Stereotypes of white people in the United States

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Stereotypes of white people in the United States are generalizations about the character and behavior of European Americans.


Social stereotypes[edit]

In the United States, white people make up the majority of the nation's politicians, military leaders and corporate executives,[1][2][3] while most minority groups have a smaller presence. Stereotypes of white people include the idea that they are "extremely self-involved, uneducated about people other than themselves, and are unable to understand the complicated ways in which people who are not white survive."[4] Stemming from that is "white people problems," a concept similar to First World problems, where stereotypically self-involved white people obsess over trivialities.

Stereotypes of white people in general often reflect those of the "backward," "barely-educated" redneck sub-population.[5] Stereotypes of rednecks include incest and inbreeding, abusing hard drugs like methamphetamine and watching NASCAR.[6] Additionally, a common stereotype for white Americans is a love for the condiment mayonaisse.[7]

Another stereotype is the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) stereotype of wealthy well-off whites. Even though there are only approximately 1.5 billion whites in the world[citation needed], they hold a vast majority of spots on the billionaire list[citation needed]. Whites are, relative to other races in the United States and Europe, richer[citation needed]. However, only a small percentage of whites are truly wealthy in America, and many minorities and poorer whites believe a much larger percentage of white people, overall, are rich stereotypical WASPs[citation needed]. WASPs are stereotypically seen as condescending, arrogant, and unsavory rich people who show unaffected, silent disdain and disgust for lower classes and ethnic minorities as well as being exclusionary, close-minded and elitist. WASP stereotypes involve old money, Ivy League college educations, high income white collar office work in fields such as finance and law in ritzy downtown offices, large houses in exclusive neighborhoods or gated communities, country club memberships, and leisure activities like golf and yachting. The WASP stereotype also often collides with yuppie culture in a taste for the finer things in life and an unbridled love of shameless materialism in having the latest luxury cars, clothes, gadgets and living in pricey real estate from gentrified areas in world class American cities as well as spacious mansions in exclusive suburbs and exurbs.[citation needed]

Promoting his album White People Party Music, African American rapper Nick Cannon generated controversy by posting a series of hashtags on Twitter reflecting stereotypical white interests, such as farmer's markets, beer pong, cream cheese, kissing their pet dogs, and fist pumping.[8]

White people are noted for their love of mayonnaise and poor dancing skills.[9]

Negative portrayals of specific groups of white people[edit]

As the social definition of "white people" has changed over the years, studies have shown that different races, ethnicities, and nationalities have different stereotypes of white people.[10][11] Ethnic groups such as the Irish and Italians have been portrayed in popular media and culture in a negative fashion.[12] White Hispanic and Latino Americans are often overlooked in the U.S. mass media and in general American social perceptions, where being "Hispanic or Latino" is often incorrectly given a racial value, usually mixed-race, such as Mestizo,[13][14][15] while, in turn, are overrepresented and admired in the U.S. Hispanic mass media and social perceptions.[16][17][18][19][20][21]

Intra-white stereotypes[edit]

The dumb blonde is a popular-culture derogatory stereotype applied to blond-haired women, who are typically white.[22] The archetypical "dumb blonde," while viewed as attractive and popular, has been portrayed as shallow, very promiscuous, as well as lacking in both common street-sense and academic intelligence, often to a comedic level. The dumb blonde stereotype is used in 'blonde jokes.'

Barbara Ellen Smith, a professor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech has written multiple books about Appalachia. She helped direct a documentary about the negative and repressive stereotypes about the people of this region. In an interview, she says: “Stereotypes are ugly. They do vicious cultural work and suggest that these people are not like us. We have nothing in common. And not only do we have nothing in common, but their behaviors and their traits are so deplorable that we don’t want to have anything in common with them. We need only make fun of them. We need only neglect them. We need only degrade them. That’s all they deserve. There’s a viciousness in that that is so inhumane and also justifies so much harm to the region and its people.”[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mother Jones, the Changing Power Elite, 1998". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  2. ^ "US Census Bureau, Household income distribution, 2005". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  3. ^ "US Census Bureau, Personal Income for Asian American males". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  4. ^ Diamond, E. (1996) Performance and Cultural Politics. Routledge. p. 279.
  5. ^ Deggans, Eric (May 1, 2013). "On 'Hicksploitation' And Other White Stereotypes Seen On TV". NPR. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ Lapidos, Juliet. "How Did West Virginia get a reputation for inbreeding". Slate. 
  7. ^ "Full List of Stuff White People Like". 
  8. ^ Miller, Hilary (March 24, 2014). "Nick Cannon Wears Whiteface, Sparks Internet Debate". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  9. ^ Ethnic Humor in Multiethnic America - Page 86
  10. ^ Fernandez, R. America Beyond black and white: How Immigrants and Fusions are Helping Us Overcome the Racial Divide. University of Michigan Press. p. 174.
  11. ^ Han, A. and Hsu, J.Y. (2004) Asian American X: An Intersection of 21st Century Asian American Voices. University of Michigan Press. p. 208.
  12. ^ Leo W. Jeffres, K. Kyoon Hur (1979) " white Ethnics and their Media Images", Journal of Communication 29 (1), 116–122.
  13. ^ Richard Rodriguez. "A CULTURAL IDENTITY". 
  14. ^ "Separated by a common language: The case of the white Hispanic". 
  15. ^ Hispanics:A Culture, Not a Race
  16. ^ Newsweek Staff (June 18, 2003). "Y Tu Black Mama Tambien". Newsweek. 
  17. ^ The Blond, Blue-Eyed Face of Spanish TV
  18. ^ Blonde, Blue-Eyed Euro-Cute Latinos on Spanish TV
  19. ^ What are Telenovelas? – Hispanic Culture
  20. ^ Racial Bias Charged On Spanish-Language TV
  21. ^ Skin tone consciousness in Asian and Latin American populations
  22. ^ Regenberg, Nina (2007), "Are Blonds Really Dumb?", In-Mind (3), archived from the original on September 30, 2009 
  23. ^ "Documentary Explores Hillbilly Stereotype | Under Main". Retrieved 2015-11-12.