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Preview: Comments on stuff white people do: white quotation of the week (michelle t. johnson)

Comments on stuff white people do: white quotation of the week (michelle t. johnson)

Updated: 2018-02-17T00:35:41.664-08:00


I'm Michelle T. Johnson, the author of this book, ...


I'm Michelle T. Johnson, the author of this book, and I just came across this conversation! Very weird reading what people write about what you've written. lol.

I love the discussion but I had to chime in on two points.

One is, the book is written for blacks. They're the target audience. Now I say that not be exclusionary but just to point out the obvious since I don't think a lot of men would be arguing points on a blog regarding a book written by a woman for other women about pelvic cramps.

More importantly, everyone is missing the point if the only point taken away from the excerpt is that I'm saying that white people should understand black music and all other black cultural references. The POINT was that one of the reasons some blacks have an attitude at work (and there are other groups that have the same issue but as I said in the previous paragraph - look to the target audience of the book you're reading) is because of the assumption that white mainstream is THE mainstream. I think several of the posters did get that point but others seem to miss the point of an example. Instead of Jet or Luther Vandross or Aretha Franklin, I could have used the examples of Cornel West or the film "Mo' Better Blues" or the works of Gloria Naylor. The examples are not the point themselves, in other words.

I was explaining that those assumptions can be frustrating because even when it involves the tiniest, most insignicant, most mundane and downright stupid things, what you know or don't know can form the basis for how others view your judgment, intelligence, awareness, and all the other subjective factors that contribute to your success at work. Therefore, you "not caring" what your co-workers know or think of what you know is irrelevant to my point - which is that some black folks go to work with a terminal case of being pissed off because they are expected to know and care about all things white and judged if they don't.

"Working While Black" was published in 2004 and much of what I talked about in this excerpt was really underscored during this last Presidential campaign and then election where the "ways of black folk" were put on display in ways that probably caused many a frustrating and/or enlightening conversation in the workplace.

Okay, that was fun!!!!!!!!!!

There's a whole world outside of BET and Wendy Wil...


There's a whole world outside of BET and Wendy Williams, believe it or not.

Uuuhhhmmm BET does not represent black people, nor do black people use it as their sole source of information and entertainment.

Also note that the number of white people who come up to me to ask me how I feel about P. Diddy or 50 cent is annoying, as they probably know more about them than I do, as I don't enjoy P. Diddy's or 50 cents music. I know it is shocking, since all I am supposed to do as a black person is read Jet and watch BET.

As a white male, I read this post with interest, b...


As a white male, I read this post with interest, because it covers only part of the issue, in my opinion. I do know who all these people are and were, although I choose to ignore some on both the "black" and "white" lists because of my personal taste. However, I believe a person's cultural knowledge needs to be well-rounded, and I'd submit to you that someone stupid enough not to know of Aretha Franklin or Jet Magazine probably has no knowledge of Peggy Lee or knows that once upon a time people actually did read Playboy for the fiction and the articles (do you remember the heat Pres. Jimmy Carter took for his Playboy Interview?).

I strongly feel that nobody should be let off the hook on this issue. This nation's lack of cultural literacy and sensitivity across the entire spectrum of color, class, etc., is pitiful. I don't need to LIKE everything, but I think I should try to KNOW it, if only to get along better in the world at large.

MontiLee, you seem to go a little too far in your ...


MontiLee, you seem to go a little too far in your analysis, as in you are acting as if she said Black people should do what White people do. She didn't say White people should read Jet and that Black shouldn't read newspaper with Shakespeare in love. She's saying if White people don't know about Luther Vandross (Iconic figure in the Black -or at least in the R&B- culture), then White people shouldn't expect Black people to know about Gywneth Paltrow. She's not saying White people should know about Black icons and that Black shouldn't have to know about White icons.

MontiLee:Luther. Horizons.Shakespeare.Way to spell...


Way to spell, Girlfriend.

Demanding Whites to read Jet...There was no such d...


Demanding Whites to read Jet...

There was no such demand.

I know this TOO well.A while back, my coworkers an...


I know this TOO well.

A while back, my coworkers and I went out for lunch. Two of them are big-time film buffs. I mean, they collect DVDs and can recite lines from their favorite movies at the drop of a dime.

Aside from those two, my other 2 coworkers and I made up the other 3 at the lunch table. So those 2 were going on and on about some flick that I didn't know about. The male movie buff asks me "You don't know that movie?" I answer "No."

He goes on to ask me if I'd seen 3 other movies that he's watched and I said either "No" or "I've heard of it."

He looked perplexed. Then he asked me "So what do you watch? Soul Plane? *SMH*

I asked "What do you mean Soul Plane? Why are you asking me about that movie?"

"Cuz. I wanna know."

"Why are you making an insinuation about my taste? Why does it even bother you that I haven't seen the movies that you've watched? I haven't watched what you watched, therefore, I watch movies like Soul Plane? I happen to have an appreciation for films...You know what? I'm not explaining myself to you. This is ridiculous."

Then it got uncomfortable for a while before anyone broke the silence.

My male coworker exhibited a classic example of White arrogance. On steroids. Is getting to know someone on an individual basis so hard to do?

I expect very little from him. He revealed to me that his parents are bigots and took part in White (they're actually Italian) flight.


This comment has been removed by the author.

Yes, I've caught myself afterwards (as a white per...


Yes, I've caught myself afterwards (as a white person) doing this. It's easy to forget that my "mainstream" cultural awarenesses and preferences aren't shared by everyone. And that, as with minority versions of history, the mainstream story fits me fine in a way, in terms of race, but not other people. Thanks for the reminder.

Started out strong then went completely down hill....


Started out strong then went completely down hill. I don't care if my coworkers know the top ten artists in ____ music genre. As long as they don't judge me for not knowing their top ten. Now if they people I work with start trying to touch my skin or hair, or assume I only listen to rap THEN we might have a problem.