by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson
Stuff White People Like has been linked by about 20 of the blog feeds I read on the regular. That’s saying a lot. I finally decided to go check it out to see what I was missing.
Reading the blog with my boyfriend, I was amused – until my boyfriend cracked “You know, you like half of this stuff too. By SWPL standards, you could be white.”
Sure, I like yoga, tea, wine, and Mos Def like anyone else. And I love having black friends. But I scored 27 out of 84 on the Stuff White People Like for a 32% whiteness factor. Looks like I don’t have to trade in my race card just yet!
I talked to Hae about this, and she pointed out that I’m Asian anyway. Which, again, I do protest. Why can’t I just be a black person with diverse interests? Why do I have to magically transform into different ethnicities all the time?
Luckily for me, there are a few other sites to check my “other race” quotient.
In the same vein as SWPL, Stuff Asian People Like serves up semi-stereotypical notes on a culture from those who live it each day. From Plush Toys and Purikura to Honda Civics and Chopsticks, I was also amused at this site.
However, there is one crucial difference between SAPL and SWPL – Asian people have more than a few things to be pissed about. So, SAPL occassionally becomes a platform to combat ignorance. Exhibit A – The Anime Post:
WE LOVE ANIME! It is part of the asian culture. We embrace it. The multi-billion dollar industry has stretched from the minuscule islands of Japan all the way to the comic book shops of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. However, there are many types of anime lovers: those who try to be asian, and those who are full-blooded asians. Being white doesn’t make someone conservative. Being African American doesn’t make someone a professional basketball player. Likewise, being an anime lover does not automatically make you asian.
Check the breakdown:
1) Those who think that Anime is all Japan has to offer. Let’s get this straight. Japan has other things to offer? What about that Tiny MP3 Player with 40gb of storage. What about that cell phone that works all around the world or housemaid robot? What about those thousand-dollar DLP televisions, fuel-efficient cars, and electronics we could never dream of in our wildest imaginations? Let’s get one point across. Anime is not the only Japanese product.
2) Those who try to become Japanese. Asians are very envious of the Japanese race. They love the fact that it has progressed so immensely over the past hundred years. They love the fact that it is isolated from the communist corruption in China and Southeastern Asia. However, take a second to ponder your roots. If you are not asian, do not try to be asian just because you don’t fit in. Don’t say that you are going to become as “Japanese” as possible, and plan to move to Japan to escape the “freak moniker” because chances are, if you move to Japan to buy all the anime and manga you want, you will be considered a freak not only by the Japanese, but by people you know. Leave the “being asian” to the asians, and quit saying things like: “baka” and “sugoi“.
3) Those who think that reading Anime makes them know everything about Japan. This is the largest pet peeve. Now we all know that forlorn kid that sits in class reading their manga like they own it. They take the Japanese classes and are able to understand the language to the capacity-level of a 5 year old. What’s the point? They aren’t asian. Asians are asian. “they’ll translate idioms literally – like ‘kanazuchi’, meaning ‘bad swimmer’, they’ll call ‘iron hammer’, the literal translation. So you get nonsensical sentences like “Oh that girl, she’s an iron hammer”. They’ll also translate false cognates incorrectly – like ’saabisu’ usually means ‘free’, not ’service’. Anyway, everybody makes mistakes, but when these people make mistakes, their mistakes get taken as truth by hordes of other Japanophiles.” -Bitter Asian Men
See, that right there deserves to be on a poster, to be displayed at every anime convention until the end of time.
Scoring 12 out of 28 gives me a 43% Asian factor. Looks like I’m still black, but I think my 43% score should be on a tee-shirt somewhere. Maybe then servers at Korean restaurants will stop giving me forks! (Come on y’all, I’m here once a month. No, I don’t need a fork, and no, I don’t want a coke. Damn.)
Stuff Black People Love was meant to be a social statement. From their about section:
If you are looking for the Black themed copy of stuffwhitepeoplelike.org, you will not find it here! I think that is a great site, but I’m not presenting a scientific study of what black people love. I liked the concept, but it’s a bit mean and unapologetic. This site is meant to be an exploration of Black Culture and things we are fond of. Black People are not Monolithic. However, I do suggest you check out StuffEducatedBlackPeopleLike for a good take on the subject.
The poster even ponders the purpose of her blog in the entry “Is there something wrong with fried chicken?”
In creating this blog, I’ve come to a crossroads. A list of things that black people like or love is an invitation to controversy. I knew this at the beginning. One of the things that keeps getting mentioned to me is that if I post things like Fried Chicken, Chitterlings, or Rap Music…it’s going to be perceived as racist.
I’m an African American Woman and racism is nothing new to me.
What I don’t understand is why Black people would say that the concept that we love fried chicken is simply negative? We do LOVE Fried Chicken!!! What is racist about that? What is so wrong with Chitterlings? These foods are part of our history, our entire history. When did they become demonized? Does your grandmother feel bad that she can make some delicious fried chicken? Was your great grandfather ashamed at all of the pork in his family’s diet? Are we now ashamed??? Do we think that our love of fried food is a secret? I don’t see a whole lot of Vegan or Thai resturants in Black communities. Do you?
I’m sure you have all seen the StuffWhitePeopleLike.org site (great site) and want to see something that mirrors that. Well, I’ve come to the conclusion in the short time that I’ve launched this blog that it’s impoossible to do that without offending some people or presenting a list that would not be much different. The uniqueness of SWPL, the thing that makes it interesting, is it’s authenticity. When you read it, you think of white people you know and the interactions you’ve had with White folk. StuffBlackPeopleLove.com would not be authentic without making note of things that some might feel are stereotypical or racist. Ask yourself, “When I think of things that Black People love, what do I think of?” I’m sure you’ll smile, but I’m also sure that some of the things that come to mind might not be the more positive aspects of our culture.
The site has since changed hands, but it looks like they are continuing in the vein of positive conversation.
It’s a little hard to score this one, as the posts are mostly designed to pose questions, but I’ll give myself a score in the 90% range as I agree with most of what is on this blog.
Back to the basic idea, Stuff Educated Black People Like also follows the format of SWPL and SAPL.
Strangely, it was here where I scored fairly low. I scored 5 out of 14, which gave me a 36% Educated Blackness factor, beating my whiteness factor by a scant 4 percentage points.
Some commentary cuts a wee bit close to the bone though.
For example, the post on Talking About Uneducated Black People. Check out the interactions in the comments section:
Tippy/Keyonna // March 6, 2008 at 11:14 pm
I find this sight very offensive and stereotypical. It is not funny and it’s not a joke. This doesn’t offend just educated black people or uneducated black people, but it offends the whole race. I am truly appalled by the ignorance that is displayed throughout the whole article.
thatchick // March 7, 2008 at 12:28 am
Tippy/Keyonna – you find this “sight” offensive? I find your spelling offensive.
As an EBP, I would like to say that I am quite embarrassed by ghetto people. I know plenty of uneducated black people, but they aren’t necessarily ghetto.
To me, ghetto people are INCESSANTLY loud, wear very very very cheap clothing to classy events, attach bad weave to nappy hair, have bass rattling their rusting doors off…oh yeah, and ask questions like:
“How your day was?”
“I get 5 asparagus for 6$???” (loud as hell…)
a.eye // March 7, 2008 at 1:01 am
You should read my take on all this http://1219sibmtt.blogspot.com/2007/08/message-to-brown-people-in-usa.html
It is a huge cycle of internalized racism. Thinking you are better than others, or thinking you are not good enough.
ennuiprayer // March 7, 2008 at 5:01 pm
I loved it.
It’s the same way with Hispanics – in my case, Mexican descent. Those of us who bothered to go for an education are embarrassed that the stereotype follows us because of a few. But attack one of them, and we shift into action. It’s odd, really.
Amber B // March 7, 2008 at 5:40 pm
I have to disagree…I know plenty of loud and obnoxious people who have degrees and I don’t talk about or look down on anyone who doesn’t hold a degree…I know plenty of people who didn’t go to college but they are making more now than most people who did because they have other talents so I wouldn’t dare get up on a high horse and think I’m better than someone with less education but who’s making a better living than I am.
And so on.
I’ll be keeping an eye on SEBPL, to see how the blog progresses.
That’s about all for now. If anyone knows of a Stuff Latinos Like or Stuff Desis like, let me know in the comments.
I’d love to get my score from those perspectives – if for nothing else, than to fill in the extra bubbles on my race card.
About This BlogRacialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable
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Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at email@example.com.
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