I read his blog and I own his book; I gather with a few students and friends from time to time just to chat about this all but great anthropological book: Stuff White people Like. I was blessed to have parents that encouraged Michael (brother) and I to have diverse friends. And we did. Black, white, Asian, etc, we grew up with all types. Negative talk about one’s race, class, or sexual orientation was not allowed. I thank my folks for this lesson.
The author writes about things from the religion of white people to the music they listen to. One of my favorite chapters in the book is that on the friends white people keep. At first I did not know what to make of this work. But in the end, it is the Seinfeld of books. Read this section below on whites and their black friends.
According to the book:
Since we are on the verge of electing a black president, it seems important to explain why white people want black friends. Every white person wants a black friend like Barack: good-looking, well-spoken, and non-violent. Obviously, whites want black friends so as not to appear racist (see earlier Obama post). However, if we dig deeper what we notice about white people is not if they have black friends but in fact, how many black friends they have. White people like numbers. They like to count things like stars in the sky and the death toll at Mt. Everest and the number of times they’ve seen Tori Amos and/or Phish in concert. Counting the number of black friends is then clearly a divine imperative. The number of black friends white people possess also illustrates their comfort with black culture. Here’s a handy guide to the number system:
1—The white novice. This black friend is the gateway to helping white people understand gang signs and Vietnamese beauty supply stores. This black friend is probably the only black friend for many white people and when they all hang out (because white people hang out) they bring their “mutual” black friend with them.
2—The white black club-goer. Two black friends serve as bodyguards when white people go to black clubs to see how exactly one “pops, drops and locks” it.
3 -4—The white BET-er. See Justin Timberlake/ Robin Thicke/ Jon B for more information. For old school reference, see Michael McDonald.
5 and up—Impossible.