Thursday, October 23, 2008

Music & Identity

A colleague of mine was telling me a few weeks back how her favorite music was country music. But she added that she didn't consider herself a country music fan because she wasn't "part of the culture."

I suspected at that time she was meant she wasn't of the racial & regional background of a stereotypical country music fan. She being an Asian chick who grew up an Oakland -- as opposed to a White guy/girl from Texas, or even Fresno.

My knee jerk reply to her was that I listened to Gangsta Rap, but I'm hardly a gangsta.

Thinking back about that discussion, it reminded me of how in high school & college we would all listen to music and wear certain types of clothes to blend into a particular clique. Or to flip it around, we'd start listening to certain types of music or wearing certain types of clothing, and the clique would find us.

Even as adults, we never completely escape those cultural identities shaped by our preferences in random things. It also made me think back to some of the stuff I had read on, and read about the Stuff that White People Like blog;

It's a funny blog, and all too accurate in its descriptions of a lot of people I come across living here in the Bay Area and parts of the Northeast.

But both that blog, and the brief discussion with my colleague, made me think about the way in which we unconsciously categorize people based on trivial things. What we see people eat, drink, wear, or like to do, might tell us something about the crew they run with.

But does it really tell us how they will treat us?

And isn't that the most important thing?

Maybe I'm just naive.

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