Stereotypes of Americans  

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“To become and to remain an American, one must look upon life as a struggle and not as a pleasure, and seek in it, victorious effort, energetic and efficacious action, rather than pleasure, leisure embellished by the cultivation of the arts, the refinements proper to other societies. Everywhere-—We have seen that what makes the American succeed, what constitutes his type—is character, personal energy, energy in action, creative energy.”, Reflections on Violence by Georges Sorel citing La Vie américaine by Paul de Rousiers

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Stereotypes of American people (here meaning US citizens) can today be found in virtually all cultures. They often manifest in America's own television and in the media's portrayal of America as seen in other countries, but can also be spread by literature, art and public opinion.

Not all of the listed stereotypes are equally popular, nor are they all restricted towards Americans; and although most can be considered negative, a few actually assign neutral, positive or even admiring qualities to the stereotypical US citizen. Many of the ethnic stereotypes collide with otherwise unrelated political anti-Americanism.


American men are portrayed to be obsessed with American football, ketchup, surfing, beer, and the excessive entreatment of "dude". American women are stereotyped to be housewives that constantly gather on the beach for social reasons and constantly say "totally!". Americans, both men and women, are also stereotyped as being lazy, ambitious, noisy, overweight and constantly watching television. Young women, especially Californians, are stereotyped as being ditzy, promiscuous and materialistic (see Valley girl.)

There are "rednecks" and "hillbillies" also, that are stereotyped as primitive, committing incest, living in trailer parks or other forms of substandard home. Visitors to Alabama have been known to ask if Alabamians really do marry siblings. Media portrayals of the South almost invariably feature "rednecks." "Rednecks" are also depicted to enjoy NASCAR racing and having portly bellies. There is a recurring stereotype in American media where the law-enforcement officials of the Deep South are portrayed as being corrupt, often forcing egregiously unfair punishments (such as internment, which occurs in a third-season episode of MacGyver) on the hero characters with little or no evidence of any actual crime.

The general stereotypes that are usually associated with Americans (more often than not prefixed with "they are all...") are that they are overweight, stupid, do not know anything about the world with the exception of America (and, even then, they are frequently portrayed as only knowing about American history that occurred during or after their childhood) and being arrogant.

The stereotypical White American foods are casseroles, kool-aid, nachos, and burgers.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Stereotypes of Americans" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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