What automatic thoughts come to you when you think of straight white men?

January 27, 2020 by Joshua
in Awareness, Nonjudgment, Perception

Comedians joke about stereotypes. People laugh when the jokes resonate with something in their heads. Everyone is unique, but as far as I can tell, many of thoughts of groups’ stereotypes come to mind automatically. I’m not sure if we can choose any thoughts.

Here is an example of Larry David joking about Jewish stereotypes:

Here is an example of David Chappelle joking about black and white stereotypes:

I searched online and found a couple top lists of stereotypes, which I’ll quote below. Many people have automatic thoughts when seeing other people, often based on their skin color, gender, and sexual orientation.

You are probably familiar with the stereotypes Larry David and David Chappelle referenced, even if you don’t think them. You’re probably familiar with the ones in the lists below too, even if you don’t feel them.

My question

I notice very few of them listed apply to straight white men. I find it hard to believe that people have stereotypes and automatic thoughts about many groups but not straight white men, but I rarely hear people refer to what those stereotypes and thoughts might be so bluntly as Larry David and Dave Chappelle did.

I started wondering: “what do people automatically think of a straight white man by virtue of these accidents of birth?”.

Besides what you know about me as an individual, what thoughts come to mind at a picture of me just from my accidents of birth?

Joshua Spodek

Examples like from the list, “All white Americans are obese, lazy, and dim-witted. Homer Simpson of the TV series The Simpsons is the personification of this stereotype.” don’t apply to me, so I’m wondering what others do.

I’ve been asking people, but they won’t tell me. I don’t think they’re hiding it from me. I think they aren’t aware. Rather, they share superficial ones, but they act as if nothing in particular comes to mind.

People also tell me that while they know stereotypes exist, they don’t think them, or not anymore. When I ask about any stereotypes, they imply they don’t know any, which I find hard to believe, given the laughter at Dave Chappelle’s routine and the ratings of Larry David’s show.

I hear the same independent of the other person’s sexual preference, skin color, or sex: vague non-answers. At least at first. As we talk longer and I convey that I’m asking out of curiosity, not trying to corner or ambush them, they seem to want to share more, but they still don’t seem to get that they might have preconceived ideas about me.

So I ask my readers: “what do people automatically think of a straight white man by virtue of these accidents of birth?”

I’m very interested to know what preconceptions I’m facing.


The lists

Here’s one list:

Racial Profiling

One of the more common stereotype examples is stereotypes surrounding race. For example, saying that all Blacks are good at sports is a stereotype, because it’s grouping the race together to indicate that everyone of that race is a good athlete.

Gender Profiling

There are also some common stereotypes of men and women, such as:

Men are strong and do all the work.

Men are the “backbone.”

Women aren’t as smart as a man.

Women can’t do as good of a job as a man.

Girls are not good at sports.

Guys are messy and unclean.

Men who spend too much time on the computer or read are geeks.

Cultures

Stereotypes also exist about cultures an countries as a whole. Stereotype examples of this sort include the premises that:

All white Americans are obese, lazy, and dim-witted. Homer Simpson of the TV series The Simpsons is the personification of this stereotype.

Mexican stereotypes suggest that all Mexicans are lazy and came into America illegally.

All Arabs and Muslims are terrorists.

All people who live in England have bad teeth.

Italian or French people are the best lovers.

All Blacks outside of the United States are poor.

All Jews are greedy.

All Asians are good at math. All Asians like to eat rice and drive slow.

All Irish people are drunks and eat potatoes.

All Americans are generally considered to be friendly, generous, and tolerant, but also arrogant, impatient, and domineering.

Here’s another list:

Examples Of Stereotypes

Negative Stereotypes

All blonde women are dumb.

All red heads are sluts.

Christians are homophobic. They are blinded by God and will recruit you if you go near them.

All politicians are philanders and think only of personal gain and benefit.

If I wear Goth clothing I’m a part of a rock band, depressed, or do drugs.

Girls are only concerned about physical appearance.

Guys are messy and unclean.

Men who spend too much time on the computer or read are geeks.

Men who are not into sports are termed as gay.

All librarians are women who are old, wear glasses, tie a high bun, and have a perpetual frown on their face.

Girls are not good at sports.

All teenagers are rebels.

All children don’t enjoy healthy food.

Only anorexic women can become models.

Women who smoke and drink do not have morals.

Men who like pink are effeminate.

Positive Stereotypes

All Blacks are great basketball players.

All Asians are geniuses.

All Indians are deeply spiritual.

All Latinos dance well.

All Whites are successful.

Asians have high IQs. They are smarter than most in Math and Science. These people are more likely to succeed in school.

African Americans can dance.

All Canadians are exceptionally polite.

French are romantic.

All Asians know kung fu.

All African American men are well endowed.

Italians are good lovers.

Racial Stereotypes

All Muslims are terrorists.

All white people don’t have rhythm.

All Blacks are lazy.

All Asians are sneaky.

All Hispanics don’t speak English very well or not at all.

All Jewish people are greedy, selfish money hungry people.

Caucasians can’t dance.

Russians are violent.

All Americans are cowboys.

All Italians are stylish and sophisticated. They are usually painters, sculptors or fashion designers.

Germans are Nazis or fascists.

All Asians are Chinese.

All Asians speak Pidgin English.

All Native Americans love to gamble.

All Middle easterners hate America.

All Italians are good cooks.

The people of Netherlands are all promiscuous and drug addicts.

All Italians are mobsters or have links to the mob.

All white people are all racist.

Chinese will eat anything.

All Asians are Communists.

All Australians are bullies, racists, drinkers and constantly uses swear words. They are also portrayed as lazy and stupid morons.

People from the Indian subcontinent are generally portrayed as shopkeepers and motel owners.

All Egyptian women are belly dancers.

The Japanese are engineering geniuses.

All South Koreans are gaming nerds.

Irish are alcoholics.

All Hispanics are all illegal aliens.

All Indians and Chinese are cheap and live a frugal life.

All Latinos are on welfare.

In the US all South Koreans are stereotyped as dry cleaners and all Mexicans as gardeners.

Gender Stereotypes

Women

Women always smell good.

Women take forever to do anything.

Women are more brilliant than men.

Women are always moody.

Women try to work out problems while men take immediate action.

All women like the color pink.

All women like dolls.

Women become cheerleaders.

Women take 2 hours to shower.

Women hog the bathroom.

Women love mirrors.

Women like make-up.

Women are fussy about their hair.

Women work in department stores.

Women like fashion magazines.

Women are discrete about intimacy.

Women do not drive well.

Women never take chances.

Women always talk too much on the phone.

Women actually use only 5% of what’s in their purse. Everything else is junk.

Only women can be nurses.

Men

Only men can be doctors.

Men are stronger and more aggressive.

Men are better at sports.

Men hate reading.

Men always have an “I don’t care” attitude.

Men don’t get grossed out by scrapes and bruises.

Men are tough.

Men are thickheaded.

Men like cars.

Men become jocks in high school.

Men take 2 seconds to shower.

Men like hats.

Men could care less if they become bald.

Men wear whatever is clean.

Men usually work in messy places.

Men like car or porn magazines.

Men brag about intimacy.

Men take too many chances.

Men always lose all arguments against girls.

Every race, culture, country, religion and a community has a stereotype. It is a way of oversimplifying groups of people. It is one of the easiest ways of establishing identity. By conforming to a fixed or conventional image, the identity can be recognized and understood. And, herein lies the problem. It’s hard to be objective if one doesn’t reject stereotypes. So, it is better not to use any stereotype and pass judgments only when you are familiar with others.

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5 responses on “What automatic thoughts come to you when you think of straight white men?

  1. Where did you get this information? Some I’ve never heard of while others I haven’t. That said, I found the topic interesting and wanted to opine.

    Initially, the me who saw you found you hard to read- yet curious. The me who met you, and getting to know you professionally, found you rather open to the point of being rehearsed, but you aren’t. You converse with a stream of consciousness flow. If that makes sense…you are comfortable conversing about anything.

    Continuing…

    Because you workout, and seem flexible , I’ve wondered if you dance (don’t know why. Actually I know why. You move fluidly.) I know there is an athlete side (volleyball, I think and swimming possibly amateur skiing).

    I know you are smart into academics. Yet you are reserved and seem interested in how others perceive things or occurrences.

    From what I know about you and your world (from reading your blog and our conversations) I don’t think you necessarily see people through stereotypes, but rather beyond them from what you have experienced. That’s not to say first impressions might not present a stereotype, but your openness perhaps quickly dispels them.

    Not sure if any of this is making sense, but I felt compelled to respond. Stay tuned.

    • I appreciate the feedback. I took dance lessons and danced latin ballroom for a while, but never got that good. My big activity was ultimate frisbee.

      What openness I have came through years of work. People who have done the exercises in my leadership book know where it came from. I have a long way to go.

  2. Hey, Joshua . . . I automatically think “another grossly misguided liberal progressive ‘problem’ overhyped by the diversity obsessed media”.

  3. Pingback: Update on automatic thoughts people connect with straight white men » Joshua Spodek

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