'Stuff White People Like' Hits a Nerve What do expensive sandwiches, co-ed sports, public radio and recycling have in common? According to blogger Christian Lander, they all fall under the category of "Stuff White People Like." Just over a month old, the controversial blog has almost 4 million hits.
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'Stuff White People Like' Hits a Nerve

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'Stuff White People Like' Hits a Nerve

'Stuff White People Like' Hits a Nerve

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If you like drinking coffee, you have an arts degree, if you like bicycles, gentrification, standing still at rock concerts and public radio, then, by one blogger's definition, you're white.

In Stuff White People Like, Christian Lander blogs about things that define or, some might say, stereotype white people. The project began as a way to poke fun at the assumptions we make about African-Americans or Jews or other minority groups. But since it started a little over a month ago, the blog has clearly hit a nerve. Almost 4 million hits later, the list of stuff white people like continues to grow.

So what do you think white people like, and do you wince to recognize yourself? Our phone number is 800-989-8255. E-mail: talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our blog at npr.org/blogofthenation.

Blogger Christian Lander joins us now from NPR West in Culver City, California.

Nice to have you on the program today.

Mr. CHRISTIAN LANDER (Blogger, Stuff White People Like): Thank you.

CONAN: And I did take note that you bicycled over to our bureau in Culver City, California. Doesn't that put you on this list?

Mr. LANDER: Absolutely. Almost everything I do is on this list. I think that's why people have responded to it because it will…

CONAN: Go ahead.

Mr. LANDER: …sorry. I was going to say I bike around Los Angeles a lot. And I thought if there was one place where I would find a bike rack, it would be NPR. And I wasn't disappointed.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Okay. So you hit two strikes against you - the bicycle and well, that public radio is one of the things that white people like, right?

Mr. LANDER: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I have many more strikes against me, believe me.

CONAN: In the meantime, we should point out for those who might be taking offense at this, you did start this out as satire.

Mr. LANDER: Oh, absolutely. It started with a friend of mine named Miles Valentine(ph) in Vancouver. We're just having an IM conversation, sort of joking around, talking about "The Wire" actually, the TV show on HBO, and just sort of throwing around ideas about what white people do. And we just started throwing around funny things like therapy, divorce and stuff like that. And I said, okay, we're going to do a blog about this. And we started it up, and did not expect it to get this big.

CONAN: I suspect that's true. I do note that things like a NASCAR and moonshine are not necessarily on this list either.

Mr. LANDER: Well, I don't think it takes too long from reading the blog to realize that we're definitely going after a very specific subset, dare I say, NPR's target audience perhaps. And I think you can sort of figure out what types of things we're putting to add on here. I think that the NASCAR sort of, for lack of a better word, white-trash version has been sort of played to death already.

CONAN: So you're going after the, well, the soccer mom circuit, if you will?

Mr. LANDER: Um, perhaps. Let's just say the Park Slope parent a little more than the soccer mom.

CONAN: Ah, so if you're wearing Birkenstock so you could find yourself on this list?

Mr. LANDER: Absolutely. It wouldn't take too long for you to relate to a few postings.

CONAN: We're talking with Christian Lander, a blogger and creator of Stuff White People Like.

And what's been the response to your blog? I mean, I assume that some people found it difficult to take seriously at first.

Mr. LANDER: Absolutely. The great thing about blogs and the whole Internet thing is that the comments section of the site. For every post, readers are allowed to comment in. And I think that that gives you a really good idea about the cross-sections of reactions. Most of the time that people being parodied - obviously, people like myself - get the joke and find the satire and find the humor and enjoy it.

But there is a strong reaction the other way people who get really, really offended at it and leave really angry posts about how the site is racist and how awful I am as a person. They also like to say I'm not funny, if I could add that in there as well.

CONAN: Let's see if we can get some listeners in on the conversation. 800-989-8255, e-mail: talk@npr.org.

What about stuff that white people like?

Let's talk with Zach(ph), Zach is with us from Iowa City.

ZACH (Caller): Hi.

CONAN: Hi, Zach.

ZACH: I think I tend to think of environmentalism and sustainability and sort of outdoor stuff like mushroom hunting and fishing and bow-hunting as sort of a white domain.

CONAN: Christian Lander, might any of those find their way onto your list?

Mr. LANDER: Mushroom hunting is fantastic. I think that one definitely needs to be on there. I hadn't even thought about that. But I think someone told me story - a friend of my in Tuscan told me a story about mushroom hunters saying that there are bold mushroom hunters and there are old mushroom hunters but there are no bold old mushroom hunters.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ZACH: What was that, gold and old?

Mr. LANDER: Bold.

CONAN: Bold. B as in boy.

ZACH: Okay.

Mr. LANDER: Willing to take a risk on the mushrooms they find in the ground.

ZACH: Oh, I see. Got it, got it, yeah.

CONAN: But in terms of environmentalism, if they're wearing their Birkenstocks and also know the size of their carbon footprint.

Mr. LANDER: Oh, absolutely. I think that we don't want - the blog is not going for environmentalism a whole because there's so many ways to break it up and so many specific aspects that can pointed out. But it's definitely a recurring theme.

CONAN: Zach, thanks very much for the call.

Let's turn now to Joe(ph) and Joe's with us from Oswego in New York.

JOE (Caller): Hey, how are you?

CONAN: Well. Thank you.

JOE: Yeah. I guess another thing that white people do are I guess the cracker, you could say. Crackers are the only that are eaten in mayonnaise.

Mr. LANDER: You know, I will say that I get this comment more than anything else. People write into this site and say you have to add mayonnaise, you have to add mayonnaise. And it made me realize that the movie "Undercover Brother" might have been the most seen film of all time judging by the number of responses I get asking me to add mayonnaise to it.

CONAN: You might want to add make their own mayonnaise.

Mr. LANDER: Along with peanut butter, absolutely. That's definitely a next level. That's advanced behavior.

CONAN: Joe, thanks very much for the call.

JOE: All right. Thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye.

Let's turn now to Ambrea(ph), Ambrea with us from Melville in Illinois.

AMBREA (Caller): Hi, thanks for taking my call.

CONAN: Go ahead, please.

AMBREA: What I wanted to say, maybe take a little - different stance one on it. I'm an educator, and as educator I have taken social justice classes. And I've learned that through those classes, you know, it's something that white people don't think about but white privilege, and it makes it a position where we don't really think about the things we do. And although others may notice, it makes it easy for us to scrutinize others and not so much ourselves. And so I think it's just hilarious. I think it's a wonderful idea. And I wonder has the - a lot of the attention, a lot of the hits and negative or positive comments?

Mr. LANDER: I would say - thank you writing. I mean, that's definitely a subset theme of the entire blog is the sort of poke fun at white privileges, sort of recognize that it's still there no matter how left wing you are or how much money you spend to help the environment. You know, the privilege is still there. And the response, overall, I'd say the anger is outweighed by the positive at a ratio of, I don't know, 30- or 40-to-1, which is really a great thing.

AMBREA: That is great, that is great. Okay, thank you.

CONAN: Ambrea…

Mr. LANDER: Thank you.

CONAN: …thanks very much for the phone call.

Let's go now to Dana(ph), Dana's calling us from Charlotte in North Carolina.

DANA (Caller): Hi. So, I've been to the blog, and I was sort of shocked and horrified to recognize myself in just about everyone of the post.

Mr. LANDER: That's all right.

CONAN: And what in particular do you think, Dana?

DANA: So, for example I'm an art major - I think one of them was loving to travel, and I'm planning this big long road trip with my boyfriend for spring break. One of them was drinking coffee, and I go to a Starbucks just about every week. I mean, really everything on the list apply to me, so I guess I'm pretty white.

Mr. LANDER: They apply to me too, so don't feel so bad.

DANA: All right. I guess I really am the fan base that you're trying to discuss.

Mr. LANDER: Yeah.

CONAN: Dana, thanks very much for the call and for recognizing yourself on the list.

DANA: All right. Thanks very much.

CONAN: Bye-bye.

DANA: Bye.

CONAN: This we have from Francesca(ph). Please don't forget about crepes, hockey and PEZ dispensers. I'm all about the PEZ dispensers. I think the plug is hilarious.

PEZ dispensers?

Mr. LANDER: PEZ dispensers, that's a good one. Hockey, I'm a Canadian so posting that one up is going to have to be handled delicately.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Well, anyway, shooting harp seal babies in a barrel, maybe?

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Here's another e-mail we got from Robert(ph) in Cincinnati. White people like to wear shorts in winter.

Mr. LANDER: Oh, this is a post. I got a lot - I've actually got a lot of request for this post. And I have a, sort of, a story about this. Growing up -I grew up in Toronto, and every year in the Northeast, as I'm sure many people know, it gets kind of warm, like, there's that one warm day in March or in April where it gets slightly above average. And there's always one guy who breaks our shorts as soon possible. And his dedication to wearing shorts spills over to into the very next day when it goes back before freezing, hoping somehow that the wearing of shorts can keep the warm weather going.

CONAN: I was in Madison, Wisconsin, as it happened over the weekend when the temperatures soared into the mid-30s, and, yes, indeed there were T-shirts and shorts.

Mr. LANDER: You know, by the hockey sacks…

CONAN: Yeah, exactly.

Mr. LANDER: …and ultimate Frisbees.

CONAN: Let's go to Steve(ph), Steve calling us from Livermore in California.

STEVE (Caller): Yeah. And I'm calling you from my BlackBerry, which must be on the list.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANDER: iPhone only at this point.

CONAN: iPhone only. Okay, so you're a little bit off the list at least at this moment, Steve.

STEVE: Oh, men.

Mr. LANDER: Well it's okay if you wish that you had an iPhone and you tell everyone that I have this BlackBerry but I really wish I had an iPhone.

STEVE: I'm compromised.

CONAN: Steve, thanks very much. Well, perhaps being in Livermore might be - that might qualify in and of itself.

STEVE: Yeah.

CONAN: There you go. Thank very much for the call.

Let's talk with Jennifer(ph), Jennifer with us from Oklahoma.

JENNIFER (Caller): Hey ther, I'm loving this conversation. I found out that I'm a Birkenstock-wearing, latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Tucson-baby because I support Barack Obama. Apparently, that's a white folk thing, too, so who knew.

Mr. LANDER: That's a pretty impressive list.

(Soundbite of laughter)

JENNIFER: There was a supporter of Hillary Clinton's surrogate on YouTube on February 20th, and boy he really ranted on it. And apparently all of us who've supported Senator Obama fit into your list there. But I think this is a great conversation. I love poking fun at ourselves.

CONAN: Jennifer.

Mr. LANDER: He's post number eight on the site.

CONAN: Post number eight. In early.

JENNIFER: Fantastic.

CONAN: Earlier than early

Mr. LANDER: He was in early. There's no brainer on that one.

JENNIFER: Really? It's awesome. Thanks a lot.

CONAN: Thanks very much, Jennifer.

Here's read science fiction - not exclusively. This is from Margaret(ph) who's e-mailing us. Not exclusively, she says, I know a few fans who are not Euro-Americans, but not very many science fiction on the list?

Mr. LANDER: I think we could possibly switch that to writing science fiction or writing unpublished science fiction novels.

CONAN: Let's get Drew(ph) on the air. Drew is calling from Kansas City in Missouri.

DREW (Caller): Hey.

CONAN: Go ahead, please.

DREW: I was going to say, if you have a Precious Moments figurine in your possession, you're most likely white.

Mr. LANDER: I visited - I actually went - when my wife and I were driving across the country, we stopped at the factory and it was frightening. I think I had nightmares for a week after being there.

DREW: We actually have a museum here in Missouri.

Mr. LANDER: Yeah, that's where we were. And it was kind of scary.

CONAN: Drew, do you have one?

DREW: No, I don't, but people in my family do.

CONAN: All right, Drew. thanks very much for the call.

DREW: Thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye.

Let's go now to Richard(ph), Richard is with us from Ohio.

RICHARD (Caller): Hi, how are you guys doing? Thanks for taking my call.

CONAN: Go ahead.

RICHARD: I'm a 48-year-old black guy but I've listened to this conversation. And I've listened to NPR for over 20 years, I drink coffee everyday, I did 10 years in the Navy so I could travel. So I've got to check this blog as to that I can see just, maybe I was born in the wrong section.

CONAN: I'm sure you've gotten comments like this, Christian Lander, from people who said I may not be white but I'm on the list.

Mr. LANDER: Oh, yeah, absolutely. A lot of people write in and they can sort - they can laugh - definitely good sense of humor to laugh at the behavior and sort of like recognized it.

RICHARD: And I'm a 40-year NASCAR fan.


CONAN: Well, you're going to find yourself on both lists next time.

Mr. LANDER: They started to the next level.

CONAN: Thanks for the call, Richard.

RICHARD: Have a good day.

CONAN: And let's see if we can go for Lindy(ph), and Lindy is with us from Grand Rapids in Michigan.

LINDY (Caller): Hi, how are you doing?

CONAN: Go ahead, please.

LINDY: I was just going to see if anyone had actually mentioned the whole concept of blogging, yet?

Mr. LANDER: That's actually going to be filed under a future post called self-importance.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LINDY: Because as far as I know, everyone that blogged has got to be white, it's totally a white person thing.

CONAN: There are some who aren't, but I think the vast majority you may be right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Thanks very…

LINDY: Well, that's it.

CONAN: Thanks very much for the call, Lindy.

LINDY: Oh, no problem.

CONAN: And you mentioned self-importance on the next - as one of the upcoming blog post. Can you give us a hint of anything else, do you think, Christian?

Mr. LANDER: Other future - upcoming?

CONAN: Yeah.

Mr. LANDER: One of the one's that I'm working right now is water in bottles. It's important that I don't say bottled water because obviously from the thing in New York last year where they're taking a step away from all the waste-generated by the plastic bottles.


Mr. LANDER: And then, recently they came out with the Nalgene bottles, you know, the camping ones were shown to leak toxins into the water. So now, to really get into the advanced white-person-water-in-bottles activity, you need one of those tin bottles with the twist top.

CONAN: Christian Lander is a blogger and founder of Stuff White People Like. He joined us from our NPR studios in Culver City, California. You can find a link to his blog at our blog at npr.org/blogofthenation.

Thanks very much for your time today.

Mr. LANDER: Thank you for bringing me on.


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