One of my friends recently posted a thoughtful commentary on the responses to the popular website stuffwhitepeoplelike.com which lists such popular white people interests as:
San Francisco » Dinner Parties » Having Gay Friends » The Wire » Hating Corporations » Graduate School » Multilingual Children
Upon first glance the website is funny, more a list of stuff white hipsters like than stuff white people in general like, but I definitely cringed while reading the list to see so many things I like on the list. What I hadn’t thought about while reading that site though, is what it means that I saw so much of myself in that list. My friend viktorfrankl on livejournal, posted an interesting response to this:
the value that i see in that blog is to point out to white people that they have a culture. it is a HUGE problem in this country that most white people see their culture as the default culture, and therefore don’t think of it as a culture, but they see other non-white cultures as cultures because they are “ethnic.” this is the same way that whiteness works in general. white people don’t like hearing told that they are white. they see themselves as the default, the norm, as non-racial, as just “regular.” the value of this blog is to point out to people that just like black people, just like mexican people, they are subject to cultural sillyness that they have never questioned, that they see as the norm, as the default.
I fall into this trap a lot, of not thinking outside of my personal reference, and of not always remembering that mine is not the only cultural view or experience. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that I like NPR or tea, or going out to breakfast, but I do think it means that I have a culture, and engage in activities characteristic to that culture. It’s a good thing to be reminded about that.