Growing up in country-behind Cleveland, Ohio, (yes, it’s country, we all migrated from Mississippi and Alabama, and the proof spills forth the moment I open my mouth) I was always the “white girl” of my huge extended family: Daddy moved us to the â€˜burbs, and I used correct grammar and made straight As. Nevermind that I was always the hood one out of the suburban crew, the one who spent her weekends across town playing “drive-by” (it involved hiding behind cars and bushes to thwart imaginary bullets from cars riding by) and running to the store to buy Newports for my older cousins. But I digress.
This trip down memory lane is brought to you by the recent publishing of a hilarious book by Christian Lander, Stuff White People Like: A Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions. I’m sure you got that email with the link to the hilarious site Stuff White People Like ages ago, quickly followed by the link to the unrelated Stuff Educated Black People Like. After LMFAO at my desk, I moved on, but seeing this new book made me take a second look at both sites. And the more I read, the more I realized: White People and Educated Black People are basically the same folks!
That’s right, maybe my cousins were on to something all those years ago. Now I’m not questioning my (or anyone else’s) blackness, or saying that educated = white; that’s stupid, and certainly not something an EBP would do. But I am saying that reading those lists was so damn funny because I identified with a lot of the items on both. And I submit that many things on the two sites are interchangeable, especially when you know that Lander says his list is for “mostly left-wing, upper-middle-class” WP.
For one thing, while I’ve only had one sip of coffee in my whole life (very not-white, apparently, as coffee is #1 on the list) I do like, nay love, film festivals, veganism and Mos Def. Right now, I’m sitting on my modern black leather couch in my apartment in Manhattan, typing this column on my Apple PowerBook. Hell, I even started my day with a vigorous yoga session using my Wii Fit, and I’m giving some serious thought as to where I want to do outdoor brunch tomorrow (gotta get the book for that one). And who among you, dear readers, doesn’t love these things as much as I?
Over to the other list, there are lots of things that are unmistakably for EBP (including sororities -Ooo-oop!-neo soul, and Howard University). But there are plenty of items that my white sistren can testify to. Namely, a love for Barack Obama, jazz (especially Coltrane and Davis) and the all-important advanced degree. Maybe education is the great equalizer?
I thought successful relationships were built on common interests. So if we all like the same stuff, why do we have such a difficult time getting along in this country? Now don’t get all offended and bombard me with comments about how you have plenty of white friends; that doesn’t sound any better coming from you than it does from WP. Sure, if you live on either the East or West Coasts of the U.S. or in certain cities in Europe, racial mixing is commonplace, if not mandatory. But in the middle of this country, it’s not the shake. There are often separate sides of town, club nights and even entire industries; this I know firsthand. Add to that the still-frequent police killings of Blacks, awful-ass Fox News and the conversations over whether Barack is too-Black or not-Black-enough , and it’s clear that we have a long way to go.
But, hey, maybe we’re not as similar as I think we are; I’m certainly not as white as I thought. Know how I know? Today, I did something else WP like to do: I went to Barnes & Noble, grabbed a copy of Lander’s book, sat on the floor of the mezzanine, took the quiz that tells you just how white you are, then put the book back and left. Turns out I’m only about 28% white. Go figure.
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