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SWPLs & Eric Garner

A 'Stuff White People Like' reader has a spasm of class treason

A striking comment by reader Bobby, on the Eric Garner death:

I largely move among SWPLs (and probably even qualify as one). I do yoga, eat lots of kale, buy most of my meat and fish from Whole Foods, and get haircuts and massages twice a month at my local Aveda salon. But unlike most SWPLs, I didn’t grow up in some upscale manicured suburb. Instead, I grew up in a working-class town in rural northeast Indiana. Some of my closest high school friends have lives that differ markedly from mine.

We ask police officers to make split-second decisions in rapidly evolving situations–situations in which they could easily be injured or lose their lives. We SWPLs wouldn’t touch those kinds of jobs for anything. Heck, we last got a callous when we forgot to wear gloves to a spinning class. And, yes, we love the city. Oh, we love the city. That is, as long as those kids from blue-collar suburbs are here to keep it safe for us. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “Bucktown is just as safe as Naperville.” And why is that? It’s because some guy from Berwyn with a criminal justice degree is making sure that the crime that’s occurring 1 mile to your west stays 1 mile to your west. And we SWPLs throw a fit if that guy from Berwyn ever lets that crime seep into our ever-so-safe urban enclave.

But when that 5’10″, 170-pound kid from Berwyn is asked to handcuff a belligerent 6’3″, 300-pound man, we throw a fit because he *gasp* used something that looks like a choke hold. We watch the video of the event over and over again on our iPads from the locally owned coffee shop, where we safely sit and sip on our manual-pourover $6 cup of coffee made from unwashed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans grown by a fair-trade cooperative. And, as we analyze it, we pick apart everything that occurred in the 10-second clip. We feel outrage as we take another 40-cent sip, and then dash off to our morning yoga session with Pablo, the former professional soccer player from Costa Rica. Oops, we almost forgot our coconut water.

Strong stuff. What are SWPLs (pron. “swipples”)? They are the kind of white people satirized by the blog “Stuff White People Like”.

By the way, Bobby is gay. I suppose this will freak out Mark Joseph Stern, who will like come undone when he discovers that Bobby is empathetic toward the blue collar people with whom he grew up.



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