not like being boxed into categories and having stereotypes perpetuated. MR also said that MR is able to relate to some of the things, but stuffwhitepeoplelike makes various activities, ideas, interests, etc seem fake and boring. It takes the energy and life out of them.

I told MR one of the reasons I find the blog funny is that to me it is like sweet sweet revenge. I am glad MR finds it frustrating to be placed in a box, to be stereotyped, welcome to the world of not being white. I gave the example of being asked to represent ALL Iranians and/or ALL Muslims in different settings. I have been in classes where the one black person is asked to represent ALL black folk.

So, if this blog infuriates some white folk, or makes them step back with frustration at being placed in a box, great. But then there is the responsibility of taking that feeling, that knowledge, and doing something with it.

I told MR that I know MR is smart enough to figure out why it is infuriating, MR said it them self. They do not like stereotypes being encouraged, particularly when there are people who work hard at combating stereotypes.

I liked MR’s point about stuffwhitepeoplelike make things seem fake, because I think that stereotypes have that power. They take an entire group of people and no matter if the generalization is “positive” (in quotes, cause really, it’s still BS) or negative, this group is now no longer human, but a huge clump or mass identified by their supposed actions, beliefs, ideals, etc. There is absolutely a falseness to it. Stereotypes remove the human, the individual, from their own actions and words.

The thing with stuffwhitepeoplelike is that I do not get the sense that its purpose is to bring about social change. It is more of a let’s make fun of ourselves sort of a thing…in fact, there is an element of hipster humour to it. The “oh look how ironic and cool I am” sort of humour. The “I can say (insert racist, homophobic, sexist, classist remark here) that because I know it’s not true” sort of humour. Meanwhile, the majority of hipsters are rich white kids who have no idea what it feels like to be placed into a box simply because of your race.

No white person is ever asked to speak on behalf of all white folk. (Maybe we should all visit, or re-visit, Peggy McIntosh).

It has been almost two years since I have removed my scarf. Not once when I wore it was I treated as if I were white, certainly not by white folk. I remember in elementary school I tried real hard to get those kids to believe I was half Irish-American and half Iranian. But I was a liar, as far as they were concerned. As I stated in an earlier post, I am privy to things, to privileges, I was not before.

Sometimes I feel like I abandoned myself and my people. Sometimes I feel like I have pushed myself even further away.

I can’t help but feel glad that there is some annoyance at stuffwhitepeoplelike. It doesn’t feel good being boxed in with everyone else, especially when everyone else means people like George Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld (seriously, that man has the most evil face I have ever seen).

I can only hope that if anyone else is annoyed, like MR, they understand why.

Also, for what it’s worth, there are a lot of things on that blog that I relate to. The funny thing is, like MR, I felt a slight bit of annoyance at first. For me, it was more, I don’t want to be grouped with the very people that have treated me like shit my entire life and are killing my people right now. Only, I am half white….so, I need to get the fuck over myself and my privilege.

And, as I told MR, from the outsider perspective – to which MR responded that I am a “honky.” For once, some white person acknowledges my whiteness and I get called a honky. – there are certain things I related to. For example, there is a post about white people loving to tell poor people how to live their lives. I related to that in the sense that it reminded me of this person B who used to tell me and a fellow Iranian how we, as Middle Easterners, should react to Middle Eastern representation in film and television. Apparently me and this other Iranian were not supposed to laugh at the false representation, but get angered. Thank you for telling me how it feels to be called a terrorist. Thank you for enlightening me on my own oppression.

Anyway…clearly all this is still fresh in my mind. Frankly, I don’t want it to ever not be.


  1. I don’t think there is anything on SWPL that relates to me.

    Absolutely nothing.

    Excuse me while I go outside (#9) with my 3-legged dog (#53) to eat vegetarian (#32) sushi (#42 slash #45) on lunch break from my non-profit job (#12) where i work because i hate corporations (#82 slash #56) and discuss with Matt how we both went to graduate school (#81) so we know what is best for poor people (#62). On the way there i’ll listen to pirated (#93) Mos Def (#69) on my iPhone (#40). Afterwards we’ll get coffee (#1) and discuss the primaries and who we support (#8).

    Then I’ll blog about how i can’t relate to SWPL (#50).

    Comment by Ade — Wednesday, April, 16, 08 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  2. I have just found this blog as I am looking to invite Peggy McIntosh to come and speak at my college (I am a Women’s Studies prof). Your comment here will I think be really helpful to my students (most of whom are not white) to see issues of privilege and subjectivity more clearly. It also made me think about how my friends and I do indeed laugh ironically about TWPL… I remember one friend emailing me the link to “grammar” (since we both teach English). Her reply, in ironic hipster mode, was “True ‘dat.” Exactly. On that note, check out the youtube video “Nice White Lady”, which is another self-deprecating ironic piece that satirizes movies like “Freedom Writers” about nice white ladies who go and teach in urban schools and proceed to “save” the poor black kids from themselves. I found it arresting (although again, it is totally created for humor and not political commentary. Unfortunately.

    Thanks for your post.

    Comment by cm — Wednesday, December, 17, 08 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

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