Stuff White People Like and Tea Parties
I'm a fan of the social commentary blog "Stuff White People Like
" written by Christian Lander. (I support it by owning a copy of his book.) The author's style nails so many of the artifacts of "white culture" in an understated way that I find enjoyable to read. I think it's the same voice that many successful stand-up comics use. The ones who don't tell jokes, but who point out some of the silliness of modern life.
Although he hasn't made the entry yet, something that white people definitely like are protests and marches. Just look at the stuff white people like an you see the logical connection. The list
includes Political Prisoners, Being Offended, Bumper Stickers, The Ivy League, Scarves, San Francisco, Having Gay Friends, Hating Corporations, Threatening to Move to Canada, Recycling, Knowing What’s Best for Poor People, Lawyers, Arts Degrees, The Sunday New York Times, Public Radio, Marijuana, Vegan/Vegetarianism, Non-Profit Organizations, and more. This stuff is either a topic of protests or marches, supports the protests or marches, or could be found at a protest or march (along with message T-shirts).
So if white people like protests and marches, why then is much of "white culture" (the people who like the things above) dismissive of the Tea Party movement? It's got speaking truth to power, outdoors, Diversity, lawyers, bumper stickers, sticking up for the little guy, signs, being offended, even some weed and good t-shirts. The answer is that these protests are attended by the wrong kind of white people.
The wrong kind of white person is the one that "right kind" white people want to avoid when camping (the one in the RV); the one that watches Leno; the one who doesn't like hummus or find Sarah Silverman funny. It's the one who, when he goes to San Francisco, makes the Rocket Boat
the highlight of the trip. It's the white person who drives a truck, not to reject the political statement of driving a Prius, but because he needs it for work. Sarah Palin, even though she's a strong woman, in a Native American, union household with a disabled child, and an
single mother daughter is the wrong kind of white person.
This is why a protest against big corporations that has dozens
of the right kind people attending will get national news coverage, and a protest against big
government with thousands
of the wrong kind of white people gets ignored, minimized, or dismissed
The challenge is to frame the issues in terms that white people can understand and join in. Tea Partiers are a diverse bunch. There is room for everyone. The only thing we ask when you join is a commitment to get the federal government out of our pocketbooks and now our doctors' offices. (I don't think they belong in our bedrooms either, but that's a separate issue.) While we have many of the wrong kind of white people, we also have much of the stuff white people like.
Thanks Professor Reynolds!