Stereotypes of white Americans in the United States

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Stereotypes of white people in the United States are generalizations about the character and behavior of people of Caucasian, and usually European, descent.


Treatment and tolerance of non-whites in the 1600s[edit]

According to Audrey Smedley, white people in the 1600s were greedy and incredulous in their pursuit of financial gain, regardless of who suffered: "What's important to remember is that when the English established the colonies, they were motivated by greed. We don't talk about that very much in our history, that people are motivated by greed. But the earliest colonists came and took over whatever land they could get from the Indians. And by the 1620s or so, it was very clear they needed laborers to work that land. And that's when they established indentured servitude. [...] By 1680, you see the beginning of the changes. [...] They passed laws that gave Europeans privileges while they increasingly enslaved Africans. [...] All of the Europeans become identified as " white." And Africans take on a different kind of identity. They are not only heathens, but they are people who are perceived as vulnerable to being enslaved. And that's a major point."[1]

Social stereotypes[edit]

In the United States, white people make up the majority of the nation's politicians, military leaders and corporate executives,[2][3][4] while most minority groups have a smaller presence, and are less well-off. Other stereotypes of white people include the idea that they are all "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."[5]

Stereotypes of white people in general often reflect those of the "backward," "barely-educated" redneck sub-population.[6]

Promoting his album White People Party Music, African-American rapper Nick Cannon generated controversy by posting a series of hashtags on Twitter reflecting stereotypically white interests, such as farmer's markets, beer pong, cream cheese, kissing their pet dogs, and fist pumping.[7]

Negative portrayals of other 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.[8][9] Ethnic groups such as the English, Irish, and Italians have been portrayed in popular media and culture in a negative fashion.[10] 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,[11][12][13] while, in turn, are overrepresented and admired in the U.S. Hispanic mass media and social perceptions.[14][15][16][17][18] [19] [20]

Intra-white stereotypes[edit]

The dumb blonde is a popular-culture derogatory stereotype applied to blonde-haired women, who are typically white.[21] The archetypical "dumb blonde," while viewed as attractive and popular, has been portrayed as 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.'

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Interview with Audrey Smedley". Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mother Jones, the Changing Power Elite, 1998". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  3. ^ "US Census Bureau, Household income distribution, 2005". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  4. ^ "US Census Bureau, Personal Income for Asian American males". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  5. ^ Diamond, E. (1996) Performance and Cultural Politics. Routledge. p. 279.
  6. ^ Deggans, Eric (May 1, 2013). "On 'Hicksploitation' And Other White Stereotypes Seen On TV". NPR. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  7. ^ Miller, Hilary (March 24, 2014). "Nick Cannon Wears Whiteface, Sparks Internet Debate". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ Fernandez, R. America Beyond black and white: How Immigrants and Fusions are Helping Us Overcome the Racial Divide. University of Michigan Press. p. 174.
  9. ^ Han, A. and Hsu, J.Y. (2004) Asian American X: An Intersection of 21st Century Asian American Voices. University of Michigan Press. p. 208.
  10. ^ Leo W. Jeffres, K. Kyoon Hur (1979) " white Ethnics and their Media Images", Journal of Communication 29 (1), 116–122.
  11. ^ Richard Rodriguez. "A CULTURAL IDENTITY". 
  12. ^ "Separated by a common language: The case of the white Hispanic". 
  13. ^ Hispanics:A Culture, Not a Race
  14. ^ black-mama-tambien.html Y Tu black Mama Tambien
  15. ^ The Blond, Blue-Eyed Face of Spanish TV
  16. ^ Blonde, Blue-Eyed Euro-Cute Latinos on Spanish TV
  17. ^ What are Telenovelas? – Hispanic Culture
  18. ^ Racial Bias Charged On Spanish-Language TV
  19. ^ black Electorate
  20. ^ Skin tone consciousness in Asian and Latin American populations
  21. ^ Regenberg, Nina (2007), "Are Blonds Really Dumb?", in mind (magazine) (3)