Appreciation for "the beautiful white dialect"

Discuss

68 Responses to “Appreciation for "the beautiful white dialect"”

  1. Grey Eyed Man of Destiny says:

    I don’t get it. Or at least I hope I don’t get it. I had an honest-to-goodness douche chill reading this.

    “Did you know they have twenty different words for “coffee” but no word for “self-aware?” is one of the worst jokes I’ve ever read or heard.

    • jere7my says:

      Imagine a well-meaning white person returning from a two-week trip to Africa, brimming with stories about how “exotic” and “close to nature” and “blessedly simple” the people s/he met were. Then do a flippy-flop.

      • Aloisius says:

        So imagine a person I’ve never met saying incredibly offensive culturally insensitive things?

        And that’s supposed to be what? Funny? Ironic?

        This site seems to be some kind of parody of a group of people I’ve never met, but the author seems to think is endemic enough to recognize. Maybe as a Jew from San Francisco, my social circle is lacking in jackasses or the culturally inept.

        • chaopoiesis says:

          It’s supposed to be satire, which is kind of a classic response to cultural oppression.  (File under goyim jokes.)

          For the record, Los Anthropolocos have the prior claim on the discovery in question.

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      The more I think about it the more apt the coffee and self- aware stuff becomes. The Western sense of individuality requires very little self-awareness and seems to be the antithesis of Eastern concepts of self-awareness. Where would capitalism be without our sense of individuality and coffee, without the coffee houses of seventeenth century London (or Starbucks now)? Maybe you were being sarcastic and I’m not paying attention?

      • Grey Eyed Man of Destiny says:

        Ok, yeah, I did get it.

        My point is, among others, that they used “self-aware” in the very sentence that explains that “self-aware” is not a word. That is not a good joke. Also, “cash” has romantic (white) roots. Further, the whole joke gets very confused between “english spoken by poor english speakers” (who are certainly not necessarily white…) and “the english language as an illogical and porous system,” which, of course, it is, but which arguably gives it its strength and subtlety. 

        • Wreckrob8 says:

          I was thinking cash the Chinese coin. Now I’ve googled it I find there is a different French root. Things start to make sense now.

        • jere7my says:

          “Self-aware” is a compound word, so it’s arguable whether English has “a word” for the concept. And while “cashier” does indeed come from Middle French “caisse”, money-box, “cash” in the sense of “coinage” may come from Sanskrit “karsa”, via a term for a Chinese copper coin.

          But I think you’re still missing the joke. This is written by an ersatz clueless foreigner, so errors and half-truths and misapprehensions are part of the funny. Eskimos don’t have fifty words for snow, either.

      • waetherman says:

        I’m certainly not self -aware until I’ve had my double espresso in the morning.

    • sarahnocal says:

       I don’t get it either, other than just more American self loathing

      • sarahnocal says:

         Oh, and introspective is a good word.

      • millie fink says:

         I don’t get it either, other than just more American self loathing

        The blog is put together by a non-white American about exotifying tendencies displayed by white Americans.

  2. digi_owl says:

    Ok i admit it, i do not get the joke at all.

  3. DewiMorgan says:

    If you don’t get it, then I guess you may not now what it’s spoofing?

    There are plenty of (pseudo)anthropological articles out there describing other cultures with basically these same phrases; the “eskimos have 20 words for snow” trope is applied to pretty much every culture, for example.

    The whole thing is doing that, describing white, western culture through the eyes of an anthropologist as bigoted as the white anthropologists that have used those same phrases about other cultures.

    Alternatively, RTFA, and click the “just so we’re clear” and “people who get it” links.

  4. millie fink says:

    Ha, well-played! 

    A lack of self-awareness in racial and cultural terms is indeed one of the hallmarks of so-called white people. As are their supposedly objective, benign approaches to and appropriations from other cultures.

    • EvilTerran says:

      Nice stereotyping.

      • millie fink says:

        Ah, I forgot, when I speak of common tendencies among “white people,” I must watch out for their fee fees by saying “There there, OF COURSE I don’t mean ALL white people. If it doesn’t apply to you, then bully for you, and for the people of color who end up having to deal with you.”

        Feel better now?

        • Jean Baptiste says:

           Your attitude is absolutely stunning.  Switch “white people” for “people of color” and “people of color” for “white people” in your post, and see how offensive and (seemingly?) hateful what you said is.  The fact that you think it’s perfectly fine to feel as you do is probably the saddest thing of all.

          • millie fink says:

            So you don’t think there are common tendencies among white people? 

            There certainly are among other people, and it’s not bigoted to say so if those tendencies really exist. Take, for instance, a common black male tendency to be especially wary of the police. Or, conversely, a common white tendency to be more trusting of the police. Or, to get back to the point, to perceive members of apparent non-white groups in exotifying ways.

            Yes, many white people also don’t trust the police, but if you don’t get what I’m saying, well, go read more of that wonderful tumblr.

            http://exoticwhitegirls.tumblr.com/archive 

            I don’t “hate” white people, not at all. I just wish more of them would get a clue.

        • Rip Rowan says:

          “Common tendencies among white people.”

        • Wreckrob8 says:

          Stereotypes are only useful when they are used to demonstrate that they don’t exist. Oh, well.

      • Wreckrob8 says:

        So stereotypes have no conceivable/conceptual use?

      • EH says:

        Stereotyping is not done, it’s observed.

  5. mjed mazga says:

    I admit that I stopped caring about the quality of this alleged joke once the author said “less words.”  I’m not really sure what that is, but I wish I some one would explain it to me using as few words as possible.

    edit: increase difficulty by explaining it in “as little words” or “as much words” as possible.

    • neurogami says:

      First rule of language jokes: know your own language.

    • Marja Erwin says:

      “Less” is good English, and most likely good Frysk.

      English-speakers have been using less in this sense for more than a thousand years. Prescriptivists have been interfering for less than two hundred and fifty.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fewer_vs._less

      http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2819

    • giantasterisk says:

      Is this really so complicated? It’s parody. Have you never spoken with a privileged, but none-the-less ignorant white person recount their trip to some “exotic” country (read: prominently non-white)? Despite their clear ignorance of nearly anything outside their own culture, such a person will often feel so superior to the “primitive” culture they visit that they feel imminently qualified to speak about its people’s habits, language, etc. Such people seem to believe that whites are the de facto anthropologists of the world, and everyone else is from a sub-culture that can only truly be understood through the white lens.

      • jere7my says:

        Egg-zactly. It’s not a joke about how silly or quaint the English language is; it’s a joke about people who go to other countries and come back saying how silly and quaint their languages are. The accuracy of the commentary is beside the point.

  6. What does “white” mean? It seems that the intended meaning is actually “ethnocentric idiot” which is really unfair and perpetuates negativity. I have heard similarly stupid observations made by people of many ethnic backgrounds about cultures they have “discovered”. The entire “joke” seems really outdated and mis-informed. It’s also not irony.

    • millie fink says:

      Outdated? Not at ALL. Behold, Meghan Lochte.

      http://exoticwhitegirls.tumblr.com/post/30122028914/hippie-logic-so-for-all-the-people-who 

      Warning: autoplay

    • GlyphGryph says:

      This is pretty clearly irony employed as satire. From your questions, I understand why you wouldn’t think so, though – irony involves undercurrents, and you seem to have missed the intended message. Somehow. It’s not like it’s terribly deep irony…

      The phrase is not genuine, and has a meaning removed from that taken at face value.”White” doesn’t mean anything here, not truly – it’s a tool to guide thought in a certain way, to encompass the target audience in mirrored language that reflects on themselves. Treating all “whites” as White is sort of central to that effect, since it’s a commentary on those who treat other skin colors as a monoculture of some sort, and the building and unfounded expansion and communication of stereotypes due to a lack of real understanding.

      What, exactly, is “misinformed” about the joke, btw?

  7. semiotix says:

    Look, can we talk about the wholesale appropriation of white culture by commercially motivated nonwhite performers who don’t really appreciate the meaning of the art they’re stealing? 

    I mean, let’s say you’re a big fan of Kanye West. Okay, that’s fine. But if you don’t know that he stole all his best stuff from Pat Boone and Conway Twitty, then you’re just conveniently writing white people out of your history. 

    Again.

  8. Wordguy says:

    From Les Boingaires Exotiques, “…They have twenty different ways to explain jokes to trolls…”

  9. Pope Ratzo says:

    I just came back from a week in Wisconsin, which is the deepest, lightest of the white homelands. 

    Wife and I were in a restaurant where they serve fried potatoes covered in melted (white) cheese and they give you a little white paper cup of mayonnaise in which to dip them.  I am not joking.

    It was scary at first, but after a while, you start to realize that they really are just like you and me.  It is the traits we share with these white natives that are important, not our differences.  And some of their food is quite nutritious, once you get past the complete lack of flavor.

    • pharmavixen says:

      If you should find yourself in Wisconsin again, for a truly authentic white experience, I suggest you try the deep-fried mac and cheese. A word of caution:  you’d best share one order with others and not eat the whole thing yourself. I mean, they’re used to it because they grew up with it, but it might be too much for you.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      The lives of folks in traditional suburban Massachusetts settlements is simple and charming.  Every day they take their motorized carts to the market and return with fresh foods and delicious dishes prepared for them.  They eat together that evening in a ritual I’ve come to know and love as “tv time” where they gather around an electronic fire.

  10. Saltine says:

    This may blow my karma for the day, but I have a newborn keeping me awake all night, and I work at an HBCU , so my tolerance for those who are butt-hurt over a joke like this is about zero. If you seriously don’t get the (admittedly somewhat tiresome) humor of the piece, go read Wikipedia on white privilege . If you do get the point, and you just really don’t like the idea of people generalizing about “whiteness,” you can stress test your cardiovascular and digestive systems by Googling for “Stuff White People Like” for even more pointed and possibly tedious humor.

  11. Preston Sturges says:

    Stuff White People Like

    http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/ 

    • Anonymous says:

      I like the premise behind the linked blog but the execution is far from stellar. Basically, SWPL is the same “anthropological” joke done much better.

      • millie fink says:

        I’d say it’s similar in that SWPL is also an “anthropological” joke, but also that it differs in that the linked blog satirizes a tendency common among a far wider range of white people. SWPL more narrowly satirizes white hipsters.

        • Funk Daddy says:

          I listen to some seriously dated hip hop… I hope this doesn’t mean I’m a hipster.

          Egads! That same hope is a trademark affliction of hipsters! 

          I shall state Emphatically that I am not a hipster. ahem. I am not a hipster.

          Lemony Lime! They do that too!

          Fuck those guys

      • Preston Sturges says:

        I always liked this one:

        #116 Black Music that Black People Don’t Listen to Anymore

        ………if you are good at concealing laughter and contempt, you should ask a white person about “Real Hip Hop.”  They will quickly tell you about how they don’t listen to “Commercial Hip Hop” (aka music that black people actually enjoy), and that they much prefer “Classic Hip Hop.”
        “I don’t listen to that commercial stuff. I’m more into the Real Hip Hop, you know?  KRS One, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, De La Soul, Wu Tang, you know, The Old School.”
        Calling this style of music ‘old school’ is considered an especially apt name since the majority of people who listen to it did so while attending old schools such as Dartmouth, Bard, and Williams College.

    • GoatLordMessiah says:

       I’ve never understood SWPL, If it had been stuff hipsters like, It would make more sense to me, but would kill the joke, I guess.

  12. Julie Mango says:

    Many (white) people here seem justifiably upset about the crass stereotyping taking place at ExoticWhiteGirls. I sympathize, though as a person of color I can only imagine what it must feel like to be objected to such hateful generalizations. Here, this will make you feel better:  http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com

  13. Wreckrob8 says:

    I don’t know. Language is necessarily denotative and connotative and coded and cannot avoid stereotyping. The more blatant and egregious the stereotyping the more obvious that should become. Whole areas of discourse then become meaningful only on account of their lack of content. I fink.

  14. Navin_Johnson says:

    There there….

  15. Just_Ok says:

    Ageist much?

  16. Funk Daddy says:

    Butthurt or butt-hurt is totally legit on the interwebs, even in high falutin boingboing discussions. It means “something we all get sometimes, but right now it’s you and not me” Like a splinter, or stubbing your toe, if you make a big deal of it people snicker and point

  17. EvilTerran says:

    Come now, Navin. We fall on the same side of pathetic internet arguments in BB comment threads often enough, I’d have hoped to have earned more a contentful response than that in your eyes.

  18. millie fink says:

    Nah. It just makes you a person who still doesn’t get it.

    And “hateful”? Towards what, do you suppose? 

    It’s not hateful towards white people, and certainly not towards all white people. I’d say it’s an expression by a non-white person of being fed up with something that a lot of white people do, and that something is exoticizing people of color. If you can’t see how very common that is, let alone what kind of problem it is, then you’re just not paying the right kind of attention yet.

  19. EvilTerran says:

    Ok, ok, you got me there. Believe it or not, I did consider that before hitting the submit button, I just couldn’t think of a better way of expressing what I meant at the time. Bad form, I know.

  20. Jean Baptiste says:

     I definitely get it.  I just don’t want it.  You and I disagree.  Let’s leave it at that.

  21. Navin_Johnson says:

    You see, Saltine pretty much nailed my opinion on it.  Some of the entries were pretty funny, others pretty hamfisted, but in general not worth getting upset about.  I too was going to use the word “butthurt” as well :(

Leave a Reply