Please don’t be offended by the title. This post is not meant to be racist or offensive in any manner. I wanted to write about White People Problems because I have heard this phrase many times over the last year, mostly from my own kids, and it has even been uttered by myself a time or two.
Before starting this post, I googled “White People Problems” and found that the top result is a WordPress powered site which gives samples of white people problems. The second result is the Urban Dictionary definition of white people problems. And the third is probably the source from which my kids acquired the phrase, a video clip of Louis C. K.
The WordPress site is a collection of 42 quotes and pictures of white people bemoaning their current dilemma from a “you too” text reply from a boyfriend to the girl’s text of “I love you” to a forlorn looking woman who has run out of wall space for her artwork. These samples seem a frivolous extreme to me, but when I think about the things going on in my kids’ lives to which they make the statement about having white people problems I realize that their current dilemmas probably look frivolous to many people who are out of work or working at jobs which come nowhere near providing enough food and shelter for their families.
Calling them “white people problems” in no way means that there are no serious problems facing any white people. There are plenty of white people who are out of jobs, who are homeless or who can’t make ends meet with their low paying jobs. It also doesn’t mean that white people are the only ones in our society who find themselves facing “white people problems.” There are people of color who have trouble deciding between a Lexus and a BMW or whether they should go eastward to the Bahamas or westward to Hawaii for this season’s getaway.
What I sort of like about the phrase is that it is a reminder to oneself (at least when my kids or I use it) to appreciate what we do have in our lives and the type of problems we face. When we state something is a white people problem, we are recognizing that we really don’t have it so bad after all if these are the hurdles we are up against. My kids did not grow up with silver spoons in their mouths. They did not receive a brand new car on their 16th birthday (when they had saved up $600, we matched that and they had to find a vehicle within that price range.) They didn’t get cell phones until they could pay that monthly bill. They had to get student loans to get their college degrees. As their parent, I feel like they have earned their white people problems. I only hope that they continue to be aware of how blessed they are to be in the situations they find themselves in.