Written as a guide for the non-White person to understand his /her White friends, Lander's description leaves no room for misinterpretation: if you want to be friends with this "type" of White person, there are some things you're going to have to understand about his/her culture. Lander himself is a "type" of White man from Canada and writes with the expertise of a cultural anthropologist and with a sharp sense of humor. This book enumerates 150 ways to be White in one's actions, thoughts, and desires. The listener is encouraged to silently compare his/herself to the common White person and at the end, evaluate how "White" he or she is according to his/her tastes or actions.
Christian Lander's book is as much about about social class and race as it is comical. The pithy title shouldn't scare anyone way; everyone should be intrigued. With tongue firmly pressed in cheek, Lander points out the things that "White people like" as a social critique because absolutely no one would want to be these White people as they are described. It's not that these things are bad to like, quite the opposite; most are quite good things. What Lander points out is that this "type" of White people (and he does use this word "type", but to talk about those who do not like this stuff) tend to be spoiled, upper-middle classes, educated, self-absorbed, self described intellectuals and one-upping hypocrites, whose charitable interests are all about impressing other people and not at all about doing good deeds for others selflessly. They buy their groceries at Whole Foods and drive Priuses and are apt to talk about saving the environment, being against racism, sexism, and all the other ills of societies, but exoticize everything (historically ancient) Asian, South American, and African, and show no real concern for the workers being exploited by their favorite companies. That is, they basically have very little to do with the real world around them. This definitive guide will certainly remind you of some people you know and make you chuckle a bit, but surely, no one should see him/herself in this book. (In many ways, this book reminded me of the short-lived ABC animated program "The Goode Family".)
This is not a book for anyone who doesn't enjoy some humor based upon critical observations made by an insider; and it is certainly not for anyone who doesn't enjoy racial humor at least a little bit. If you are part of the demographic that Lander satirizes or you know people who may be, I highly recommend this book. It would make a great listen on a car trip with a few of your friends, especially if in an ethnically and/or economically diverse crowd. I can promise you, someone will discover they are 70% or more White, something s/he will deny emphatically.
This book is a good companion to the blog, but it really stands out because of the reader! Victor Bevine is the perfect voice for this droll subject and makes the pseudo-sociological study work really well in audio.
As a just left of center white person, I thought this would either be funny or have some insights about our culture. It is neither entertaining nor informative. For a truly engaging account of the people and culture Mr. Lander describes, read Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks instead. This "pseudo-documentary" style is meant to by satirical I assume, but is really just boring.
Also, the author neglects to include the enormous fraction of the white population who are not college-educated liberals in his characterizations.
The short-form nature of each entry in the book make this a great listen for those times you've got a short commute or just a few minutes to kill listening to something. This is a great audiobook to keep on your device for a long time and work through slowly.
I did enjoy this read although even at the end, having had a large percentage of matches to me, I was not sure if I was was entertained or should be offended. Some of it just doesn't match any white person I have ever known, and a lot of it matches more than I care to admit.
All in all a worthy read.
And it's also read very well.
I loved this--loved its ironically anthropological take on nice people like me! Perfect for when you don't feel like a serious read.
There were no characters- my fav. bit was when he talked about how white people have to have bottled water at meetings etc. and it has to be FIJI - mainly because i had just made a specific stop at the store to by FIJI water so i wouldn't look like an idiot drinking a coke at a meeting HAHAHA. Everytime I do something that was talked about in the book i die laughing-- and I do a lot of things in the book.
LAUGH the ENTIRE time.
Listen to it~
If you're looking for something to listen to during long trips, this may not be the audiobook for you. I thought after about #50 that the "things white people like" had gotten a bit predictable.
This may be a good one to listen to during a 30 minute commute to work.
Where did this guy do his research? The white people he describes refers to new age, pretentious, Californian vegan hippies.
There are a few kernels of truth in the extensive list of what white people supposedly like, but it was a lot less entertaining than I was anticipating.
I think the author sort of missed some key cliches as well.
In the book, Lander says that white people like a variety of teas (green, chai, black, etc.) but REALLY white people will have only one brand that they drink and will badmouth other brands. Lander says that white people like ethnic food, but REALLY white people like traditional meat and potatoes or whatever is local to their region.
Anyway, wasn't a fan... thought it described only the type of white person you'd see on the OC. Not me or anyone I know!