I thought I’d do what I thought might be a “witty” take on Stuff White People Like and adapt it to what Pakistani Americans like. With the many caveats that are necessary – these are stereotypes, they are not universally applicable, they have a class bias (I don’t fit them either – well, okay, not ALL of them). They’re listed in a very Pakistani, very organic fashion – as in, in illogical sequence. Feel free to add more!
1. Cars – Hondas. Pakistanis have a deep loyalty to Japanese cars, and among those, to the Honda. We believe (it’s somewhere in the Pakistani creed) that Hondas never die, and that all other cars are mere cheap imitations of Japanese models.
2. Shopping – Retail. We dislike used goods. It’s low-class. Who would buy second-hand items to use? What are we, beggars? However, wealthy Pakistanis love to shop at Walmart too.
3. Clothing – Short-sleeved silk shalwar kameez outfits flapping in sub-zero temperature, combined with strappy high-heeled sandals and no stockings.
4. Careers – Medicine. Nothing else. All other careers are second to medicine. Service-oriented careers such as teaching are “admired” in other people’s kids. The humanities and arts are not careers: they are hobbies. For White people.
5. Homes – sprawling brand new detached house with attached bathrooms, in the suburbs. (Who would want to live in an apartment in the city? Pakistanis do not need street cred.) Townhouses and duplexes are technically not homes.
6. Number of children – 3-6 (and up).
7. Beverage – milky tea that’s been cooking for a half hour.
8. Dessert – the more ghee, sugar, cream and whole milk the better.
9. University of choice – Harvard. (Actually, the only currently existent university).
10. Hair dye color – dark brown streaked with dirty blond.
11. Make-up – more is more.
12. Jewelry – a) Diamonds b) gold. (Once these two ‘basics’ have been established, others such as emeralds, rubies, etc. may be added. Silver does not count).
13. Food – Meat. A lot. Vegetarian dishes are for poor folks.
14. Animal protein -(in order of preference) a) goat b) chicken c) mutton. (Beef is for poor folks too).
15. Choice of children’s school – private.
16. Choice of neighbors – White.
17. Choice of sons/daughters-in-law – tall, fair, educated Pakistanis. Intellectually bland is okay. Lower middle class is not.
18. Religiosity – just enough, not too much, not too little.
19. Home decoration – crystal ornaments and shiny majestic furniture.
20. TV – Geo and Zee.
21. Exercise – treadmill at home. Outdoors? Hiking? Who does that?
22. Politics – apathetically conservative.
23. Radio – What?
24. Pets – children.
25. Book preferences – gilt-bound religious volumes in living room. (Don’t worry, it’s not like we READ them).
26. Best friends – wealthy and influential. Gifted, religious, smart, intellectuals etc. are okay for big parties or to show off to others.
27. Time zone – Time does not exist. Space does. But time doesn’t. Come to my son’s wedding and you’ll find out.
28. Common environmentally friendly practices – Enviro-what?
29. Favorite health food – Food is healthy. “Health food” is redundant. (And greens are for rabbits).
30. Cultural pursuits – Didn’t we just mention Zeetv? What do you mean “the arts?”
31. Top topics of conversation – a) children’s career highlights b) bodily ailments.