Chiara pointed me at this great analysis (via the Feministing blog) of the Stuff White People Like blog:
For me, despite the humor (and yes, I see the humor and LMAO to different entries all the time) I don’t see how marrying the concept of white-ness to the concept of material is actually helping us get to a new place. And as a friend of mine pointed out, the opposite effect of this is that the underlying assumption of stuff white people like is that the stuff they like is not cool, so then is everything that people of color do totally cool? Does that mean that we should look to people of color for what is cool (insert “wow you are such a good dancer!”)? So in a way it is perpetuating that same thing we are trying to get away from. A hyper fascination with the things that white people like.
What sealed the deal for me was when I heard the author got a $300,000 dollar book deal. That is fucking crazy. If he had been a person of color he would have never gotten so much attention or such a hefty book deal. People would have said, omg, that is racist! They wouldn’t have given it so much cred. My point being, there are a lot of people that call out racism and whiteness, but they don’t get huge book deals for it because they are not white. So despite the potential transformative nature of calling out whiteness for what it is, the author is still getting rewarded for being white, even though he is making fun of white people. And let’s not forget, white people also get paid for making fun of people of color. And what exactly do people of color get paid to do. . . ? To also make fun of people of color or to create characters that fit into white people’s comfort levels of what is acceptable people of colorness. Because as the blog points out subtly, white people have the most capital to be the biggest consumers of everything, so all the images we see are tailored to their sensibilities.
This may be a total stretch, but this is where I am at with the whole thing and just had to put it out there. I see how many people LOVE this blog and how many people of color love it. And I see how uncomfortable it makes white people, which I also think is good. Being uncomfortable can often motivate you to think outside yourself. But is it really leading to this transformative conversation for a racially just world or is it perpetuating our assumed differences, realigning them with a gaze on what is considered white?