Stereotypes of white Americans

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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 mayonnaise.[7]

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]

Southern Hospitality and Minnesota Nice are examples of regional stereotypes related to kindness and hospitality, although they may not necessarily be exclusive to white people.

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.[9][10] Ethnic groups such as the Irish and Italians have been portrayed in popular media and culture in a negative fashion.[11] 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,[12][13][14] while, in turn, are overrepresented and admired in the U.S. Hispanic mass media and social perceptions.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

Intra-white stereotypes[edit]

The dumb blonde is a popular-culture derogatory stereotype applied to blond-haired women, who are typically white.[21] 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.[22]

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. ^ Fernandez, R. America Beyond black and white: How Immigrants and Fusions are Helping Us Overcome the Racial Divide. University of Michigan Press. p. 174.
  10. ^ Han, A. and Hsu, J.Y. (2004) Asian American X: An Intersection of 21st Century Asian American Voices. University of Michigan Press. p. 208.
  11. ^ Leo W. Jeffres, K. Kyoon Hur (1979) " white Ethnics and their Media Images", Journal of Communication 29 (1), 116–122.
  12. ^ Richard Rodriguez. "A CULTURAL IDENTITY". 
  13. ^ "Separated by a common language: The case of the white Hispanic". 
  14. ^ Hispanics:A Culture, Not a Race
  15. ^ Newsweek Staff (June 18, 2003). "Y Tu Black Mama Tambien". Newsweek. 
  16. ^ The Blond, Blue-Eyed Face of Spanish TV
  17. ^ Blonde, Blue-Eyed Euro-Cute Latinos on Spanish TV
  18. ^ What are Telenovelas? – Hispanic Culture
  19. ^ Racial Bias Charged On Spanish-Language TV
  20. ^ Skin tone consciousness in Asian and Latin American populations
  21. ^ Regenberg, Nina (2007), "Are Blonds Really Dumb?", In-Mind (3), archived from the original on September 30, 2009 
  22. ^ "Documentary Explores Hillbilly Stereotype | Under Main". Retrieved 2015-11-12.