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Stereotypes of White people are generalizations about the behavior of European descent, including those thought of as "white," or "Caucasian." The stereotypes vary from country to country wherever Whites constitute a significant amount of the population.


United States

Stereotypes of White Americans

Positive Stereotypes

Though ethnic groups are attributed with a variety of negative stereotypes, different groups hold positive stereotypes of White people.[1][2] A 1972 study found that, in general, Whites were stereotyped with positive traits and minority groups with negative traits.[3] The stereotypes of White people do not serve as a base for contemporary institutional discrimination; nor do they get expressed routinely in mass media, because they are the ideas of minority groups without power.[4] In a 1983 US study on the associative strength between two words, and regardless of prejudice score, subjects responded reliably faster when positive attributes (e.g., 'smart') were paired with Whites than when they were paired with Blacks.[5] Positively, Whites are stereotyped as intelligent, socially diverse, and, in White neighbourhoods, generally non-dangerous and not likely to commit crime.[6]

Social stereotypes

White Americans make up the majority of the nation’s politicians and corporate executives[7][8][9] as opposed to many minority groups that economically pale in comparison. In a study on mutual and self-perceptions of White-Americans, African-Americans, and Japanese-Americans, White-Americans were stereotyped as materialistic and pleasure-loving.[citation needed] Other stereotypes of White people include the idea that they are all "extremely self-involved, uneducated about people other than themselves, are unable to understand the complicated ways in which people who are not White survive, and are in deep denial about racism."[10] One common stereotype, relayed in comparison to a typical Black stereotype, is that White people lack a sense of rhythm and cannot dance.[11]

Political stereotypes

In the United States, White people are often stereotyped as conservative Republicans,[12] voting in favor of White privilege, and labeling anything that opposes it as “politically correct,”. Whites are also portrayed as greedy, materialistic, and are hardcore capitalism supporters.[citation needed] As a result, Whites are stereotyped to abhor taxes, and loathes any form of welfare or governmental assistance, often dismissing the potential aids as “socialist.”[citation needed]

Influence on Blacks

Literature in the field of clinical psychology has said that this type of Eurocentric favoritism is indicative of the "pre-encounter" phase in the development of Black identity.[13] Some studies indicate that Blacks have been unduly influenced by stereotypes of White people.[14]

Negative portrayals of other Whites

As the social definition of "White people" has changed over the years, studies have shown that different racial, ethnic and nationalities have different stereotypes of White people.[15][16] Ethnic groups such as the English, Irish, Italians, and Slavs have been portrayed in popular media and culture in a negative fashion.[17]

Intra-white stereotypes

  • The dumb blonde is a popular-culture derogatory stereotype [18] applied to blonde-haired women. 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.

South Africa

In contemporary South Africa, Afrikaners have been portrayed by media as backward, overweight, bombastic and conservative.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Ponterotto, J.G. (1995) Handbook of Multicultural Counseling. Sage Publications, 1995. p 99.
  2. ^ Jarvis, M. and Russell, J. (2002) Key Ideas in Psychology. Nelson Thornes. p 131.
  3. ^ Minako Kurokawa Maykovich, "Reciprocity in Racial Stereotypes: White, Black, and Yellow," The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 77, No. 5 (Mar., 1972), pp. 876-897
  4. ^ Crawford, Mary. Talking Difference: On Gender and Language. SAGE, 1995. ISBN 0803988281. P.96.
  5. ^ "Racial Stereotypes: Associations and Ascriptions of Positive and Negative Characteristics", Samuel L. Gaertner, John P. McLaughlin. Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Mar., 1983), pp. 23-30
  6. ^ "Race and Religion’s Role in Stereotypes and Perceived Social Standings". Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  7. ^ "Mother Jones, the Changing Power Elite, 1998". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  8. ^ "US Census Bureau, Household income distribution, 2005". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  9. ^ "US Census Bureau, Personal Income for Asian American males". Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  10. ^ Diamond, E. (1996) Performance and Cultural Politics. Routledge. p 279.
  11. ^ "Why, I Say, White People Can't Dance (And, Yes, It has to Do with Race/Culture/Rhythm, Appreciation, & Respect)". Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  12. ^ "Republican Base Heavily White, Conservative, Religious". Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  13. ^ Patel, N. (2000) Clinical Psychology, 'Race' and Culture: A Training Manual. Blackwell Publishing, 2000. p 47.
  14. ^ Muran, J.C. (2007) Dialogues on Difference: Studies of Diversity in the Therapeutic Relationship. American Psychological Association. p 137.
  15. ^ Fernandez, R. America Beyond Black and White: How Immigrants and Fusions are Helping Us Overcome the Racial Divide. University of Michigan Press. p 174.
  16. ^ Han, A. and Hsu, J.Y. (2004) Asian American X: An Intersection of 21st Century Asian American Voices. University of Michigan Press. p 208.
  17. ^ Leo W. Jeffres, K. Kyoon Hur (1979) "White Ethnics and their Media Images", Journal of Communication 29 (1), 116–122.
  18. ^ Regenberg, Nina (2007), "Are Blonds Really Dumb?", in mind (magazine) (3), 
  19. ^ Fourie, P.J. (2004) Media Studies: Institutions, Theories and Issues. Juta and Company Limited. p 478.

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