Less than a month ago, StuffWhitePeopleLike.wordpress.com debuted, declaring coffee the #1 thing adored by white people. According to the writer, "Yes, it’s true that asians like iced coffee and people of all races enjoy it. But I promise you that the first person at your school to drink coffee was a white person… They are also fond of saying ‘you do NOT want to see me before I get my morning coffee.’" Since that first hilarious post, the snarky little blog that could has been declared the hot new site by Men’s Health, Neatorama, Wired‘s blog, the Los Angeles Times… even Andrew Sullivan thinks it’s genius. In the following exclusive, Heeb picks the brain of Stuff White People Like creator (and white person) Christian Lander.
When and how did you get the idea for the site?
January 18th. A friend and I were having an IM conversation about The Wire. He said, "Not enough white people watch The Wire." I said, "Don’t worry, they do." We started talking about what they’re doing instead of watching The Wire: therapy, getting divorced, going to plays…
So the next logical thought was: I should get this down in a blog?
Yes. I said, "blog time" and started one. We really only thought our friends might read it, but it was funny to us.
When did you realize that it was getting a much bigger audience?
When we hit 1,000 hits a day for about three days in a row, I decided I was going to host it privately. That was about three weeks after starting the site. So I registered Stuff White Peoplelike.org and StuffWhitePeopleLike.com and put it on a private server. I guess that when you go to the regular URLs things blow up because it lasted only about six hours before the traffic shut down the servers. So we had to go back to WordPress with no ads, which was fine because it meant the site would stay up.
So you’re clearly not doing this for the money.
No, I mean, if you start a blog thinking, "This is my pay day," that’s not a sound business plan.
You update the site very regularly. Where do you get your ideas for new posts?
The site has been up for less than 60 days and it has 87 posts. I need to slow down a bit. It’s been a lot tougher lately since I’ve been kind of busy, but the ideas come from my own life—calling myself out on my ridiculous behavior. And then I get a lot of inspiration from my former classmates in graduate school.
Who qualifies as "white people" for the site? Upper middle-class minorities? Jews?
Well, putting a label on it takes away some of the fun, but it’s not hard to figure out who qualifies as "white people." Jews definitely qualify. I have a Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto shirt on in this picture [above] and a lot of people debated whether or not I was Jewish because of the shirt. But I’m not, I got it at a thrift store, of course. I guess that when people found out my name was Christian… probably not so Jewish.
When I first read the blog, I thought you were New York-based.
A lot of people say that. It’s a compliment.
Ha! What do you mean by that?
Well, I’m originally from Toronto and everyone in Toronto is obsessed with New York. It’s the biggest city in Canada and a lot of the rest of the country hates it, but Toronto doesn’t care. But we are desperate to be recognized as a real city by people from New York or London or Tokyo.
You live in L.A. now. How do you like it? I notice you didn’t mention L.A. in your list of "cities."
White people like to complain about Los Angeles. Every person here from New York takes about 30 seconds to tell you they are from New York. "Hi I’m Joe." "Oh hi, Joe. How are you?" "Well, I’m a New Yorker, so I’m doing pretty well in spite of the lack of pizza and bagels out here."
What about you, do you manage to slip in a Toronto reference?
Every now and then. I miss the street cars.
So what’s your "real" job out in L.A.?
I work here. The easiest way to describe what I do is, I’m a copywriter.
Have you gotten any negative reactions to Stuff White People Like?
Yes. Mostly it’s the same: "This is racist," or "If I did Stuff Black People Like, it would get a different reaction, and Al Sharpton would shut it down." Also every now and then I get, "Is this supposed to be funny? I can’t tell." That one shocks me the most. I’m not saying you have to think it’s funny, but if you can’t tell it’s at least trying.
Can you tell who’s saying those things? Are they annoyed that you hit too close to home?
I have no idea who the people are. It used to bug me, but if I waited a little bit, other readers of the site would leave perfect, well thought out responses. So it’s sort of self-regulating.
Well, you have loyal fans. Do you get a lot of fan mail?
Yes, it’s fantastic. The e-mail address is right there on the site and I read everything that comes in. It’s always great to get a short email that says, "Love your site, it makes me laugh."
Do you see Stuff White People Like in a category with any other blogs?
Ultimately, a blog is just someone writing and posting and hoping someone likes it. But I think it’s in line with the blogs that have single purposes like Passiveaggressivenotes, Fake Steve Jobs, Hot Chicks With Douchebags, etc. All of those are great concepts with great execution.
Do you maintain a personal blog—one more about what you’re up to rather than with a specific purpose?
I sometimes do updates on Facebook, that’s about as far as I’ll go. There’s a Stuff White People Like Facebook app coming out soon.
That’s sort of the perfect forum, because white people love Facebook. When’s it happening?
I’m just waiting on the developer to finish it up. He’s a guy who reached out through the site and said he wanted to build one. So we’re working on it together—well, he’s doing all the work.
But you’re the idea man. What do your parents think of it? Do they get it?
Yes. My sense of humor comes from my dad and he loves it.