Stuff White People Like is a blog that was started by two white guys (!) who were bemused by the fact that they liked HBO's series The Wire so much, and that many other white people also like it. The joke to them was that most of the show focuses on inner-city Baltimore—a place most white people in the U.S. don't live and never visit.
But the fact that so many white Americans are obsessed with the show -- sometimes to the point of ridiculousness (those grad students who write Heaven and Here are a blog post away from stalking David Simon Halloween-style)—says a lot about how disconnected liberal Americans are from inner-city problems.
The best take on this subject I read is by a Brit who writes for the journal PopMatters. The article was written in 2005.
The demand for shows that provide a window into the ghetto—from street-real network crime shows like Cops to super-realistic cable series like The Wire—has expanded in direct proportion to the increasing safety of American middle class life. The American middle class is encouraged by advertisers and manufacturers to eliminate not just danger, but the slightest inconvenience from their world. They drive Hummers equipped with satellite navigation and invest in home security systems to cocoon themselves in an atmosphere of absolute predictability and safety. Since 9/11, this tendency has only increased. Yet inside the SUV and the home in the gated community, the preferred entertainment ranges from gangsta rap to video games like Grand Theft Auto to TV shows like Oz.
David Simon and Ed Burns, the creators of The Wire, have a kind of street cred built up from years of reporting and working in Baltimore, so it's hard to accuse them of engaging in "ghetto tourism." And most Americans who don't watch The Wire aren't even remotely interested in the world Burns and Simon portray. But what this means is that the small audience watching The Wire believes itself to be passionately involved in the issues facing American cities today. Either way, the inner city loses—the people who don't watch The Wire will never really care about Baltimore's issues, and the people who do watch it don't ever try to engage with the problems the show raises—they usually just end up blogging about how real it all seems.