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  #1  
Old 04-22-2012, 05:33 AM
grude grude is offline
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Why do white people eat mayo sandwiches?

Whats the connection here in this phrase? I saw someone say a black guy should eat a mayo sandwich to turn white, in a sarcastic manner. I have seen this several places and it doesn't seem to make much sense unless it is the color white?
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  #2  
Old 04-22-2012, 05:45 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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Probably a reference to the movie Undercover Brother from 2002:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0279493/

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/an-EJK...ng_mayonnaise/
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  #3  
Old 04-22-2012, 05:53 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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It's been a stereotype at least as far back as the 60s.
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  #4  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:40 AM
orcenio orcenio is offline
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Saw this trope in "White and nerdy"
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  #5  
Old 04-22-2012, 07:01 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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The stereotype doesn't apply to all white people, just WASPs.
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  #6  
Old 04-22-2012, 07:12 AM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
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I suppose an annexure to the OP's question, if one might be permitted - is it actually a thing? As in, "Are there really significant numbers of white people who eat mayonnaise sandwiches?"

I've certainly never met anyone who does, but I grew up in a country where butter/margarine/olive spread are almost de rigueur for any respectable sandwich and mayonnaise was mostly something for salads.
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  #7  
Old 04-22-2012, 07:23 AM
grude grude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martini Enfield View Post
I suppose an annexure to the OP's question, if one might be permitted - is it actually a thing? As in, "Are there really significant numbers of white people who eat mayonnaise sandwiches?"

I've certainly never met anyone who does, but I grew up in a country where butter/margarine/olive spread are almost de rigueur for any respectable sandwich and mayonnaise was mostly something for salads.
I never really believed it was a real thing, posting at the wee hours of Sunday morning doesn't lead to eloquent threads though.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:26 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
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Depending on the base filling, mayonnaise is a fine condiment. I cannot picture a chicken sandwich without it.
However, as a practicing American White Person for several decades, I have never encountered a member of my group who had ever made a sandwich of only mayo the way a person might make a bead-and-butter.
Your Mileage May Vary, and I cannot speak for a great number of sub-groups such as "Crackers," "WASPs," "NASCAR Fans," "Trust-Fund Babies," "Theatre People," or any family traditions which are not Celtic or Eastern European.
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  #9  
Old 04-22-2012, 07:29 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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White man with poor dietary habits here, and I've never done it or heard of anyone else doing it. Is the point that mayo on white bread makes for a completely white sandwich, at least if you cut the crusts off?
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  #10  
Old 04-22-2012, 07:30 AM
DrFidelius DrFidelius is offline
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So, it is likely to be a out-group "joking" insult, similar to the Mexican barbecue problems.
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  #11  
Old 04-22-2012, 07:56 AM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
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White mayo on white bread (cut diagonally) on a white paper plate eaten by a pale nerdy man wearing polyester plaids.

That's the image that immediately popped into my head. I know not from where it commeth, but I do recall a neighbour who ate white bread and american cheese sammiches with gobs of mayo on them. He was a socially inept engineer (not on a train), so maybe I am mixing a couple of memories.
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  #12  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:07 AM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is online now
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This probably goes back at least to the 1950s and maybe much earlier. The difference back then wasn't so much white vs. black, but WASP white vs. ethnic.

Here's a snippet from The New Yorker, from 1941:
Quote:
I like Maggie's and drop in often because the sandwiches she serves are made with ordinary white bread — American bread, the Key Westers call it, to distinguish it from their bread, the long-loafed, iron- baked Cuban kind that's good
There was a real divide in New York, the center of Yiddish culture (what most people call Jewish culture, but it's really one particular type of Eastern European culture), whose rye bread and pumpernickel sandwiches were famous and were always covered with mustard instead of mayo. All the other ethnics in New York also had their particular styles of breads, usually whole grain or seeded or otherwise different. Supermarkets did not. Those were also the days of hamburg sandwiches and hot dog sandwiches - not served on buns but standardly on white bread.

By the 1950s, when the non-ethnics moved to suburbs, moms spreading mayo on white bread came to symbolize "American" culture - moms slapping a couple of pieces of packaged baloney (not bologna) onto bread and sending the kids off to school with it. The use of mayo on everything was a yucky constant - somebody is going to bring up James Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food so it might as well be me.

And if you had this ready made-symbol of white on white to apply to white culture when the back-white divide loomed larger than the ethnic-white divide, how could anyone resist?
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  #13  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:09 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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I've made Miracle Whip sandwiches, in the throes of poverty. Mayo is just too dull on its own.
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  #14  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:39 AM
Tangent Tangent is offline
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My mom used to eat mayonnaise sandwiches as a kid, and I've seen her eat them a handfull of times over the years. She calls them "sammy sandwiches." I'm sure I ate one or two as a kid.

We are white, BTW.
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  #15  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:43 AM
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In the spoiler below is a link to the Urban Dictionary's entry on "mayonnaise sandwich." Hardly an authoritative source, I know, but still...

I'm spoilering the link because the second definition for "mayonnaise sandwich" is definitely NSFW.
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  #16  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:44 AM
Speak to me Maddie! Speak to me Maddie! is offline
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Use of mayo is simply a stereotpye for suburban WASPs, has been for some time. Im reminded of scene in Northern Exposure when Jewish Joel Fleishman from NYC visits WASPy Maggie OConnels family in Grosse Point MI. At a party buffet he finds potato, macaroni, chicken, and tuna salads, along with sandwiches dressed in mayo. He wonders out loud, "is there anything you people eat without mayonaisse?" It is a thing that comes up when people play with stereotypes, but ive never met anyone who eats sandwiches made of mayo and bread only.
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  #17  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:49 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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I'm so white I make Queen Elizabeth look Third World, and the very thought of mayo makes me gag.
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  #18  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:54 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Mayo sandwiches without peanut butter are just wrong.

My mother used to give me lettuce and mayo sandwiches for lunch on occasion, though.

Last edited by Chefguy; 04-22-2012 at 08:55 AM..
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  #19  
Old 04-22-2012, 08:56 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I've made Miracle Whip sandwiches, in the throes of poverty. Mayo is just too dull on its own.
Add ketchup. The sweet and tanginess of the ketchup goes great with the creaminess of the mayonnaise. The umami and saltiness help a bit, too.

What ethnicity that would make me, I don't know.
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  #20  
Old 04-22-2012, 09:02 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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Mom made Miracle Whip and Cheddar sandwiches when I was a kid. Always on wheat bread, though. She never allowed me to eat white bread. I wouldn't have thought to eat it without the cheese. Someone from Texas offered me a bite of her peanut butter and mayo sandwich once. I tried not to gag as I swallowed it down and said, "interesting." Sooo not for me.
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  #21  
Old 04-22-2012, 09:13 AM
yabob yabob is online now
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I have no use for mayo as a condiment on a sandwich, let alone a filling in it. I will admit that the stuff has its uses in aggregates like potato salad and macaroni salad to hold them together - it's not a food, it's mortar.
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  #22  
Old 04-22-2012, 09:14 AM
Carptracker Carptracker is offline
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My mom used to make mayo (or maybe Miracle Whip, IDK) sandwiches. It was kind of a comfort, snack food. Or maybe when times were hard, she was doing a good job of concealing it from me. I've eaten them a couple times as an adult, nostalgically. Not bad actually. Actually about the only time I ever use mayo other than a BLT, or a couple recipes, (like catfish Allison, yum!).

FTR, I am white, at least mostly, and I have always passed for white. I am a bit darker than most whites, and in the southern white community I grew up in, if there were any nonwhites in our ancestry it would likely have been covered up if possible.
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  #23  
Old 04-22-2012, 09:20 AM
yabob yabob is online now
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And as for the European idea of putting the stuff on fries ...

THAT is deserving on derogatory stereotype-hood.
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  #24  
Old 04-22-2012, 09:42 AM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I've made Miracle Whip sandwiches, in the throes of poverty.
Yes, this is the only reason I know of that people I've encountered ate them.
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  #25  
Old 04-22-2012, 10:15 AM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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White people love mayo because mayo is fucking delicious.
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  #26  
Old 04-22-2012, 10:21 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by Speak to me Maddie! View Post
Use of mayo is simply a stereotpye for suburban WASPs, has been for some time. Im reminded of scene in Northern Exposure when Jewish Joel Fleishman from NYC visits WASPy Maggie OConnels family in Grosse Point MI. At a party buffet he finds potato, macaroni, chicken, and tuna salads, along with sandwiches dressed in mayo. He wonders out loud, "is there anything you people eat without mayonaisse?" It is a thing that comes up when people play with stereotypes, but ive never met anyone who eats sandwiches made of mayo and bread only.
Bernie Mac had a similar bit:

"When white people go on break at their job. 15 minutes. They go to their desk. They eat their cheese sandwich. Drink their God damn tea. 15 minutes they’re back on the fucking job."
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  #27  
Old 04-22-2012, 10:23 AM
ASanders ASanders is offline
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
Add ketchup. The sweet and tanginess of the ketchup goes great with the creaminess of the mayonnaise. The umami and saltiness help a bit, too.

What ethnicity that would make me, I don't know.
That's essentially Russian dressing without the pickles. My favorite condiment combo for burgers.

As a kid I was known to eat a mayo sandwich when I wanted a snack and the larders were bare. Still love mayo, although not on its own, but white bread is gross to me now.
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  #28  
Old 04-22-2012, 10:40 AM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
White people love mayo because mayo is fucking delicious.
Well that and because we can afford them beyotch, unlike our spectrally challenged bretheren.
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  #29  
Old 04-22-2012, 10:54 AM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Opps.

Realized it might look like I was calling someone a beyotch. Just using a slang word for effect in a so so joke line. No insult intended.

Sorry about that.
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  #30  
Old 04-22-2012, 11:38 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Originally Posted by yabob View Post
And as for the European idea of putting the stuff on fries ...

THAT is deserving on derogatory stereotype-hood.
Mayo there is not like mayo here, and it's great on fries. At least the fries in Belgium were. In England they slog vinegar all over them which just makes them soggy.
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  #31  
Old 04-22-2012, 11:48 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Mayo there is not like mayo here, and it's great on fries. At least the fries in Belgium were. In England they slog vinegar all over them which just makes them soggy.
I do have to say, as much as I wanted to be disgusted by greasy fries being dipped in, what in effect is emulsified oil with vinegar, and all that being a fat overload, yes, they are a treat. But I do like the English malt vinegar method, too.
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  #32  
Old 04-22-2012, 12:06 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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I had never heard of anyone actually eating mayo sandwiches prior to this thread, and I am a very white white person both in terms of complexion and culture. "Stuff White People Like" is basically a list of things that I like. FWIW I hate mayonnaise.

My best guess as to the origins of this joke is that it's either based on a mayo-and-Wonderbread sandwich being the palest sandwich one could make, or its an exaggeration based on the perception that white people in general/WASPs in particular use mayonnaise on their sandwiches more often than other races/ethnic groups. I learn towards the former, as I believe similar jokes and urban legends exist about dark foods turning someone's skin darker. For instance, the title of the novel Coffee Will Make You Black refers to a warning that the young African-American heroine hears in the 1960s about why she shouldn't drink coffee. Now that I think of it, when I was living in Japan there were at least two times when teenage girls asked me if I thought they could make their complexions lighter "like yours" by either drinking milk or eating white bread -- two items that are both pale in color and consumed more frequently by Westerners than by the Japanese.
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  #33  
Old 04-22-2012, 12:14 PM
dataguy dataguy is online now
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The comedian Martin Mull built a whole act around this idea.
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  #34  
Old 04-22-2012, 01:38 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I've made Miracle Whip sandwiches, in the throes of poverty. Mayo is just too dull on its own.
Done that as well. Also made catsup 'tomato soup' as well.
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  #35  
Old 04-22-2012, 01:41 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Woody Allen used this in Annie Hall to depict white-as-white-can-be, where Annie Hall orders a pastrami on white with mayo in a deli. I seem to remember another scene where Woody was trying to identify with this for the sake of the relationship and came home with a grocery bag with mayo and white bread.
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  #36  
Old 04-22-2012, 01:47 PM
Hazle Weatherfield Hazle Weatherfield is offline
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Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I've made Miracle Whip sandwiches, in the throes of poverty. Mayo is just too dull on its own.
Yes.
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  #37  
Old 04-22-2012, 01:54 PM
Hazle Weatherfield Hazle Weatherfield is offline
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I didn't eat it because I was poor, though (I am now, however); I really loved it as a kid. Just Miracle Whip on some white bread. Loved it! Isn't Miracle Whip a sort of pricey item to buy when you're poor? Although, I guess it lasts for quite awhile; maybe that's it. For the cheapness/nutritional value, though? Beans and rice.
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  #38  
Old 04-22-2012, 02:13 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazle Weatherfield View Post
I didn't eat it because I was poor, though (I am now, however); I really loved it as a kid. Just Miracle Whip on some white bread. Loved it! Isn't Miracle Whip a sort of pricey item to buy when you're poor? Although, I guess it lasts for quite awhile; maybe that's it. For the cheapness/nutritional value, though? Beans and rice.
For some strange reason, the food pantry by us ALWAYS has Miracle Whip. I wonder if there's a local supplier who makes frequent donations.

Beans. Oh, ugh, beans. I haven't made them since I got a job, except for New Years! There's a thread around here somewhere were I wrote about 3 gazillion ways to season beans.
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  #39  
Old 04-22-2012, 03:47 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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My Dad's SO uses the term 'Mexican mayonnaise' (sp?), in reference to refried beans.


JSYK, she is a 'native' Mexican with dual citizenship. (Mex. & USA)
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  #40  
Old 04-22-2012, 04:04 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
My Dad's SO uses the term 'Mexican mayonnaise' (sp?), in reference to refried beans.


JSYK, she is a 'native' Mexican with dual citizenship. (Mex. & USA)
Thank you for the valiant effort required to drag this thread back on track. And, !
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  #41  
Old 04-22-2012, 05:09 PM
Voyager Voyager is online now
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
Woody Allen used this in Annie Hall to depict white-as-white-can-be, where Annie Hall orders a pastrami on white with mayo in a deli. I seem to remember another scene where Woody was trying to identify with this for the sake of the relationship and came home with a grocery bag with mayo and white bread.
Hannah and her Sisters. For some reason Woody decided to turn Catholic, and came home with a bag with beads, a crucifix, a loaf of wonder bread and mayo.
We saw this movie in Houston. Almost none of the audience got it.
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  #42  
Old 04-22-2012, 05:55 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Those were also the days of hamburg sandwiches and hot dog sandwiches - not served on buns but standardly on white bread.
And here I always thought it was because my mom was too cheap to buy buns. Hamburgers when I was a kid (in the '70s) were always between two slices of bread, and hot dogs were wrapped in one slice.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:16 PM
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Hannah and her Sisters. For some reason Woody decided to turn Catholic, and came home with a bag with beads, a crucifix, a loaf of wonder bread and mayo.
We saw this movie in Houston. Almost none of the audience got it.
In Meyerland Plaza, I bet they got it!
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  #44  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:18 PM
Ephemera Ephemera is offline
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I eat mayo sandwiches sometimes. Maybe once every six to eight weeks. I even sometimes eat it on a bagel, too.
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  #45  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:32 PM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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And here I always thought it was because my mom was too cheap to buy buns. Hamburgers when I was a kid (in the '70s) were always between two slices of bread, and hot dogs were wrapped in one slice.
Let me guess. Your home had avacado colored appliances and a giant wooden fork and spoon hanging on a wall somewhere.

I bet this guy had Miracle Whip as a sponsor:

http://now.msn.com/now-plus/0421-dri...caucasian.aspx

Last edited by billfish678; 04-22-2012 at 06:34 PM..
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  #46  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:32 PM
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For those up thread who said they never met or knew anyone who actually ate them... allow me to introduce myself. Suburban Midwest white guy checking in. I ate them all the time as a kid... and still sometimes make one for a snack. We were never poor and had plenty of other options, but I assume that my parents ate them and they grew up in the depression so that could have been when they started eating them. For me though they were a treat.

Of course in my house growing up, Mayo means Miracle Whip (but we called it Mayo and I didn't know any better for several years). Anyway, two slices of Wonder Bread, a generous slather of "Mayo"... cutting on the diagonal is optional and you are set. Even better is when you have left over biscuits... Pillsbury flaky from a pop open can that have cooled off to room temperature. Pull one open and smear on some "Mayo" and that's good eats. Whenever we make these biscuits I'll still stash a couple away for later for just this purpose.

Pretty sure I know what I'll have for a snack later tonight.
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  #47  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:44 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Originally Posted by NoClueBoy View Post
In Meyerland Plaza, I bet they got it!
+1

Oy vey!
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  #48  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:46 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Thank you for the valiant effort required to drag this thread back on track. And, !
You're ever so welcome, it was the least I could do!
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  #49  
Old 04-22-2012, 06:56 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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Yes, it's a real stereotype. Like all stereotypes, there are some significant number of people who actually fit this stereotype. Or rather, there used to be some significant number of people who fit this stereotype. It's an old stereotype, and I don't think much of anyone who thinks it's hilarious to make such a joke these days. In the 1950's, say, it was certainly true that it was much more common for white people to eat sandwiches with mayonnaise on white bread, so it made sense to joke about their eating mayonnaise and to call them and the things they did "white bread." Or more specifically, one could call someone who was white and "non-ethnic" by this stereotype. This meant that your ancestry was northern European (which was vaguely referred to a WASP). It was even more true if you came from a small town and didn't even know any ethnic types.

Everytime someone mentions a stereotype in an OP, lots of posters chime in with variations of "I don't do that, so it must not really exist." The fact that you don't do something doesn't mean that the stereotype doesn't exist. That's what a stereotype is. It describes just enough people that it's not completely ridiculous. It fails to describe enough other people that it's offensive.
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  #50  
Old 04-22-2012, 07:15 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
Let me guess. Your home had avacado colored appliances and a giant wooden fork and spoon hanging on a wall somewhere.
Yes, yes we did. Avocado green, and that yellow color ... goldenrod?

Quote:
I bet this guy had Miracle Whip as a sponsor:

http://now.msn.com/now-plus/0421-dri...caucasian.aspx
Ha! Reminds me of that guy a few years ago who sued because he was denied a college scholarship for "African-Americans" because he was of Egyptian extraction instead of being black. "Last time I looked at a globe," he said, "Egypt is in Africa".
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