You must have seen that Geico commercial. The one where four people are running around in the woods trying to hide from some evil slayer. This is their conversation:
Male 1: “Let’s hide in the attic.”
Female 1: “No, in the basement.”
Female 2: “Why can’t we just get in the running car?”
Male 2: “Are you crazy? Let’s hide behind those chainsaws.”
Female 1: “Smart.”
Of course, this commercial dialogue is making fun of the fact that people in horror movies always make the worst choices, ultimately leading to their decapitation or intestines ripped out. Makes sense, because if they were a bit wiser, the movie would be over too soon.
However, there is something disturbingly unrealistic about this particular commercial. In my experience of watching many movies — and I’m embarrassed to say this, but — it is always white people that make the worst decisions. And that’s what’s unrealistic in this rhetoric. The only black person who is present suggests to hide in the attic (unwise decision), and one of the white girls proposes to use the running car (smart). That should have been the other way around (stereotypically).
When danger hits, white people tend to stick around or even go investigate as to what is going on exactly. Are you effin’ crazy? Run! Get the hell out of here!
I love Geico commercials, they for real crack me up with their undertone jokes. But oh man, stereotypes that are reversed — one of the worst things invented other than stereotypes themselves. I say that because they confuse a lot of sheep-like viewers in a way that is usually not in favor of enlightenment. Luckily, black people in stereotype-world can run fast. But somehow they almost always die first in horror movies. Believe it or not, there are 20+ horror flicks where the black person didn’t die first — nor at all.
Speaking of scary movies, there’s a new one in theaters now starring Daniel Kaluuya called “Get Out.” Just off the bat — I will definitely not be seeing this. I’ve never been much of a horror person (go figure). I remember going to a haunted house in Niagara Falls and “chickening out” before making it halfway through — and I was very relieved. I’m not sure what the intentions of the film’s writer and director (Jordan Peele of Key & Peele) are, but it seems as if he wants to create a conversation that is less commonly had, all the while playing off of the commonly used innuendo of blacks in thrilling and haunting situations in movies and real life.
Another topic in the movie itself is the challenges and stigmas of interracial couples — this one being a black man dating a white woman and going to the middle of basically nowhere to meet her white parents and family. I know for a fact that there is a black maid featured in this film as well. He went for a big scoop with this one.
I didn’t notice this mentioned in the previews, but I would even guess that the whole “black men have big feet, so are therefore well endowed” is also included in the lineup of cultural stereotypes in this film. Wait, what are the other popular ones? I know you know a few offhand, even if you are from another country–they must exist everywhere in some form, right?
Yes, There are plenty of cultural stereotypes. But first, I want to nuance something you stated earlier. I believe that white men with big hands (or feet — not sure which one it was) have big ____, which makes up for their rhythm and natural dance capabilities. That being said, Trump must be extremely tiny shaped, especially considering his attempts to compensate with stupid and loud remarks (and I bet he has a big car too). The stereotype for black men is that they are well endowed, regardless of the size of their hands or feet.
Other obvious stereotypes I know of are rooted in the weather and food. Who HASN’T seen the white dude wearing shorts out in the streets in the middle of the winter? And many people seem to think that all black people like watermelon, fried chicken, and spicy food.
Right! It’s funny you bring up Trump, he’s an obvious example in the conversation of stereotypes gone horribly, horribly wrong. Also, the funny thing is, I grew up hating watermelon and feeling obligated to enjoy fried chicken based on routine and ritual. I only started feeling a connection to spicy foods once I left home, matured and learned how to appreciate spice in a way that enhances food — and that was from a variety of cultures’ cuisines. An even funnier thing is that the only thing that got me into watermelon was a gentrified watermelon salad I had one day — and for some strange reason, I feel like I’m supposed to be ashamed of that. It just goes to show you how off stereotypes are. They don’t represent how everyone in any given race experiences or relates to the topics of which label them and normalize them.
Yes, and regardless of whether stereotypes are positive or negative, they have an inherent danger in them, since they lead to general conclusions that do not necessarily apply to an entire segment of the population in question. In other words, they mislead us into believing that certain groups have certain traits that they don’t actually have on a representational scale, which does not nurture us towards mutual understandings nor authentic interactions.
That being said, I would still like to turn some actual stereotypes around: white people are NOT that intelligent, since they’ve historically made the worst decisions in dangerous situations; they do NOT take care of themselves properly, since they under-dress in cold weather; they DON’T know how to prepare good food, since a good amount of their food tastes bland (especially in comparison to other countries); and when it comes to white men in particular, they come with a disadvantage as far as pleasing their (sexual) counterpart (that is for those partners that attach importance to that particular area) … especially if they drive black SUVs. 😉
Take THAT, Mr. Donald Trump!!! And F___ you too!
Yako & Krystal
What are some stereotypes that you familiarize with, and how do false stereotypes affect your environment?