Stuff Educated Latinos Like, ladies and gentlemen. Apparently educated Latino/as also enjoy diminishing returns?

Also, Gary Dauphin over at The Root gets at some of our issues with StuffWhitePeopleLike.

…SWPL also smells like a classic racial con-job. It goes without saying that the specific entries (Oscar parties?) don’t really apply to anyone. That makes Landers’ overall pose–and the uncritical response to it–the real action. You’d think from the approving hubbub that SWPL had discovered (white) America or something, but white comedians, academics, and artists have been thinking and cracking wise about “white” culture since before Landers was in, well, short pants (#86). Usually, even jokey talk about whiteness has a whiff of danger to it, but SWPL is likely the safest, most affable racial satire ever, a loving high-five between friends passing as critique. …

If SWPL has an immediate precedent, though it’s not the gleefully absurd Black People Love Us! but the direly depressing Hot Ghetto Mess. Like SWPL, Hot Ghetto Mess presented itself as an “inside” look at a given demographic’s “mess” for the purported purposes of humor, education and uplift. It was, of course, nothing more than the worst (best?) kind of Internet hustle, the site riding repackaged and cheaply available (as in free) web photos and video all the way to an ill-fated BET TV tie-in.

Borrowing from the Hot Ghetto Mess playbook, SWPL not just monetizes dime-a-dozen and banal observations, but relies quite directly on an uncredited, nameless class of people of color. Landers grew up in Toronto’s Chinatown and credits the experience as having made him “aware of whiteness right away.” In a Los Angeles Times interview, he goes on to explain that he “came up with the idea for the blog after talking to a Filipino friend about how much they both liked the HBO police drama “The Wire.”” That’s a great secret origin, securing Landers’ bona fides as a whitepeoplecoloredpeoplelike, and yet the SWPL entry on The Wire (#85) summarily disappears (or is that assimilates?) the Filipino friend, this even as Landers seems to write in his non-white voice. (I guess didn’t have that magic ring.)

We’ll have to forgive our beloved Wire for spawning this whole meme.



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • GVG

    Someone sent me this one a couple of days ago –

    Got to love originality.

  • verdeluz

    I find the entrance of the “Educated” qualifier in more than one of these spinoffs interesting. And indicative of the degree to which the other authors fail to capture the tongue-in-cheek wide-eyedness of SWPL. These subsequent blogs are blatantly self-conscious, which drains the humor out of it pretty much entirely. (So, ahem, do the endless dissections of the value and significance of the original. It’s *funny*. Let’s move on.)

  • quadmoniker

    Well, I think, if SWPL were more honest, it would be called qualified as “Stuff liberal, college-educated white people like.” I don’t know if that’s the point that these other sites are trying to make, and they are certainly all problematic. But you’ll notice, with SWPL, that Nascar didn’t make the list (or it hadn’t the last time I checked.) I really liked Dauphin’s piece on this, because it got to all of the things wrong with SWPL that I couldn’t put a finger on. Some of the posts are funny, sure, but it’s not as sophisticated as it thinks it is.

  • verdeluz

    ‘It’s not as sophisticated as it thinks it is?’ *Really*?

    I don’t mean to single you out, qm, and I hope no offense is taken, but the whole ‘you’re not that fly’ undertone is exactly what drives me nuts about these conversations. Absolutely- if we want to take a serious look at what’s really going on at SWPL, it’s pretty clear that it does not represent all white people, and that the idea that it could is ridiculous. But if we accept the latter as fact, why are we insisting on analyzing the site as if it were serious ethnography instead of an arguably cleverly written flash in the pan satire whose ultimate purpose is to elicit a few chuckles?

    I’m teasing out a theory over at Stuff Young, Urban, Liberal, College-Educated, Intelligent People Like.. I hope ‘Overanalyzing something that has become very popular essentially because it has become very popular and making negative pronouncements about its worth in order to affirm their advanced critical thinking skills and solidify their above-it-allness’ won’t be seen as redundant after the ‘Doubting Obama’s viability because, shit, a lot of people really like him’.

  • quadmoniker

    Because it’s gotten more attention than that, and because, if you look at the comments section on the site, some people don’t get the joke. and some sites manage to be both at once, as dauphin pointed out.

  • verdeluz: if it’s satire, it’s toothless satire. that’s fine. we laugh and it’s not that serious.

    but we talk about race and identity and pop culture; this whole meme is right up our alley. why did SWPL get four million hits in its first month? it’s been on NPR, and i’ve been e-mailed at least forty times about the site. ha-ha, expensive sandwiches.

    humor is based on shared experience/understanding and the author himself said he wants to poke fun at privilege and stereotyping why can’t folks look at it and laugh (or not) and then raise our eyebrows about the implications re: shared experience or privilege or stereotyping?

  • verdeluz

    you’re absolutely right; the subject matter falls perfectly in line with what this blog is about and pb would be remiss if it didn’t jump on the bandwagon. my issue isn’t with pb’s coverage, but with the bandwagon itself. slate, npr, and other national news outlets also reported on LOLcats. people probably bought four million trucker hats in x amount of time after the premier of ‘punked’. they’re cultural phenomena. something is funny or attractive, the word spreads, it becomes wildly popular, there’s a backlash against said popularity, and it fades into oblivion for almost everybody (but expect to get e-mail about SWPL well into 2009). sure, it’s a national obsession, but i just don’t buy that the fact that something touches on the subject of race– or is wildly popular– makes it inherently more worthy of in-depth discussion and reflection.

    as for the author’s comments, my impression from the interviews i’ve read is that he’s doing the same thing everyone else is doing- inventing a deeper purpose for what he was doing because now that it’s so popular and people are coming to him for interviews, he has to. he and his non-white friends made the same jokes that all of us make- stereotypes that none of us actually believes apply to some mythical white monolith, which is why they’re jokes- and then he wrote about it.

    sometimes it’s okay to let things be simple.

  • verdeluz: ‘stereotypes that none of us actually believes apply’

    you sure about that?

    sometimes it’s okay to let things be simple. but this is race we’re talking about. it’s not.

    sorry our eye-rolling/parsing annoys you so much; you’re more than welcome to not participate in it.