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18 July 2011, 9:00 am 6 Comments

Cynical And Southern: Hey Hipster: There’s More Than Just White Culture Out There

This post was submitted by Jeremy Gloff

If I’ve learned anything from hanging out with white hipsters over the last ten years it’s that culture is only culture if it’s created by white people.

Obviously I’m stretching and generalizing. But I hear it so often:
“This place has no culture”
“This place has no culture”
“This place has no culture”

It’s always the same kind of people that complain about a lack of culture. They are always white. Quite often they are “artists” in the most mediocre sense possible. Almost always they are unsupportive of their local scene, never contributing to it themselves. Quite often these kids talk about how they are going to move to New York City because “there’s more culture there”. Whiney white kids. I am only comfortable generalizing so much because I’ve had to struggle through this conversation at least fifty times.

I wonder if these kids are living in the same Tampa I’m living in.

I think about the quaint authentic Cuban sandwich shop down the street from my apartment. Until I moved to Florida I never knew just how good Cuban coffee is. I had trouble ordering at first because I don’t speak Spanish… but I’ve always felt welcomed. I love the beautiful Cuban art hanging on the walls. What a beautiful culture.

I think about all the wonderful Indian Hookah lounges within ten minutes of my home. The beautiful Indian woman behind the counter at my favorite one always makes me smile. What a beautiful culture.

I think about the Soul Food buffet less than five minutes from my front door. I never tasted chitlins and collard greens until I ate there. We have the same server every time and she always makes me smile and laugh. I love hearing stories about her family. What a beautiful culture.

I think about the underground rap scene in Tampa. I’ve seen a lot of vans with websites plastered across the back window. I always check out the websites and more often than not the music is great. What a beautiful culture.

And I could think of dozens of other examples of the wildly diverse melting pot that is Tampa, Florida. I’ve learned so much about, and experienced so many different cultures here. The statement that Tampa has no culture is inaccurate…in truth Tampa has dozens of varieties of culture.

So when the white hipster kid told me there was no culture in Tampa at first I was offended, and then I realized that to him, culture is only another white kid with a can of spray paint putting some bullshit on a wall and calling it art.

Maybe you don’t have to move to a different city to experience culture. Maybe you just have to move outside of your comfort zone.


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6 Comments »

  • Kyle said:

    “Let it begin!!!”

  • Andrew said:

    In my experience, things like ‘authentic Cuban sandwich shop[s]‘ and ‘Indian Hookah lounges’ are hipster catnip. I’m pretty sure ‘culture’ is used here as a synonym for ‘arts scene’, not as a reference to ethnic institutions, whether culinary or otherwise.

  • Levi said:

    Great…Now I’m hungry, Jeremy.

  • Megan C. said:

    I live in the Hillsborough area as well, and I freaking love this place. I feel extremely comfortable here because you really don’t have to fit into a mold, since everyone is doing their own thing.

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