Thursday, March 20, 2008

Please, stereotype me!

Perhaps trying to get in on Obama's "typical white person" action, now the Houston Chronicle goes trendoid:
Asian women, fancy coffee, farmers markets, dinner parties and gay friends — these are just a sampling of life's pleasures — if you're white. . . .
That's according to Christian Lander, the (white) wit behind the Web sensation Stuff White People Like blog, an irreverent daily missive on the passions of posh urbanites of the Caucasian persuasion.
Being fluent in honky, I'm pretty sure "posh urbanites" is code for "Yuppies," a category I've always striven to avoid. Speaking only for my own tribe, we buy our groceries (including coffee beans, "fancy" and otherwise) at Food Lion or Super Wal-Mart, and if "dinner parties" include church potlucks . . . .

While I'm certainly capable of enjoying self-deprecating humor, I profoundly dislike the contemporary trend toward stereotyping all white people as affluent and effete, as if we're all upper-middle-class snobs living in urban lofts or lounging around our McMansions on suburban cul-de-sacs. Most white people don't fit that description. A majority of white people don't have college diplomas, and this affluent/effete stereotype ignores whites from blue-collar, small-town or rural backgrounds.

What shocked me most in the Houston Chronicle's article about the SWPL site was this:
"Asian Girls: 95% of white males have at one point in their lives experienced yellow fever. ... White men love Asian women so much that they will go to extremes such as stating that Sandra Oh is sexy, teaching English in Asia, playing in a co-ed volleyball league ... "
"Yellow fever"? Isn't it patently offensive to objectify Asians as a sexual fetish? Isn't SWPL suggesting that every romantic relationship between Asians and Caucasians is the result, not of mutual interests and mutual respect, but rather of some pseudo-colonial obsession? If white males who date Asian girls are suffering from "yellow fever," then what name should be given to whatever disorder must afflict their Asian girlfriends? And what about Asian men? Who are the Asian guys dating, since all the Asian girls are busy going out with the "95% of white males" with "yellow fever"?

But hey, SWPL is "irreverent," so it's OK. Maybe Obama should tell Jeremiah Wright to be more "irreverent."

No comments:

Post a Comment