Oh white people, with your Starbucks coffee, your “alternative” interests and your need to appear to be politically correct – there is something so satisfying about looking at (and making fun of) this newish stereotype.
Some of you might be thinking, “But white people have always been around!” True, but when we say “white people”, we think of a very specific stereotype in our heads, one that admittedly only some white people fall into. Hell, it’s not even just a subset of white people who fall into this category, it can be someone of any race that we now deem as “white-washed”. We all know the type: younger, liberal, middle class, western, and probably driving a small Japanese car. They’re so reliable, and they’re good on gas too.
These stereotypically white people are usually well-meaning, if a little ignorant about the realities outside of their suburban life. They are primarily interested in social activism and the internet, sometimes both of these at the same time. But like all of us, they have their idols too, so when they aren’t stopping Kony with Facebook Likes or protesting on Wall Street, white people have a few people they love to follow and adore.
This list will look at the heroes of white people, heroes who appeal to their need to be totally cool with other races while still being “alternative” enough to be outside the “mainstream” image of what it is to be popular among today’s celebrities.
I should probably be clear up front that this list is meant to be for fun. So if you’re white (or any race for that matter) please don’t take offence – though if you find yourself nodding along while thinking “wow this is totally me,” then you might be a walking, talking stereotype. You have been warned.
Not only is she possibly the least threatening looking person on the planet, Betty White may also be the coolest old person ever. From her hilarious skits on Saturday Night Live (the old stuff was way better) to her show Hot in Cleveland, she is the Grandma that every white person wishes they had.
Although she doesn’t win any points for social activism, Betty White’s willingness to do comedy involving more risqué humour proves she isn’t hampered by any traditional view of what a senior should act like. She’s not grouchy, or conservative, or worried about those meddlesome immigrants. She is a kindred spirit, an older person who white people aspire to be one day.
The Duchess of Cambridge herself, Kate Middleton is the biggest royal celebrity since Lady Di. America may no longer be under the monarchy, but the love white people have for the royal family is surprisingly strong.
One only needs to have paid any attention during Kate’s wedding to William to see just how true this is. Kate also has her “humble” roots and good looks to help endear her to her fans. In fact, she’s not a celebrity, she’s a real life Disney princess, and if that isn’t popular with white people, then I don’t know what is.
Known in America as an actor, martial arts expert, and token Asian guy, Jackie Chan has been loved by white audiences for decades. One of the only Asian leading men in Hollywood, Jackie Chan walks that fine line between being western enough to appeal to white audiences while still retaining enough of his Asian je ne sais quoi to make him foreign and exciting.
From his accent to his fun martial arts stunts, Jackie Chan helps white audiences forget that 89% of lead roles in movies go to white people. A sad statistic for sure, but it’s nothing that a prolonged action sequence with three bad guys, Jackie and plenty of environmental pieces for him to play with won’t fix.
If Betty White is the Grandma you wished you had, then Bill Murray is the cool uncle, the one who never married and that slipped you drinks behind your parents’ backs at family dinners. From 80s funny man in classics such as Caddy Shack, Ghostbusters, and Stripes; to serious dramatic front man in recent fair like Lost in Translation or Broken Flowers, Bill Murray has managed to stay relevant and cool, a tough sell in today’s Hollywood.
Known for his eccentric attitude, Murray plays by his own rules. He doesn’t even have a phone or agent – one must mail him scripts by post, and if that’s not cool, then nothing is. This “devil may care” appeal attracts white people who appreciate his comedy and moxie in equal amounts.
Bill Nye “The Science Guy” is both a staple in Grade 10 Science classrooms and an irreplaceable figure in white people’s hearts. Between him and Neil deGrasse Tyson, it seems that they are single-handedly leading the charge on all scientific debates of the time from climate change to evolution.
Nye has rode a resurge in popularity as he has become a champion of liberal beliefs in the scientific realm. This combined with his unapologetic signature bow tie and mad scientist hair, makes Bill Nye, and science, cool again.
A couple of years ago, President Obama would have been at the top of this list, yet it is undoubtedly clear he remains popular among white people. As the first (sort of) black President, Obama represents the changing attitudes towards race in America.
Whether that is true is arguable. Further, recent problems with drone strikes, Veteran Affairs, and Guantanamo Bay, have all hurt Obama’s popularity. But we still can’t forget that the man was practically handed a Noble Peace Prize. Can that mean anything other than love?
Robert Downey Jr.
Bill Murray may be old school cool, but for this generation no one really defines cool like Robert Downey Jr. The star of Iron Man, and arguably the star of the Avengers, R.D.J. now sits atop two of Hollywood’s biggest franchises.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why R.D.J. is so liked by white people. Perhaps, it’s his comeback nature from drug addiction. More likely, it is oh so cool attitude, that potent mixture of scoundrel and style that makes white people wish they were him.
Ellen Degeneres, this generation’s Oprah, the bubbly, smart comedian who became known through her wildly popular talk show, her role as Dory in Finding Nemo, and as as the host of several prominent award shows.
Ellen has several things going for her that have helped her win the hearts of self-congratulating white people; as a popular, funny, and successful lesbian, she represents an open America that white people wish was a reality. And she’s always dancing!
Morgan Freeman has made a career as one of the few non-white lead men in Hollywood. He is known for his very popular voice as well as many well received movies from both critics and the public.
Perhaps Freeman’s two most to-type castings were his stint as God in the Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty movies and his performance as Nelson Mandela. Freeman appeals to white audiences as both non-threatening and benevolent, but also as a dignified, wise elder.
Like Jackie Chan, Morgan Freeman is popular among white people not just because he is black, but also because he is able to appeal to white demographics as he walks the line between being ethnically distinct and still familiar enough to be popular.
Jennifer Lawrence is nothing short of irresistible for white people. A young female actress who is down to earth, funny, real, and not in rehab like some of her contemporaries who came from the Disney ecosystem. Lawrence regularly makes headlines for both her movies and her adorable antics, usually her off the cuff interviews or clumsy charm.
The picture of what white people wish every celebrity was like, Lawrence has become an idol among the celebrities of Hollywood. Sure, she’s still quite young, but there is no denying the love that white people have for Jennifer Lawrence.
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