Negative national stereotypes
October 30, 2011 5:14 PM   Subscribe

What are some negative national stereotypes that do not involve Americans as either the -typer or the -typee?

In other words: a Frenchman's negative assumption about Americans would not be an answer, but his negative assumption about Belgians would.
posted by Trurl to Society & Culture (44 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

Frenchmen tell Belgian jokes pretty much in the same format as Americans once told Polish jokes.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:17 PM on October 30, 2011

I think about this map when I think of your question.
posted by milqman at 5:19 PM on October 30, 2011 [6 favorites]

See Asterix comics.
posted by synecdoche at 5:23 PM on October 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

Russian humor about Finns and Estonian centers on the stereotype that they're extremely slow of word and deed, but stubborn once they set their minds on something. A Russian calling you a "hot-tempered Estonian" means that you're particularly slow and stolid. A typical joke in this vein:

"I told some Estonians they were slow."

"What did they say?"

"Nothing, but they kicked my ass the next day."
posted by strangely stunted trees at 5:26 PM on October 30, 2011 [7 favorites]

The Nords all love/hate each other, like a dysfunctional family. Here are the stereotypes:

Icelanders: Jackass drunks.
Greenlanders: Suicidal drunks.
Finns: Depressed drunks.
Swedes: Stuck-up drunks.
Danes: Arrogant drunks.
Faroese: Smelly drunks.
Norwegians: Boring junkies.
posted by Kattullus at 5:43 PM on October 30, 2011 [12 favorites]

Oh, and I suppose I should link to national-stereotype-fest webcomic Scandinavia and the World. And here is Europe According to Estonians.
posted by Kattullus at 5:44 PM on October 30, 2011

Aussies and Kiwis have a million. A couple that spring to mind are sheep (NZ) and not being bright (AU).
posted by J. Wilson at 5:46 PM on October 30, 2011

there's a line from a Malaysian movie that went "the malays have all the power, the chinese have all the money, and the indians have nothing". and then the rest of us don't get thought about at all.

Migrant labour in Malaysia - Indonesians, Bangladeshis, etc - tend to be stereotyped as thieves and woman-stealers.
posted by divabat at 5:53 PM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I heard that the Portugese are always eating stew.
posted by bleep at 6:00 PM on October 30, 2011

The Germans often tell jokes about the Dutch, and vice versa.

Also, the Germans frequently tell jokes about the Bavarians and the Ostfriesen.
posted by naturalog at 6:14 PM on October 30, 2011

English think the Scottish are drunks.
English think the Welsh are stupid.
English think the Irish are even stupider.
English think Germans are very serious and technically minded, wonderfully proficient at what they do, but wholly humorless.

Northern English think South English are stuck up twats with more money than sense and an inflated sense of selfworth.

The whole of Europe think the Italians and Greeks are grossly corrupt and never pay their taxes.
posted by Jehan at 6:23 PM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ukrainians consider the Russians lazy boorish drunks. Russians consider the Ukrainians lazy boorish drunks. Byelorussians consider both of them lazy boorish drunks. Not sure what the Poles think about Byelorussians, but "lazy boorish drunks" seems like a possibility.

These are stereotypes I've heard from various family friends and relatives, who include some lazy boorish drunks from those parts of the world.
posted by Quietgal at 6:26 PM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's always the Tory Map of the World.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 6:30 PM on October 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am very glad you asked me this. Most people don't know this, but Romanians do not eat at nice tables with silverware like you and me. They have a sort of depression on the top of their wooden tables, and they pour polenta into it and eat it with wooden spoons. This is what I was told by my father, who was Hungarian, and I see no reason for him to have lied. Besides, polenta is made out of maize, and maize is only used for fattening pigs.

Although my father actually liked sweetcorn - maize - for breakfast. Hmm. Perhaps he was exaggerating a bit.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:10 PM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I lived near (near! not in! crucial distinction!) Ostfriesland in Germany and even the next county over told jokes about them being Germany's version of rednecks.

The Portuguese will thank you not to confuse them with the Spanish, who are - in their estimation - far too boisterous. They'll also have you know that the Italians are extremely rude.

I've never eaten stew in Portugal, is that seriously a thing?
posted by sonika at 7:17 PM on October 30, 2011

Australians are uncouth, uncultured, loudmouth bores.
Scots are mean
Scots are drunkards
New Zealanders maintain sexual relations with sheep
Irish people are drunk and stupid
Middle Eastern people are hot headed
French women don't shave under their arms
Italians wave their hands around a lot in conversation
Mexicans are lazy
Russians are sleazy
French men are arrogant
Dutch people are arrogant
English people don't bathe
English people complain a lot
English people have bad teeth
Indian people are java programmers
Chinese are cruel
Chinese are mercantile
Chinese are inscrutable

I could go on...
posted by the noob at 7:44 PM on October 30, 2011

I remember being in Lisbon, in the south of Portgual, where they thought of themselves as being very cosmopolitan and stylish and enjoying nightlife -- all things people in Porto said they disliked. Whereas people in Lisbon characterized people in Porto as serious, conservative, hard-working quiet people who where put off by Lisbon's more flamboyant ways.
posted by critzer at 7:47 PM on October 30, 2011

When I (and American) was in Chile earlier this year, staying with a friend's family, I was really taken aback by how intense their racism / stereotypes were.

I think the quote that sticks with me the most is when two separate Chileans, in different conversations, tried to explain their intense dislike of Peruvians to me by saying "you know, Peruvians... their like Chile's Mexicans".
posted by CharlieSue at 7:53 PM on October 30, 2011

^ interesting - I told a Peruvian friend, while in Peru, that she reminded me of my Chilean aunt and she was EXTREMELY insulted. I was given a similar response. "They're like Mexicans for Peru."
posted by ChuraChura at 8:00 PM on October 30, 2011

Finnish men think that all Swedish men are gay (I can't confirm this as I am neither Finnish nor Swedish, but I sure as hell heard this).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 8:10 PM on October 30, 2011

I've heard that in the UK, redhead stereotypes are a little more virulent.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:16 PM on October 30, 2011

My friend from Heidelberg, Germany says the general view of Bavarians via other Germans is not unlike the worst view of Southerners in America (i.e. uncultured, fanatically religious, etc).
posted by koucha at 8:27 PM on October 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

From my very limited experience, I get the impression that Romans can't stand the sight of anyone from any country in Africa.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:31 PM on October 30, 2011

When I was on high-school exchange in Germany, my host mother asked me whether the Maori in NZ are "like the Turkish". I was completely baffled by what she meant, so she had to spell it out: "Dirty, criminal, don't look after their children properly, smell funny."

I think this is as much a view she (and many other Germans) hold about immigrants in general, though, not just Turks.
posted by lollusc at 8:36 PM on October 30, 2011

From my very limited experience, I get the impression that Romans can't stand the sight of anyone from any country in Africa.

Unless they are women. In which case, the men will break their necks trying to solicit them for sex.
posted by omarlittle at 8:48 PM on October 30, 2011

^ In which case, Italian men will break their necks trying to solicit them for sex....
posted by omarlittle at 8:48 PM on October 30, 2011

Lotsa people in the relatively poor Arab countries look at the folks from the Gulf states (which have the bucks from oil and natural gas) as arrogant.
posted by ambient2 at 9:58 PM on October 30, 2011

An FPP on a humourous article on all the national stereotypes in India
posted by infini at 12:02 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here's a joke Latin Americans tell: How does a man from Argentina commit suicide? He jumps off his ego.
posted by emd3737 at 12:25 AM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

Living in England, I notice a lot of people in England outside of London seem to hate Londoners with a burning passion of a thousand suns. They (non-Londoners) say that (Londoners) are extremely rude, snobby, pretentious, and don't care about anything except for appearances. They often give people the "once over" or "look up and down" to decide whether they're worthy of attention or not.

In all my time living where I live, I've met exactly three people who like London. The rest seem to hate it.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:40 AM on October 31, 2011

I learned a long time ago not to ask my Indian friend about Pakistanis.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:02 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

French people think English people have horrible taste in food and eat nothing but roast beef all the time.

Irish people have more stereotypes about English people than I could possibly list here, but most of them aren't widely believed. They're more like jokes everybody in Ireland is guaranteed to get, as opposed to genuine beliefs. Uh, for the most part, anyway...

Also, South Korean people (apparently) really dislike Chinese people, at least according to two South Korean girls I knew in school. (They described it as a 'really big problem' in Korea, so they seemed to think it was fairly widespread.)
posted by anaximander at 4:34 AM on October 31, 2011

A sub-set of Irish people hold a stereotype of Northern Irish people (particularly in the border counties) as insular, inbred, demanding whiners with entitlement issues. I can no longer remember if this is the same view as English people hold.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:57 AM on October 31, 2011

Oh, and travellers. Huge prejudice against travellers, though that group isn't a nation, just a minority within a couple of nations. They are seen as being (again) inbred, stealthy, filthy, thieves, scammers and violent towards people and animals.

Interestingly, Ireland sees Polish people as being hardworking, industrious, honest, ambitious and smart to a degree that's mildly threatening. (Polish women are, however, either whores or gold diggers or possibly both.)
posted by DarlingBri at 5:09 AM on October 31, 2011

English stereotypes include:

Irish people are stupid, drunk and violent.
Welsh people are humourless.
Scottish people are tight-fisted and drunk.
Germans are humourless but very efficient.
Italians are cowardly.
Aussies are boorish and uncultured.
The French are... well, just not decent.
Russians are depressive drunks.
Austrians are more-or-less Nazis.
English people are cold and repressed.
Spaniards are hot-headed.
Greeks are lazy.

Interestingly, only one of the above is largely justified in reality, but I'm far too English and repressed to say which one.
posted by Decani at 5:12 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

emd3737 beat me to one of them, but here are a couple more jokes Venezuelans tell about folks from Argentina:

Q: Why do people from Argentina go up to the top of El Ávila (the mountain just north of Caracas)?

A: To see how sad the city looks without them in it.


Q: Do you know why Argentines in their thirties are arrogant, presumptuous, and completely unbearable?

A: Because once they hit forty, they are *perfect.*
posted by ambrosia at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

(I am Swiss)

I once met a guy from Luxembourg with an American friend. Later, the American friend told me that the guy had said to her in all seriousness, "He's a pretty nice guy, even if he is Swiss".

Swiss-Germans as well as German-Germans frequently make derogatory jokes about Austrians, such as that they are slow, dumb, etc. Austrians in turn make fun of Germans, especially Bavarians, and so the circle goes on.

In Switzerland, a quick wipe in the armpits with deodorant instead of a real shower is called "an Italian shower".

Here is an old joke I heard on a BBC TV show. "The European dream is French chefs, Italian lovers, German engineers, British policemen, and the Swiss running the government. The European nightmare is French engineers, German policement, Swiss lovers, British chefs, and the Italians running the government." My (not-Swiss) wife likes to bring that up more than necessary.

I could go on...
posted by derMax at 10:02 AM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

But I should add, most of the joking is light hearted and not that serious.
posted by derMax at 10:07 AM on October 31, 2011

I've hung out with some Turks for a few years now, and they have an ethnic group over there called "Laz" whom they treat as their scapegoats. It's really awful. One of the Turks I know is Laz and he is quite intelligent - has a Phd now and everything - but they still talk to him as if he is a hick from the hills. tsk.

They also hate the Greeks as a general rule, and from what I understand (not knowing any Greeks) the feeling is mutual.

I know a few Germans, and they are not too fond of the Turks in their country - they look upon them much like people in the Southern USA look upon people from Mexico... They complain about them a lot, but they like their food. *shrug*
posted by patheral at 12:32 PM on October 31, 2011

Churachura, I'm Peruvian and I can tell you, it's the other way around. The truth is we're browner and less developed than Chile. We have had a couple of wars with them and they keep trying to take territory from us, and what's worse, they are trying to steal Pisco from us, too!

racism in latin America is pretty disgusting. It's part of our very messed up inheritance from Spain! conservatives in Chile consider it lucky that the Spanish killed off most of the indians, while Germans fleed to Chile after WWII, and Pinochet was pro-white.

Peruvian stereotypes about

Chile and Argentina: White people who love to talk about their cities being the "Paris of Latin America", although you and we all know you are not and will never be Europe, no matter how much you suck up.
Ecuador, Bolivia: You guys are darker/poorer than us so yay! we don't suck so much
Brazil: Who are you, you don't even speak Spanish...yay hot chicks
Colombia: Thank god your cocaine exports are bigger than ours, plus yay Shakira, we knew her before everyone else did!
Venezuela: sucks to be stuck in the 60's politics plus yay Miss Universe factory
Paraguay, Uruguay, Guyana, etc: we only think about you when we're playing soccer against you.
posted by Tarumba at 12:49 PM on October 31, 2011

I just saw a Danish doc about neighbor mediation in which a native Dane referred to his Norwegian neighbor as a "mountain goat".
posted by brujita at 9:58 AM on November 2, 2011

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