Cultural Rebel

A black person who loves classical music and hates R&B? An Italian person who likes Mexican food just a little more than Italian food, even though he has not a drop of Mexican blood in him? A lifelong resident of Nashville who hates country music, preferring heavy metal — or, alternatively, Blues and Soul? A middle-aged adult who likes modern rock as well as classic rock? An American with a penchant for Canadian rock music? A blond teen girl who gets down with death metal and gangsta rap?

Basically, as much as many of us may argue that we are all individuals and have a right to our own preferences, there are still preferences that are stereotypically expected of us. As such, people who deviate from those expectations may face opposition (or, at least, odd looks) from other people — be it from people of their own cultural group or from outsiders. They may even be accused of cultural self-hatred, even if they have nothing against their cultural heritage, but see no reason why they should be limited to preferences within their own culture.

This prejudice probably reaches its nadir where race and ethnicity are involved, as if people who look different are not only from different cultures but are of different species, and trying to pass from one group to another is seen as ridiculous. It gets even worse once you factor in religion. Since the stereotypical Christian is white or black, the stereotypical Moslem is Middle Eastern, and the stereotypical Buddhist is East Asian, a black person who wants to become a Buddhist or an East Asian who wants to be a Moslem will frequently be regarded as a freak - even though Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are all supposed to be universal religions, and seek converts from all the countries of the world.

Perhaps, this character may not even start out as a rebel — but becomes rebellious only after repeated snide remarks about his preferences.

Related to Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, Real Men Wear Pink, Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy, Bald Woman, Straight Gay, Camp Straight, Perky Goth, Black and Nerdy, Mighty Whitey, Bourgeois Bohemian (arguably), Stereotype Flip, Straw Affiliation, No True Scotsman, My Species Doth Protest Too Much, The Complainer Is Always Wrong, and The Whitest Black Guy. Does not necessarily include Cultural Cringe or Klingon Scientists Get No Respect, or mean that Germans Love David Hasselhoff. See also Dawson Casting, which can overlap with this trope if the actor is portraying a "hip" character much younger than his/her own generation.


  • One ad featured a posh couple with a gothic son, and a gothic couple with a posh son. The two kids were friends.

  • Steve Martin's original "poor black child" sketch, which became the genesis for the movie, The Jerk (although The Jerk itself doesn't count as the premise was slightly changed, making him adopted).
    "I was born a poor black child...then one day I heard my first Mantovani record, and realized - these are my people!"

Comic Books
  • In The Invisibles, Dane (a white English teenage guy) is a big fan of Gangsta Rap, and he asks Boy (a young African-American woman) whether she likes it. She says it's okay, but she prefers European techno. Later, we find out that her brother was an actual gangsta rapper.

  • Buck Swope, Don Cheadle's character in Boogie Nights, is a fan of country/western music, to the point that he wears cowboy hats and shirts with fringes (the whole Roy Rogers getup). Remember, he's played by Don Cheadle
  • High School Musical has Zeke Baylor (a jock who bakes), Martha Cox (a nerd who likes Hip Hop dancing), and a skater boy who plays the cello, all during the song "Stick to the Status Quo". The first two become major supporting characters for the rest of the franchise while the last is never seen or mentioned again.
  • The Larry Clark movie Wassup Rockers follows a group of Latino kids in Los Angeles who follow punk culture over hip-hop culture.
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has Sybok, an emotion-embracing Vulcan.
  • Another Time, Another Place has Janie, who is the only one in her village to treat the Italian POWs with anything other than indifference or outright contempt.

  • According to Jewish tradition (historians seriously doubt this story has any historic merit), there was a member of the House of Potocki named Count Walentyn Potocki, who renounced his Catholicism, converted to Orthodox Judaism, and changed his name to Abraham ben Abraham. It wound up getting him tortured to death and becoming a revered figure in Orthodox Judaism posthumously.


Live-Action Television
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Rajesh is not too fond of Indian food, while Howard takes a perverse thrill from not keeping kosher.
    • Sheldon was raised in Texas, but his accent only appears when upset, he looks down upon farmers, hicks etc, and as a reclusive Hollywood Nerd is the farthest possible thing from the athletic, sterotypical cowboy, and is a staunch Hollywood Atheist despite being raised as an Evangelical Christian.
    • Bernadette was Raised Catholic, and thus is a Covert Pervert who couldn't wait to introduce her Jewish boyfriend to her mother.
  • In Angel, Gunn doesn't start out this way. Then he sees a production of Giselle and falls in love with Ballet.
    • And then Wolfram & Hart filled his brain with lawyer skills so he could contribute to the team and he ended up singing a lot more Gilbert & Sullivan than he would've liked.
  • By Time Lord standards, the Doctor is one hell of a rebel. They were staid, egotistical, and overly formal, not to mention were somewhat stagnant from a cultural standpoint. He, on the other hand, uses time travel to broaden his cultural perspective as far as possible, has (for the most part) no pretensions of being better than anyone else (aside from mentions of having Seen It All and his own genius, both of which tend to be quite true) simply because he was born a Time Lord, and he's so unorthodox and informal he (as well as his rival, The Master) is considered (from their point of view) the gold standard for a Time Lord Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Played with in the episode of The Brady Bunch that had the Bradys vacationing in the Southwest and meeting an Indian boy who has run away from a nearby reservation because he thinks his family won't let him leave to become an astronaut. He eventually learns that his family doesn't mind this at all.

  • The earliest rock musicians of The Fifties were prime examples of this trope. Bill Haley And His Comets was already in his thirties, had children, and was going bald when "Rock Around the Clock" became a huge hit. Elvis Presley did his first singing in a Pentecostal church (as did Little Richard and numerous others). Buddy Holly was a stereotypical nice boy with glasses - and a fiery iconoclast who relished being viewed as dangerous by the Moral Guardians of his day. And he also rejected country music, despite being from Texas.
  • Eminem was arguably this for rap music, as he was the first white rapper to really break into mainstream respectability (sorry, Vanilla Ice and Beastie Boys).
  • The Runaways are a 1970s all-female hard rock band, and Joan Jett and Lita Ford have both made a breakaway success. It was quite rare at the time for women to perform hard rock (as opposed to soft rock or pop).
    • From about the same time period was Pat Benatar. Then there was also Heart, but only the singers were female.
    • Blondie dipped into punk/new wave - but again, only the singer was female. Then again, Deborah Harry herself is a really good example, as she was in her early thirties when her band became a hit - a little old for one of the founders of female punk rock. (By contrast, The Ramones were still in their mid-twenties when they hit it big.)
  • Dixie Peach is a black DJ who presented a soft rock show on BBC Radio 1 in the 1980s.
  • The whole Riot Grrrl movement could be seen as an example of this. After all, they are a group of feminists performing Punk Rock (a traditionally male-dominated genre, although it could be argued that punk is essentially androgynous in character, having a strong LGBT element from the very beginning).
  • Sinéad O'Connor, while her musical genre has always been strictly pop, has been the subject of controversy with her baldness — and she steadfastly refuses to let negative public opinion influence her decision.
  • Living Colour aren't really this trope because they are funky hard rock, but are commonly called metal.
  • Sepultura are a metal band from Brazil. Before them, the only music Brazil was known for on a widespread level was bossa nova. Thanks to Sepultura's influence, magazines started covering about metal from around the world rather than just the US, UK and Germany. Now we have the likes of death metal bands from India and Iran and power metal from Russia and Italy.
    • There was heavy metal in Russia when there was still an Iron Curtain.
      • There was a punk scene in Poland back in the 1980s (i.e. before The Great Politics Mess-Up.) note 
  • Many German metal bands formed out of a desire to make their country known for something apart from Schlager and Europop. They wanted to make it distinctive, and as a result German metal is heavier and scarier than anything else until Black Metal from Norway became famous a few years later. Now, of course, German metal has itself become a cliché.
  • Charley Pride, the black country-and-western singer.

Video Games


Western Animation
  • Trixie Tang, the popular girl from The Fairly OddParents, is secretly a comic book fangirl.
    • She also thinks dead frogs are "cool".
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Lion-O prefers researching technology (which most Thundercats scorn as a myth) to fighting and sees the Fantastic Racism of Cats being on top as wrong. Lampshaded at one point by his older brother, Tygra:
    Tygra: You look at Lizards and see victims! You look at junk and see mythical tech!