Are there good stereotypes?

I was watching yet another SNL sketch on racial stereotypes (black guy at an ATM) and I caught myself thinking "Yeah, that's funny, but I can't really relate to that". I mean I understand that kind of jokes intellectually, their premise being 'all black people are lazy stealing bastards always involved in criminal activity and what not'. I get that. I just don't feel it.

 I'm going to go out on a limb and say something which is borderline racist for some people. Me, I see a black guy on the subway and right away I picture him with a sax/harmonica and I swear B.B.King just starts playing in my head. Just like that. Maybe that's stupid/shallow/racist/naive, but that's what happens. 

I don't tighten my grasp on my handbag, I want to push the guy on stage! I assume that's because over here in Russia (Moscow in particular) we don't have the "Afro-American situation", but rather a 'Tajiko-Uzbeks situation'. So that's why I seem to have this romantic image of a black musician (you see, even the word 'black' doesn't sound offensive to me, I quite like it actually). I'm sure it's just a stereotype, but isn't it sort of positive? 

So, what do you think about all that? Do you have nice stereotypes about some races/ethnic groups etc? Can stereotypes actually be good or nice?

P.S. for all you African-American guys - please, don't be insulted, I don't mean to hurt your feelings by any of this. I'm sorry if it sounded offensive.

Apr 22, 2018 5:15 PM
Comments · 17
Yes, there can be positive stereotypes. I am from Kansas.  My son moved to California.  He is a doctoral student doing an internship in Physical Therapy.  He told me that when he tells Californians that he is originally from Kansas, he often receives positive comments suggesting that he is trustworthy, pleasant, honest, hardworking, etc.  I have also heard that the reason my city is a popular place for call centers is because of this stereotype of honest, friendly Kansans-- whose accent is mid-Western, somewhat slow, and reportedly tends to be received more positively than many other accents.  I think that positive stereotype about Kansas is partly fostered by movies like the Wizard of Oz, and Superman-- because Clark Kent´s parents were Kansas farmers-- probably already based on the stereotype of plain, simple, honest, hardworking Kansas farmers.)      There are negative stereotypes as well-- such as Kansan´s are too simple, uneducated, still drive buggies pulled by horses, etc, but often if there is any stereotype it is positive.  
April 22, 2018

April 27, 2018
I didn’t know SNL was seen around the world, but to get any humor out of it you’d really have to understand American culture or be American or possibly British.. After all, it’s designed for Americans. I don’t personally watch American TV, American news and I have no interest in American politics. I’ve purged my house of American anything. The iPad, iPhone, Laptop, are all set to German language mode. I don’t read anything written in English in magazines and newspapers, only things in German, and, on the few occasions I want to see an American TV series I go to the German dubbed-over versions. But, getting back to your humor question. It’s strongly culturally based. I’ve read things here written by Russians, just as an example, that they thought were  tremendously funny, and I don’t know if it’s a translation problem or cultural one or both, but I could never understand the joke and never thought it was funny, what they said.   Humor is just that way. I’ll try a little test and see if you think this is funny, because I do: There was a stand-up comic in the US, mostly in the 60s, a Black lady, who was older. She’d dress up in old funny clothing that looked like it came from a dump and talk with a heavy Black accent. In a comedy skit once, on national TV, she said she liked younger men but could only get old men, really old men. So, all she could marry was old men. She said her husband was really , really old, „older than his birthday“, and he asked her one day, „Where you gonna mind another man like me?!“she said she answered, „The graveyard.“ Now, for Americans that was funny. For Russians I have no idea. But saying you think of musicians like BB King when you see a Black person, would not be an insult in the US, not to my knowledge. In fact, it would probably be a compliment. Ironically, the older Black comic I just mentioned, who said she liked younger men, was actually a lesbian. 
April 22, 2018
I love the Kansas wheat fields. Especially when it's 100 degrees F and the wind is blowing 50 miles per hour. That's some tricky driving on I-70.
April 22, 2018

I‘m a White guy of British -Irish background, just so you know, living in California. And just to give you my perspective. 

The word „Black“ has not, to my knowledge, become an offensive word over here. Not yet. There’s always been a bit of confusion over what the polite way was to refer to Black people in the US. And, we’ve pretty much dictated their requests. In the 1950s White people thought it was polite to call people „colored.“ But, Black people always hated that word because it was associated with segregation in the US South. Then, in the 1960s, Black people wanted to be called „African-American“ to kind of affirm their heritage. That worked for awhile until some Black people started objecting saying, since most Black people had never been to Africa and knew nothing about the place, that it made no sense to call themselves „African-Americans“. After all, White Americans didn’t refer to themselves as „European-Americans.“ So, to even the playing field, Black people said they were just Black, like White people were White. It seemed balanced and fair. So in the 1970s (maybe even starting in the late 1960s) up until now the word „Black“ was accepted as the polite word  to refer to Black people. I still use the word myself. But, over the last 5 years I’d say the word „African-American“ has re-emerged as the polite way to refer to Black people now. We’ve come full circle so to speak. So, now on TV and news and in other media, polite commentators refer to the „African-American“ community. Black  was accepted for so long it hasn’t really totally gone out of style yet. Saying „Black“ is just a bit old-fashioned, but I doubt anyone finds it offensive. 

humor is very culturally based. It works fairly well between the Brits and Americans for some reason (I love the old Fawlty Towers show with John Cleese from the 70s) but it tend to fail across other cultural lines  


April 22, 2018
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