Monday, March 2, 2009

White People

Unlike the other shop, where second hand paperbacks and crumpled art books were piled up like sandbags against an attack from the outside world,this one invites in the gallery-crowd with its glass and warehouse space and blown-up photos of photogenic boy soldiers. I'm flicking through a Trade Paperback, calling out to Chris every few pages. He's hmmming and trying to concentrate on the trained child killers. I can see he's thinking: This is even worse than Wednesdays when she gets the new copy of Time Out.

But the thing is it's uncanny. I'm reading this book about 'What White People Like' and its like an inventory of our weekend. White people like dinner parties, brunch, Brooklyn, farmer's markets, co-ops, films with subtitles, book shops. What starts off being funny starts to get a little worrying as I read on, turning the pages in the desperate hope of finding something that doesn't fit. No such luck.

White people like cycling ("my commute is along the canal path"), The Wire ("so authentic") and Japan ("such a bizarre place, when you get below the surface.") They're into bread-making, having gay friends and gentrification ("we like to think of it as Meel Ende, not Mile End"). They hate republicans and guns, but love irony (and, if they're white people in their mid-twenties, will almost definitely have had a conversation about whether Alanis' examples are authentically ironic).

I close the book with a frown. It sucks being a racial stereotype.

Reaching into my bag I pull out the organic, fairly-traded artisan-crafted, sugar- and dairy-free chocolate I bought at the ironically titled Brooklyn Flea Market for seven bucks ("I always like supporting local food producers"). Now, that's better.

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