Friday, September 19, 2008

start conversations

So it turns out that on this blog called "Stuff White People Do," I'm the one pointing out most of the stuff that I've often seen or heard white people do. That's my fault, and it doesn't have to be that way.

You can describe stuff white people do here too, whether or not you're white.

So how about we try this in an Open Thread in the Comments--what have you seen white people repeatedly do, or say, or eat, or drink, or ? Don't hold back now. . .

Any other white topics are welcome in this Open Thread too.

How's this for starters--"white people often buy pets to keep their kids occupied." Is that a "white thing"?


  1. I know a lot of white people who try to keep their kids occupied with animals. Which can be sad if the animal is a substitute for parents. I don't know if that's an especially white thing. I'm white, and I'm embarrassed to remember some times when I was mean to our dog.

    Here's something I've seen white people do many times: repeat ideas that people of color bring up in meetings, as if the ideas are their own. Men do that to women too. Trouble is, they're not quite listening the first time around, but maybe the idea gets in their head, and then they when they repeat it, they think it's their own idea.

  2. macon,
    you've sort of covered it all...

    but i'm with runaway. i've seen that happen in too many meetings (especially to women of color. double whammy of idea theft.)

  3. Thanks runawayfred, I've seen that happen too. What a neat trick! Grabbing credit like that for someone else's ideas.

    Ding, I KNOW I haven't covered them all--my work here may never be done!

    By the way, something else that white people do is, they come up with labels for groups of themselves that don't acknowledge the fact that the groups they're labeling are pretty much completely white. (Another neat trick!) I mention this common white tendency because Zora, Chauncey, and Gordon are asking for your help with a list of this sort, "Euphemisms for Naming White Folk." Go on over and help out some respectable negroes, won't you?

  4. perhaps I am the only one, I don't have flat rate and can't download and watch all of the videos you post on your blog. Scripts were nice;-)

  5. Ok, that video was disturbing. The poor cat!

    One thing white people do is think that everything is disposable especially if it does not meet their needs or match their decor or has become too much trouble.

    This is particularly true with animals. White people get rid of their animals at a truly alarming rate. Particularly once they age, show any difficulties or become incontinent. I recently wrote a post about our group of rescued senior dogs and the consequences of people's this case, almost all were likely white.

  6. as an animal advocate, i must say that I feel very sorry for this kitty in the video. many families, regardless of race, buy animals for their children. Many times they are unaware of the time and responsibility that it. Unfortunately, many of these animals are giveun away to animal shelters and there is an overabundance of homeless pets. Get your pets spayed and neutered! Adopt shelter animals! And think of pets kind of like children, you have them for life.

  7. I don't think that European culture is the only one which mistreats animals but it's probably the only culture with a self-declared "animal protection agenda" and being more concerned about mistreatment of animals than human beings. But I think nonetheless that paternalism and the inability of animals to protect themselves plays an important role and in most cases not true 'love' and respect.

  8. That girl is way, way, way too young to have a pet. Children of her age, regardless of race, will unintentionally abuse an animal, especially one as young as that kitten is. Even if the animal were older, a very young child won't know the boundaries that she must respect in regard to an adult animal, and will taunt it. An adult animal that has been taunted, by any human of any age, will respond to that human by instinct, thus try to harm that human.

  9. macon,

    here goes... and forgive me as you may have covered this... just happens to be top of mind...

    White people, when presented with information on why something is white centric, racist, exclusionary, etc. by a person of color will expect the poc to defend their position. Rarely is the statement left to stand as valid because it is the poc's experience. If the defense is provided and resonates with the white person they will then expect the poc to further educate them on issues of systemic oppression and provide them with a solution for how to fix it. This behavior if often coupled with the white person suggesting that poc take leadership to fix it themselves if they are so upset about it. case in point...

    Thanks for asking.


  10. Emily,
    I add, don't get a pet in the first place! (Abstinence, of a sort).

  11. White people also buy pets as substitute children/infants to entertain themselves with.

    I worked for veterinarians for ten years and very rarely (if ever) did I hear a person of color call his/her dog "our baby" or "my child."

  12. Thank you Jodie, I've seen that happen too. Amazing, really, how white folks of that sort dump every bit of responsibility for what is, after all, a white problem, in the laps of POC. Being trained as white truly does strike me as a delusional state sometimes. Maybe ALL the time.

  13. in regards to the animal issue, white people give their pets 'exotic' names that make them sound like 'animals of color' -- ya know, like 'simba' or 'zulu' -- you think this links to the animalization of POC perpetuated in the MSM and elsewhere?


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