While we live in a world in which political correctness seems like a sad way of life, and the right to be offended is exercised with extreme frequency and militancy, anyone with a sense of humor has become a target. "Stereotypes serve a great purpose; saving us all the time of getting to know one another" is a phrase that while witty, earns a dirty look from plenty of people. I'm willing to bet that just the title of this article sent plenty of potential readers fleeing back into their neo-commie study halls to lament the state of the world. I'd say I'm sorry, but that would be a lie.
In fact, there are some stereotypes that are true, and while there are plenty that are spoken to damage a person or community, these others can be backed up with scientific and sociological facts.
Obviously, this is difficult territory through which to tread and despite my sarcasm (and the fact that I find talk of stereotypes very funny), I will keep this as peaceful and objective as possible, while demonstrating that not all stereotypes are nonsense and simply hurtful generalizations.
10 Irish People Drink Tons of Beer
This can be broken down into two sub-stereotypes. The first is that as the title reads, Irish people love their beer. This is plain and simple, but some may interpret this to mean "Irish people are drunks", which is very untrue.
Depending on the year, Ireland generally ranks in the top ten worldwide, with regard to countries in beer drinking per capita; essentially amount of beer consumed in a year per person. But the high number is by no means an indication of a national drinking problem. Rather it shows that having a few pints throughout the day is a normal way of life.
9 African-Americans Are Athletic
This one is plain and simple, black Americans are disproportionately represented in the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and in Olympic competition.
8 Asian-Americans Excel Academically
This stereotype can be misleading, and often people may try to claim "they were just born that way", but this is not so. Plain and simple: public schools require little more than a small amount of effort in order to excel. Asian-Americans put in that effort statistically more than their fellow students of other ethnicities.
Over half of all people over 25 years of age who identify as Asian in the United States also possess a bachelor's degree or higher level of education. Over 20% of Asian people over 25 have advanced degrees (above bachelor's), which compares to just over 10% of the overall population of the United States. While standardized testing is a frequent target for criticism these days, the ACT (American College Test) evaluates high school achievement and roughly estimates who is most ready for college and a career. Asians average a higher score than every other racial group year after year.
7 Canadians: "Eh" and "Sorry"
Yes, Canadian is a nation group and not an ethnicity and there is some ambiguity about whether a national group can be considered an ethnicity, but that's besides the point. Canada uses these two words so much that there are articles in the newspaper about it.
6 Germans and Racism
This one goes back to World War Two and while there are plenty of Germans who embrace different races and ethnicities, there is still plenty of xenophobia and racism in the country. This distrust and even hatred may not be universal but Germans of all ages and economic backgrounds are still known for harboring prejudice. While it was long considered to be the work of primarily right wing parties and groups, the current strain of racism in Germany is present across society. That admission was made by the German government to the UN just a few months ago with regard to some recent attacks against Muslims.
5 India and Hygiene
One of the most popular (and unfortunate) stereotypes regarding Indians is that they have some of the worst personal hygiene on the face of the Earth. It has nothing to do with their willingness to clean however, and more to do with the lack of cleanliness standards in some of the poorer parts of the country. Even in parts of the country that are fast becoming developed, there are still serious problems with public sanitation and water treatment facilities, which are ineffective and in some cases, non-existent. This could be a problem for any country however. Take away the regulations for water treatment in any developed country and a hygiene problem will not be far behind.
4 Jewish People Are Good With Money
Look around the internet and you will quickly be able to find plenty of people out there who believe in some kind of Jewish conspiracy. These ideas take many forms, from Jews controlling the world, to the media, to the money supply, but at the end of the day, they all boil down to a mistaken belief that Jewish people are the puppet masters of society.
Looking at this from a statistical point of view, Jewish people in the United States do seem to have a disproportionate amount of money. Some argue that this is due to greed or one of those pesky conspiracy theories. Not looking at the why but simply the numbers: 46% of people who identify as Jewish earned over $100,000 per year in the United States. The overall population number is 18%. With regard to the country's wealthiest people, there are nearly 100 Jewish billionaires in the top 400 richest Americans. Impressive for a group that accounts for about 2% of the population.
3 Russians Drink Obscene Amounts of Vodka
Obviously, like any stereotype out there, exceptions to the rule exist. There are poor people of the Jewish faith, and plenty of African Americans can't dunk or throw a football. I have met a Russian gentleman who did not drink, but looking at the stats, he is an absolute anomaly.
2 Native Americans Cannot Handle Alcohol
This is an area where one must thread very lightly. There is a stereotype of this nature and it is based in truth. Native Americans do in fact have trouble with alcohol. This is not to say anything denigrating to their character or their humanity, but literally speaking they process alcohol differently from other ethnicities, which has led to a serious problem.
Essentially, scientists have hypothesized that many (not all) groups of Native Americans lack or have imperfect proportions of certain enzymes such as alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which generally assist in the metabolism of alcohol. On top of helping to break down alcohol in the system, these enzymes are also known to assist with avoiding dependence. While there is still some debate among geneticists studying the topic over the exact cause, many agree that genetics play a significant role in the lack of tolerance and the development of dependencies.
1 Americans Really Do Love Their Guns
Forgive me for the fact that much like my example about Canadians, this is an article about ethnic stereotypes, and "American" is technically a nationality, but let's just move past it. Americans own the most guns per person of any country on Earth. Smallarmssurvey.org published findings for over 170 countries, and the United States has roughly 88 weapons for every hundred people. No other country comes close, as numbers two and three are Yemen and Switzerland, which are around 55% and 54%.
Whether it is for hunting, target practice, or just taking pictures and looking tough, there are plenty of guns and gun enthusiasts in the United States. While the United States' fondness for guns is often criticized due to their high level of gun violence, there are good reasons to own a firearm. In short, the United States was founded by a group of people who hated large, oppressive governments. They claimed that firearms were a way in which small communities and individuals could protect themselves from government abuse. Most of the developed world has been indoctrinated to see their government as a benevolent entity due to "services" and supposed security, so gradually citizens are giving up their ability to protect themselves, and forgetting the fact that eventually, if you do anything marginally wrong, your government may well come after you and destroy your life.
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