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HR’s Guide To White People

Dec 2

I had a conversation this past week with an author looking for a quote from me on some diversity topics, and since I’m in HR, well, of course I’m finely suited to talk diversity.  Here’s what I found funny, though, about the whole experience – I found myself thinking less about coming up with some profound wisdom to share with the masses, and more about making sure I don’t come across like some Grand Master of the KKK.  This is when it hit me – HR doesn’t get White People!  You know – guys like me – white – male – 40ish; I’m like a Purple Squirrel in HR!  I mean in HR we are all about diversity. Diversity is what we do, so we live it, we hire it, we are IT!

But, I get it.  I’m fine walking this lonely road within HR and being a white male.  It’s what HR is all about, right?  Diversity!  And what says Diversity more than a white male 40ish short dude, in HR – I know crazy right!?  It’s like your mom in IT pumping out JAVA code – it just doesn’t fit.  So, as usual, I’m here to help – so I give to you this holiday season my first gift:

HR’s Guide To White People:

1. Passive-Aggressive:  It’s critical that you understand that white people are passive-aggressive.  We like to get our way, but we don’t want to get our hands dirty.  We aren’t going to get up-all-in-your face, we will subtly torture you until you do it our way.

2. Throwing Ourselves On The Sword:  White people like to feel bad, we love tragedy – but in a good way – well the best way you can take a tragedy!  It makes us feel good inside knowing it’s going to be bad, and might get worse.  It allows us to complain and have lower expectations.

3. We Want To Be Hip:  White people desperately want to be hip, but we can’t figure out that whole – Nigga v. Nigger thing – so we give up – see points 1 and 2 above.  We listen to hip-hop and rap, but only by ourselves, and we label it “urban” on our iPod lists so not to offend.

4. We like to buy really expensive cheap crap if it helps animals or kids: Stop it, don’t judge – but I would definitely step over 3 homeless people to get a new pair of Tom’s! But not four homeless people, I have emotional limits, and short legs. Your welcome poor kid who just got a new pair of shoes – that makes me feel so good inside!

5.  Snow Sports: White people like snow sports. You don’t have to be real athletic, and you need a bunch of money to do it – so it fits us pretty well.  Stop having conventions in warm places – how about a freaking convention in Breckenridge or Vail every once in a while, you racist convention planners!

6. Management: White people don’t really like management – don’t get me wrong – we want to be management, just so we are clear.  We just don’t want somebody managing us.

7. Leadership: Yes, this is different than management. Let’s face it, white people love to cheer-lead and nothing says cheerleader, motivation and Tony Robbins like Leadership!  Give me a 6 set series of DVD’s and a book on tape and get out of my way!

8. Diversity: See no. 3, somehow we think that supporting diversity will get us a best friend who is black, Hispanic or Asian – thus make us so much more hipper than those white people who are to scared to speak to non-white people.

9. Awareness: White people love to be Aware!  Aware of your feelings, aware of the situation in north Africa, aware of just about anything – it makes us feel important.

10. Being An Expert on YOUR culture: Since white people aren’t completely thrilled about their own culture, we love being an expert about YOUR culture.  We will travel to your country, we will learn your language, we will take on your religion. It helps cleanse our soul for past digressions.

Bonus Guide to White People likes: Coffee, Organic Food, Gifted Children, Hating Their Parents, Wine, Microbrews, Farmer’s Markets, 80s Nights and Mos Def.

Use these insights wisely to create an environment your white people will feel comfortable and welcomed in.  Now I’m off to listen to PBS and drink an $8 bottle of water.


11 Comment to “HR’s Guide To White People”

  1. Not sure why this old article is surfacing for me, but here goes….The white guy who wrote this article likes to lack originality. Beyond your personal intro, your points have nothing to do with HR. Although I am compelled to comment, I am not excited to slam your ‘work, because I imagine that despite your poor judgement, you are likely a nice guy. However, as a white woman, I don’t appreciate perpetuating generalities about being white – especially in an article about HR where race is a real issue for many. It’s just a veiled form of racism.

    Stacy Busking-O'Malley
    Jul 27, 2013
    • Stacy this is article is addressing white racism that people of color all have to deal with in these predominantly white work spaces and even in minority-white work spaces. This isn’t racism. This is a real critique of white cultural behaviors and a great reference guide for it.

      May 16, 2019
  2. I resemble those remarks Tim…

    Nov 13, 2012
  3. LOL, I found this post to be so humorous, namely numbers 1 and 5. But true

    I’ve dated Black, Latino and most recently White guys, I am Black myself. I dated a White guy for 4 months, and it wasn’t until the 4th month I realized how passive aggressive this man really was. He bottled in 4 months of discontent with certain things only to release them in a form of text messages before finally giving me 2 weeks silent treatment. I broke the silence by sending him a long email telling him about himself. That got him speaking LOL.

    I like White guys, but if I keep running into the passive aggressive types, I may have to stop dating them. It’s like it’d be so much easier to just say how you feel right then and there rather than give fake smiles and pretend like everything is okay.

    That’s why I like Latino men, they don’t hold back from saying anything.

    Feb 2, 2012
  4. I feel whiter just reading this. Like, even my teeth are whiter now.

  5. If the while guys can hang around long enough and our numbers continue to diminish, we too can have hopes of being a minority ourselves. We will still be white guys though.

    You Tim are a troubled man, but I love reading your posts!

    Dec 2, 2011
  6. I would argue that Stuff White People Like is the story of being a hipster, not about being a white person. Even in the most hipster place outside of Brooklyn, most people in Portland aren’t like this.

    As far as the actual race/diversity argument, there are so many people beyond corporate board rooms and HR offices who don’t get it, I don’t see how there is any possibility of significant changes in business culture in the near term. Businesses lag when it comes to social change.

    Dec 2, 2011
  7. Mean-spirited and without purpose – unless it’s purpose is really just to point out how racist you truly are.

    Dec 2, 2011
  8. Tim, the whole world is white. Even in the poorest ghetto in America, it’s white. White rules apply. Everyone just responds in his/her own way.

    And it’s not even white. It’s rich-white. They make the rules. The 1% of the 1%.

    So it makes me laugh when we talk about diversity in HR because no board of directors gives two rips about diversity. Truly. If they did, they’d have more diversity on their own boards.

    “Here, Timmy. You’re in HR. You lead the diversity initiatives.”

    HR should grow a pair and say, “Hell. No. No more diversity talk, hypocrites, until you show me you mean it. And can we just get on to planning the company picnic, already? I want to play corn hole.”

    And one more thing — the fact that some white guy feels like a purple squirrel doesn’t bother me. HR doesn’t know what to do with white guys? Good. For once, you feel like everyone else. Cry me a river. Just don’t wear Toms, dude. That’s ridiculous. You look like a tweenage girl.

    Dec 2, 2011
  9. Couldn’t your list simply have been reduced to this:

    Dec 2, 2011

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