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Why Is It Okay To Make Fun Of White People?

Updated on April 8, 2014
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Ugly sweater parties, Ray-Ban Wayfarers, and appearing to enjoy Classical music. What do these three things have in common, you ask? Why, they're just a few things that white people like.

At least according to Stuff White People Like they are, a popular blog (really, really popular - the blog has 84,903,826 views as of this Hub's publication date) that seeks to "highlight and explain stuff white people like."

Admittedly, I got a huge kick out of the site. So much so I purchased the site creator's book, Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast, from Seattle's Sweaters to Maine's Microbrews. And yeah, I laughed at the book, too.

I showed the book and website to some white friends of mine (that phrase just made me cringe a little, by the way) and they laughed heartily. It made me wonder if I'd have the same reaction if presented with an entire website or book devoted to the "stuff black people like." Honestly, my reaction would depend on the ethnicity of the person who created the site.

But what about White People? Even if the site had been created by a non-white person, I believe it would be just as popular. So the original question remains, why is it OK to make fun of white people?

Comedians of all races apparently got the memo that white people are fair game. Listen to almost any routine and be treated to jokes about the speech patterns, behavior, dress of white people.

Perform a search for "making fun of white people" and you can browse over 133 million pages of content, with the first result being - you guessed it - Stuff White People Like.

Is this merely the way it is?

Is it that ridicule of the dominant cultural/ethnic group is accepted because it is perceived (and in many cases, factual) that the group is or was the purveyor of oppression of the minority groups with which it shares the land?

What do you think? Why is it OK to make fun of white people?

Are you offended by jokes about white people?

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    • profile image

      Skipadipbopwop 2 years ago

      Making fun of white people is fine.

      Making fun of any race of people is fine.

      As long as it's just jokes it's fine, anyone who gets offended takes themselves too seriously.

      Nobody on this planet is important enough to make me care if I offended them by a joke.

    • profile image

      Stevie Cenko 3 years ago

      Man, I never heard of this website before. I quickly scanned it and found "#128 Camping" to be hilarious. When I have more time, I'll read it some more. I'm basing my next statement on my reading "Camping". I think it's also a class issue, of who has the most money and all the stupid things they do with it. Thanks for introducing me to this website, Camille.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 3 years ago

      I'm not familiar with the website, but now I will check it out. I liked reading the comments until some people, bless their hearts, kept bringing up racism. Why? Why can’t we just have humor for humor’s sake. Does it always have to get personal? I do agree with the person who asked why can’t white’s have an identity, too, though? My family is mixed Native American and white, but we are classified as “white”.

      I think there are probably more white jokes than black for instance, Polish, Jewish, Texan, Southern, Brooklyn, Cajun just to name a few. Then you’ve got the religious jokes, Pentecost, Baptist, and Catholic are very common, but has anyone ever heard a Morman joke? I think all jokes are funny unless they are sadistic or demeaning. Just remember, you have been recognized as a contemporary group when people joke about you. Has anyone heard a good Phagmodru joke lately? Great hub. Voted up.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      "I want to live as a black man because I feel like I can protect white people better with a black face."

      When White entertainers were poking fun of Blacks in blackface, did they help Whites in the process? I am just wondering if blackfacing helped.

      Just the other day three White teens were poking fun at a Black guy who was at work at McDonald's. They laughed aloud at his low-paying job. The guy was so upset that he walked outside. Black people need protection, too. All Whites are not innocent by a long haul. All people need protection from ugliness in every race.

      So, Brian, you think living as a Black man would help you. Hmmnn. Well, there is a growing number of mixed blood children popping up that you may be getting your wish already. Give it a few more decades, and you'll be seeing many more permanent blackfaces/mixed faces. I do not know if this helps, but it is something to look forward to.

      Oh, I hear as many White jokes as Black, and most of them are hilarious. What's wrong with a little humor?

      Stay well.

    • profile image

      brian 4 years ago

      I agree with b dawg. I think the white community needs a black mouthpiece. A black person can call out black people on issues without dealing with racial politics. Bill Cosby is a good example. A black faced lawyer could better defend a white person accused of racism against black people. A black faced white man could help a white politician get more black votes.

      I want to live as a black man because I feel like I can protect white people better with a black face. Also the media always portrays the white man as weak and the black man as strong. I love my white people but I know I could help them better blackfaced. Please give me your response.

    • samowhamo profile image

      samowhamo 4 years ago

      @B-Dawg

      I find your comment kind of racist how would you feel if someone said yo should dye your skin some other color I like my skin the way it is.

    • profile image

      B-Dawg 4 years ago

      If the white man was smart he would dye his skin black and live as a black man. Black skin would be a shield for the white man. Nobody would mess with the white man.Peace.

    • profile image

      danielabram 5 years ago

      Take it all with a sense of humor. That's what I say.

    • jacharless profile image

      Charles James 5 years ago from Between New York and London

      I dunno if it the SWPL or the SILPL {Stuff Ivy League People Like}. lol. Many friends of mine {mostly Brown-nosers} HAVE those sweaters, wool hats, loafers and such, retro from traditions in their respective schools. A modern twist are Birkenstock and board shorts. Same with the politicians haircuts, suits and more. I never really saw the cultural differences between these suggested/supposed skin-tones, regarding fashion and accessories. But, then again, I am strictly jeans and button-up oxfords or polo.

      The best we can do, as people, is drop any derogatory term -regardless of inner-racial or outer-racial usage- and appreciate humor. Anything more/less is really, really, really counter-human.

      James

    • Tara McNerney profile image

      Tara McNerney 5 years ago from Washington, DC

      I personally think white people jokes are quite funny. But...is that because white people enjoy so many more advantages and thus it doesn't hurt? It makes me think of my hub on Things People Say to Tall Girls (sorry for brining my own hub up) - people wouldn't think it was okay to publicly bring attention to the fact that you're tall unless it was considered a positive thing. Could subconsciously the same be true for white jokes?

    • profile image

      Justin 5 years ago

      I'm just sick and tired of people not allowing people with a lighter skin-tone to be allowed a cultural identity. It's just degrading, there are French, German, Jewish, British, and Irish American's to name a few and they are all grouped under "White" If we were to refer to a Chinese person for example as "Yellow" they would become rather offended because that seems to be a derogatory term, but it's okay to deny "Whites" their cultural identity. I understand that plenty of "White" people are perfectly fine to be grouped into the "White" or "Caucasian" classification (By the way, Caucasian people are from the Caucus Mountains in Eastern Europe/Asia only), but myself and plenty of others are a bit fed up. I am a second generation American, my family had no part in atrocities committed here on American soil. We didn't give Natives smallpox or enslave African's, so I'm kinda done with being grouped with a bunch of old bearded fascists. Anyway I digress, racism in any form is just lame.

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 5 years ago

      I don't like it when some whites make fun of whiteness. It's patronizing and it's like they are so are soooo superior they can make fun of themselves. If that makes any sense.

    • gredmondson profile image

      gredmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco, California

      Congratulations on creating such an interesting hub.

      I think it may be human nature to make fun of people outside of your group, whether it be marked by color or something else. What we have to remember is what has been said in some of the comments: not to go down a hateful, hurtful road. And, how much fun is it to read how someone else may find some humor in looking at me! By the way, I am pretty white, have never been to an ugly sweater party (and do not own one), can only guess what Ray-Ban Wayfarers are (expensive sunglasses?), but I do enjoy classical music (but not chamber music).

      George

    • shea duane profile image

      shea duane 6 years ago from new jersey

      I love this hub. I agree with livelonger: it's about who in our society is the target of racism. As a woman I'm sometimes offended by jokes about women... if they are mean. But some jokes about women are funny: What's the difference between a woman having her period and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist. This is funny because, in my opinion, it makes fun of women without belittling women. Jokes that belittle and remind women of ways they feel vulnerable are not funny. Jokes that involve men having sex and then 'getting rid' of the woman are not funny because women have been victims of crimes similar to this.

      Great hub. And white people often deserve it. (i'm white and i know i'm a dork sometimes).

    • profile image

      AEvans 6 years ago

      Sounds like a definite must read! Nothing offends me and I am white. I personally do not care for oddities of clothing, etc.; but they have been presented at one time or another. lolo! :D I enjoyed the hub and good for you for sharing it! :)

    • profile image

      Texasbeta 6 years ago

      We make fun of everyone. Everyone makes fun of everyone. Having a good sense of humor about being white or black or whatever is fun, its hilarious. I'll bet there is a hub just like that about black people or hispanics. There has to be. Would it really bother you if one was published about black people?

      Purple drink- ingredients - purple and water

      sagging pants with boxers hanging out

      those crazy ass hats old black women wear to church that looks like the top of an elaborately bad cake design

      how every old black man talks with rhythm- that's cool actually

      Black comedian suits are made for people without joints

      come on! These are hilarious. They seriously can't really bother you.

    • Camille Harris profile image
      Author

      Camille Harris 6 years ago from SF Bay Area

      Thanks for all the comments and insight. I find SWPL to be hilarious, but don't know how I'd react if someone published something similar RE black people.

      I think the best way to address racial issues is to tackle them head on, so thank you all for your very frank comments!

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I think the dividing line is that white people are generally not the targets of racism, so jokes about them don't have the "sting" that jokes about minorities have.

      When I was in Poland, I was asked by my students why Americans tell Polish jokes; they were offended by them. I had to think about it for a bit. I think the reason that Polish, Italian and Irish jokes are acceptable, while Black, gay, Jewish jokes are not, is because the former are not really targets of racism anymore. Maybe they were 100 years ago, but nowaday you're not going to have WASP parents who are devastated that their daughter is going to marry a Kowalski or O'Shaunessey. In Poland, though, they are aware of (very real) racism towards Polish people from Germans, so Polish jokes don't go over well.

      I suspect it's the same with "What White People Like" although in all fairness they're still talking about the WASPy kind.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      I think comedians make fun of everyone. I a okay with any joke as long as it doesn't make fun of cripples.

      Enjoyed the hub.

      JT

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 6 years ago from San Francisco

      White people just give comedians so much material! SWPL is hilarious. I do however, begin to feel really uncomfortable when the jokes come from a place of hate or dislike. I actually think it's more a reflexion and more damaging to the person talking than of the person or race they are talking about. Very interesting Hub! ;)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      SWPL cracks me up. Context does play an important role in all humor, but so long as a statement is not overtly hateful, or a sign of ignorance, dislike, or bigotry, it's fine by me. I think the best humor is delivered lovingly by someone who really understands the subject he/she is joking about. And maybe because the stuff white people like is so (sometimes inexplicably) loved and popular, it becomes an excellent and easy source of ridicule.

      But this sure is an interesting issue! Great Hub!