Racial Stereotypes
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Racial Stereotypes

A 19th-century children's book informs its readers that the Dutch are a very industrious race, and that Chinese children are very obedient to their parents.

An ethnic stereotype (national stereotype, or national character) is a system of beliefs about typical characteristics of members of a given ethnic group or nationality, their status, society and cultural norms.

National stereotypes may be either about ones' own ethnicity/nationality or about a foreign or differing nationality or ethnicity. Stereotypes about ones' own nation may aid in maintaining a national identity due to a collective relatability to a trait or characteristic.[1]


According to an article by The Guardian titled European stereotypes: what do we think of each other and are we right?, the Europe stereotype towards Britain is as "drunken, semi-clad hooligans or else snobbish, stiff free marketers", their view towards France is "cowardly, arrogant, chauvinistic, erotomaniacs", and they see Germany as "uber-efficient, diligent [and] disciplined". To Europe, Italy is "tax-dodging, Berlusconi-style Latin lovers and mama's boys, incapable of bravery", Poland is "heavy-drinking ultracatholics with a whiff of antisemitism", and Spain is "macho men and fiery women prone to regular siestas and fiestas". While some countries such as Germany proudly own their stereotype, others like Spain argue that theirs is a warped view based on experiences while on holiday instead of having actually lived there.[2]

A Pew Global survey of the European countries Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, and the Czech Republic found that European stereotypes found Germany to be both the most hardworking and least corrupt, Greece to be the least hardworking, and Italy to be the most corrupt. It is also worth noting that 5 out of the 8 countries thought their own country was the most corrupt.[3]

Yanko Tsvetkov has designed many maps which serve as pictorial representations of such stereotypes, giving an impression of how certain regions of the world may view others.[4][5][6] They have named such as "The Arab Winter" and "Crystal Ball View Of Europe In 2022".[7]

Validity of stereotypes

It is sometimes held that such stereotypes often contain a grain of truth.[8][9] However an extensive study by personality psychologist Robert R. McCrae of the National Institute on Aging and colleagues found that in general they are not trustworthy.[10][9]

An NBC.com article on the validity of national stereotypes suggests that "the stereotypes we all know and love, like the "French lover" and "the icy Brit," were mostly created by literature". It explained that "partly because of such "dirty books," and partly due to French PR, France got the reputation of being sexually free", and offered evidence to the contrary with a recent survey that showed "76 percent of the French sometimes suffer from lack of sexual response".[11]

Various anti-national phobias and prejudices operate with ethnic stereotypes.

Ethnic stereotypes are commonly portrayed in ethnic jokes, some of which some consider to be offensive to varying degrees. Richard M. Steers and Luciara Nardon in their book about global economy use the "You have two cows" joke to illustrate the concept of cultural differences. They write that jokes of this kind:[12]

- are considered funny because they are realistic caricatures of various cultures, and the pervasiveness of such jokes stems from the significant cultural differences. Steers and Nardon also state that others believe that cultural stereotypes in jokes of this kind must be viewed with caution.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Terracciano A, Abdel-Khalek AM, Adám N, et al. (October 2005). "National character does not reflect mean personality trait levels in 49 cultures". Science. 310 (5745): 96-100. Bibcode:2005Sci...310...96T. doi:10.1126/science.1117199. PMC 2775052. PMID 16210536.
  2. ^ "European stereotypes: what do we think of each other and are we right? - interactive | World news". theguardian.com. January 26, 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Graphic detail Charts, maps and infographics (May 30, 2012). "Greeks say they are the hardest-working European nation: Stereotypes of Europe". The Economist. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ "MAPS: A Complete Guide To National Stereotypes All Around The World | Business Insider Australia". Businessinsider.com.au. September 3, 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  5. ^ "Yanko Tsvetkov's stereotype maps - in pictures | Art and design". The Guardian. February 17, 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  6. ^ "Mapping Stereotypes". Alphadesigner. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ Tim Dowling. "Stereotype maps: Is that what they think of us? | Art and design". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013.
  8. ^ "Why do people find racist jokes funny?". BBC News. May 7, 2002. Retrieved 2009.
  9. ^ a b "The Inaccuracy of National Character Stereotypes", J Res Pers. 2013 Dec 1; 47(6), doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2013.08.006
  10. ^ "Science gets the last laugh on ethnic jokes". MSNBC. (2005)
  11. ^ "Latin lovers? Frigid Brits? Mythbusting sexy stereotypes - Health - Sexual health - Sexploration". NBC News. January 7, 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  12. ^ a b Managing In The Global Economy, by Richard M. Steers, Luciara Nardon (2005) ISBN 0-7656-1551-7

Further reading

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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