Stuff White People Like
Christian Lander, Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions (New York: Random House, 2008)
Racial jokes are only funny inside of a particular racial or ethnic group. When one group tells jokes on another, the humor is often lost. When it is not lost, it can quickly become destructive and even mean. So a book that provokes us to laugh at ourselves is not only funny, but also an invitation to do a little bit of reflection about race. Now, just four years later, it is important to remember that this book came out in the year that Barak Obama was elected President of the United States. Americans spent the year trying to avoid talking about race. We still are reluctant to have those conversations. European Americans are particularly slow to speak of our own unique heritage, ideas, and identities.
The book is light-hearted and not meant to make a heavy social statement. Perhaps that is the best way to get us to take a look at ourselves. There are 150 very short observations in the book, along with some delightfully funny charts. I recommend this book for all white folks. It might even work for a book club or other group to start some conversations about how we are, how we appear to others, and what makes us behave the way we do.