Sex & Love

StuffWhitePeopleLike.Com Explains The Intermarriage Rate

StuffWhitePeopleLike.com gets the Nerve treatment: I drink too much bottled water (#76). I wear overpriced vintage t-shirts (#84), loved studying abroad (#72) and stand completely still at concerts (#67). I'm a fan of Michel Gondry (#68), Apple products (#40) and … Read More

By / March 26, 2008

StuffWhitePeopleLike.com gets the Nerve treatment:

I drink too much bottled water (#76). I wear overpriced vintage t-shirts (#84), loved studying abroad (#72) and stand completely still at concerts (#67). I'm a fan of Michel Gondry (#68), Apple products (#40) and Stephen Colbert (#35). I've threatened to move to Canada on more than one occasion (#75). And I don't mind that StuffWhitePeopleLike.com — a blog that lampoons the over-educated yuppies and hipsters who populate the nation's trendy urban centers and mixed-use development zones — pinpoints me with such eerie accuracy, assessing my predilections like a gifted psychic reader. The site is a fairly amusing send-up of the slightly embarrassing, clearly predictable culture I'm a part of.

But the fact that it also describes virtually my entire dating history — that really unnerves me. When I moved to New York, I imagined my dating repertoire would reflect the diversity of a Barack Obama rally (#8). But this doesn't happen, or at least, it didn't for me. I ended up dating exactly the people StuffWhitePeopleLike.com depicts: other white people who'd come to New York lusting after authenticity, ponying up their ample disposable income to purchase something that feels like "the real thing." People like me who moved here to drink from some mystical font of urban cultural capital, then just kept on dating within the tight-jean pool.

This strikes me as incredibly central to all the hand-wringing about intermarriage. Because while the Jewish community at large is busy panicking about young Jews marrying out, the truth is that “out” is a lot more complicated than anyone is willing to admit, at least if you’re not going by strict Halachic law.

The most modern argument against intermarriage goes like this: “But honey, you’ll just be so much happier with someone who shares your culture.” Certainly this is a lot easier to digest than “But honey, God doesn’t like his people as much as He likes our people.” And in a less secular country, maybe it would make sense.

The truth is, though, that unless you’re fairly observant, “your culture” probably doesn’t have that much to do with your Judaism. In fact, for many Jews, “your culture” is just the culture of all privileged, college-educated creative types—the white people of StuffWhitePeopleLike. And if what you want is someone who shares your love of sushi, indie rock, and Michel Gondry, there’s no reason to hang out at Jewish singles events. All you really need to do is go stand in front of Whole Foods.