"Never never never be ashamed you're Jewish, because it's enough that I'm ashamed you're Jewish."
— Farber, You Could Live If They Let You
A member of a social/racial/sexual/political/recreational group criticizes other members of their group for perpetuating behavior that mainstream society deems negative. The reproach may be anything from gentle needling to a knockout punch to a high-profile rant against the transgressors. Whatever the form, the Stop Being Stereotypical message is usually one against those actions that are embarrassing the group and hinder their efforts for wider acceptance.
Typically, this may reflect divisions of class (such as quieter black people complaining about the "ghetto" behavior of unruly blacks), gender expression (such as gender-conforming gays complaining about "flaming" gays), ideology (such as religious people railing against "fundamentalists"), or conformity to mainstream social rules (such as fanboys complaining about peers who won't even bother with personal hygiene). Whatever the group involved, the criticism is generally not of the behavior in itself, but of the way it "makes us look bad." Indeed, sometimes the complainers will engage in the behavior themselves, but will be careful to do so only in private; this in turn might cause the accused party to take the moral high ground over this hypocrisy.
If the criticism is leveled by a character in a work, it may be a Very Special Episode or an Author Tract. Might also be done by a Real Life creator as an attempt at reforming the group.
Telling others to Stop Being Stereotypical is not always presented in a positive light. The person making the criticism might be presented as being overly submissive to the norms of mainstream culture. A common response to "Stop Being Stereotypical" is "I don't care what they think." Both sides may end up calling each other Category Traitors. The recipient of the criticism will be accused of hurting the group by making them look bad while the one who gives the criticism might be accused of being a Boomerang Bigot or an Uncle Tom. Sometimes the deliverer of this criticism is a bigot from outside the group: he's usually a Troubled Sympathetic Bigot who really wants to accept the group he hates (or at least realizes that he simply has to do so to be polite), but finds certain members of the group, whom he considers representative, so durned stereotypical in their behavior that they've put him off the entire group. In these cases, Stop Being Stereotypical overlaps with Why Do You Make Me Hate You?
Note that there is nothing limiting a Stop Being Stereotypical message to any particular type of assembly. Mathematically speaking, any sufficiently large crowd will have outliers who act against the group's interests and serve as the target of such a message. For example, most sports fans are simply enthusiastic supporters of their team, but all fans get a black eye when a few Fan Dumb members go overboard and start riots if their team loses (or wins).
Also see Broken Base, a common place for enthusiasts to sling such accusations against each other, and Vocal Minority, which emphasizes that the stereotypes are the tiniest but loudest part of a given group. Don't Shoot the Message is the ideological variant of this, when the person complaining supports what's being said, just not how it comes across. Compare My Species Doth Protest Too Much when non-humans come onto the scene, and Self-Deprecation for the comedic cousin. Compare Cultural Cringe. Contrast with Boomerang Bigot and with Klingon Scientists Get No Respect, who aren't stereotypical and get flack for it.
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Occurs in the final chapter of Gene Yang's American Born Chinese. Danny (a Chinese-American originally named Jin Wang) attacks his "visiting cousin" Chin-Kee, a buck-toothed slant-eyed Engrish-speaking caricature for being a perpetual embarrassment. It turns out Chin-Kee is actually the Monkey King, trying to get Danny/Jin to accept the Chinese heritage he had rejected after a falling out with his stereotypically nerdy Asian best friend (and a desire to date a Caucasian girl).
Dork Tower has done several strips where the characters and/or the artist (who are all avid Tabletop Games players) call out other gamers for their lack of social skills (civility, personal hygiene, inappropriate clothing, etc.), especially at conventions.
There is also a background gag in the last issue where Swastika, one of the reformed metabeings on Themyscyra, spits during Wonder Woman's crowning ceremony, and gets an immediate Dope Slap from Magog.
In Maus, a work of non-fiction, Art Spiegelman calls out his father Vladek for behaving in a very stereotypical miserly fashion since he worries how this will affect people's opinions of Jews. His father explains it as a result of being in the Holocaust, but Vladek's wife comments that she and a number of Holocaust survivors they know haven't become misers. Not to mention it's subtly implied at some points that his father is an Unreliable Narrator about what he was like in the Holocaust.
This trope is a big part of the premise behind the X-Men - humanity in general fears mutants because they see them as dangerous and violent, and the X-Men take it upon themselves to police the mutant population, stopping evil mutants whose actions confirm anti-mutant prejudices.
As Deadpool put it: "Holy crap you're an Arab living in America and you're a terrorist?! That's so disappointingly stereotypical and racist!"
Sistah Spooky once chewed out Empowered for crying because she was "reinforcing stereotypes about female superheroes".
Occurs in Crash when the movie producer tells Ludacris "You embarrass me; you embarrass yourself."
First Time Felon: Calhoun, explaining his views to Yance, quotes Chris Rock:
Calhoun: "There's a war going on in this country. It's between black people and niggers.''
In Tropic Thunder, Kirk Lazarus criticizes Alpa Chino for using the N-word, a word which is used to "keep our people down." Hilariously, Lazarus is a white man playing a black man in the movie-within-a-movie, while Alpa is actually a black person.
Kirk: [with tears in his eyes] For four-hundred years... that word has kept our people down.. Alpa: ... What the fuck...?
"Whoa, whoa. What do you mean, 'you people'?" "What do you mean, 'you people'?"
This is the theme of A Soldiers Story as well as the Pulitzer Prize-winning play it was based on, A Soldier's Play.
In Be Cool, celebrity music producer Sin LaSalle chastises his cousin (a rapper) Dabu, when the latter pulls up to Sin's house in a big black Hummer, with spinning rims and rap music blasting from the stereo.
Sin: "Man, why you gotta reinforce the stereotype? I live here. I'm on the neighborhood watch."
Later, though, Sid scolds Dabu for doing this that are not "gangsta", such as drinking tea from a small cup with the little finger raised.
In The Nutty Professor, Professor Klump is a morbidly obese man looked down on for his weight. His family is also morbidly obese and portrays fat people as loud, obnoxious, lazy slobs who eat only junk food. After having a nightmare where he became a Godzilla-style caricature of a fat person, he decides to invent something that will get rid of his excess fat since he's too ashamed to be affiliated with anyone as heavy as himself.
Subverted in Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle. Kumar is reluctant to become a doctor as he thinks it's an Indian stereotype, but later decides that he wants to become a doctor regardless of whether or not it's stereotypical.
In Madea's Family Reunion, the black wedding planner says that she can hardly work with black people because they are ignorant.
In A Christmas Story, the manager of the Chinese restaurant gets frustrated and embarrassed when his employees are trying to sing Christmas carols for their customers and keep having trouble with the Ls.
Considering they decided to sing "Deck The Halls," which was practically tailor made to point out their accent, one would almost think they did it on purpose.
In The Way, Martin Sheen's character has his backpack, which also has his dead son's ashes, stolen by a Roma (Gypsy) boy. Though the boy gets away, his father drags his son back to return the pack and complains that his people have a hard enough time being smeared as thieves without his stupid son proving the stereotype true. To make up for it the father invites the pilgrims for a get-together, where he advises Sheen's character to go an extra distance to a seaside church to honor his own late son and has his thieving son carry the pilgrim's pack for him to the city limits as punishment.
The 80s film Mexico 2000 is also not subtle at all about who is pointing their finger, albeit the film falls into the Hilarious in Hindsight territory, since many of the stuff that happens in the film happened in Mexico in some scale or another after that year.
In the Discworld novel Men-At-Arms, Detritus the troll tries to use a Stop Being Stereotypical speech to defuse a riot between a gang of trolls and a gang of dwarfs.
"Hah, I been a man only hardly any time," said Detritus, "and already I fed up with you stupid trolls. What you think humans say, eh? Oh, them ethnic, them don't know how to behave in big city, go around waving clubs at the drop of a thing you wear on head."
This trope is one of the novel's main themes. Detritus' comment about being a man comes from a speech by Vimes earlier in the book, where he says that there are no trolls, dwarfs, or humans in the Watch. When they put on the uniform, they're all Men of the Watch (Even Angua, who's a woman).
From The Madness Season comes Daetrin Haal, a vampire who doesn't like being called a vampire, who consciously avoids transforming into a bat even when it would be helpful because it's too much of a stereotype.
In the Starfleet Corps of Engineers stories, P8 Blue relates to many of her fellow Nasats like this. She's outgoing, happy to take risks and progressive, while other Nasats live up to their people's stereotype as timid and too cautious/conservative. P8 hangs a lampshade on it in a discussion with a non-Nasat friend.
She also makes the point that the more crap female writers are allowed to publish, the harder it will be for male writers to respect female writers- even the good ones.
Live Action TV
30 Rock has this with Tracy and Toofer. Tracy also mentions a shadowy group called the Black Crusaders led by Lester Holt, Jesse Jackson, Condoleeza Rice, Bill Cosby, and Gordon from Sesame Street, an extremist version of this trope that targets black people whose actions make other black people look bad.
In another scene, as Frank leaves a gay bar full of stereotypically gay-looking men, one man shouts to Frank to come back sometime in a very effeminate voice, prompting his dance partner to berate him for "making us all look bad." They then return to bumping and grinding.
In an episode of Psych Shawn and Gus hire an Asian-American assistant and assume he knows about the Triads simply because of his ethnicity. While he finds it offensive, he begrudgingly admits that he does know enough to get the case started, seeming genuinely disappointed that he was able to help.
ABC's hidden-camera show What Would You Do? features an actor posing as a Christian shop owner subjecting two Jews (also actors) to an anti-Semitic rant and shows other people, many of them Christians, angrily standing up to him. A psychologist on the show explains that people tend to get angrier about negative behavior when it is displayed by members of their own group.
Jocelyn Jee Esien's sketch show featured the character of Fiona, a woman who believes that her all-white coworkers don't know she's black. Her sketches always involved another black person, like a courier or handyman, showing up in the office and Fiona berating them for their "stereotypical" behavior because she does not want her "secret" to be found out.
This occasionally happens to Frasier and Niles Crane on Frasier, when they're around people even more snooty than themselves. Emphasis on the occasionally, and it should be mentioned that they're not so much bothered by extreme snobbishness as much as stereotypically insincere snobbishness: They have a genuine passion for all things high-cultured, intellectual, and ultra-refined and are disgusted by people who fake it.
Used almost verbatim in a Barney Miller episode featuring the recurring characters of a gay couple, one fairly straight-acting, the other quite flaming. After a particularly campy utterance by the latter, the former admonishes him to "stop perpetuating the stereotype!"
Again in Barney Miller, Sgt. Harris is deeply embarrassed and annoyed when a Jamaican physician claims an obeah woman put a spell on him. The doctor says it's just part of his heritage and beliefs:
Harris: Which include still taking seriously the mumbo jumbo of some old woman waving cat bones and chicken lips in your face?!
Keating: Yes! ... Alright, that part bothers me a little.
Inverted in an episode of Divorce Court (A People's Court-style talk show) involving a mixed-race couple, a black man and a white woman. The man was albino and shaved his head, so most people assumed he was white, and one of the things the woman hated was how he'd deliberately act "white" when it suited him (like job interviews or talking to the police). At first, it might seem touching that she didn't want her husband to be ashamed of his race, but it all went to hell when the judge asked her, "How's he supposed to act?" and she tossed up gangs signs and started hollering "Yo yo yo..."
Slick Rick's song "Hey Young World" warns against admiration of gangsters and such negative role-models.
"You know white people get money, don't spend it. Or maybe they get money, buy a business. I'd rather buy 80 gold chains and go ig'nant — I know Spike Lee gonna kill me but let me finish."
A very annoying real life phenomenon that, given the lack of Fourth Wall, directly affects wrestling. One example from the WWE, R-Truth, is a black parolee with piercings, braids and tattoos who likes to dance performing rapping. Instant Ethnic Scrappy to the "Smart" Mark community, never mind that Ron Killings actually pursued a recording career before entering the wrestling business and still does music on his own time. While he did serve time in prison, that's not really part of his character. All in all, the R-Truth character is pretty tame given that race relations in wrestling tend to be a good 20-25 years behind the curve.
Many Japanese wrestlers also get labeled as too stereotypical, even the ones who are actually from Japan, and any tag team with shared ethnicity is thought of as a "race tag team" regardless of whether or not they use their ethnicity as a defining character trait— Unless they're white (and not Canadian). There are a number of teams that do use their race as such, and it's usually terrible: e.g. Cryme Tyme, promoted as two large black men from Brooklyn that steal... and that's it, and Harlem Heat who, while featuring stars Booker T and Stevie Ray, were initially promoted as a pair of wrestling prisoners, led to the ring in shackles by a white southerner.
Speaking of Cryme Tyme, with the team's break-up, Shad Gaspard started wearing college graduation attire to the ring and mocked JTG for reinforcing stereotypes of black men being thugs.
Inverted, in a sense, in the spring and summer of 2005, when the "Arab" "Muhammad Hassan" (actually an Italian-American named Mark Copani) and his valet Khosrow Daivari (who was actually Persian) appeared on the pro wrestling scene. A proud Arab-American from Detroit, Muhammad Hassan was full of anger and resentment against the prejudice faced by Arab-Americans during the War On Terror. You'd think he was an assimilated, Westernized ethnic Arab who despised fundamentalists, right? Well, no: Hassan was a Muslim extremist (though most Arab-Americans have historically been Christians or Jews) who proudly wore a keffiyeh and chanted like a muezzin. Even as the other WWE Superstars assured him that they hated him due to his being an "asshole American" rather than an Arab-American, Hassan just became even more angered, citing polls and devising long-winded rhetorical tricks and stunts including having his manager carried out by a group of ski-mask-clad men after having been beaten up in order to "prove" that the audience and the other wrestlers really were bigots, no matter what they said. Incidentally, that last stunt is what caused UPN executives to demand Hassan be written out of Smack Down (it having aired on the same day as the London train bombings), so he might have had a point somewhere.
This happens in-universe as well. In one novel, the new Tauren chief grimly notes how Garrosh has turned the Horde into his personal empire, even to the point of using State Sec to root out "dissidents" and claiming his father's Heroic Sacrifice as his own triumph. Many character wonder why Thrall thought it would be a good idea to hand over the reigns to him.
In Mass Effect 3, Garrus Vakarian (a turian) and Tali'Zorah vas Normandy (a quarian), members of alien species that are based on dextro-amino-acids instead of levo-amino-acids like humanity, joke about the importance of making a good impression for "dextros" on the rest of the galaxy.
Also a major character point for Wrex. Like many other krogans, he fights as a mercenary to get his need for violence out and earn his share of credits; unlike most other krogans, though, it's because he gave up on plans to help lead the krogans out of the mess the genophage had left them in after seeing how the species wasn't going to put aside its ways easily. If he lives, he ends up assuming a position of leadership in his clan, and by the third game, looks poised to bring about a new future for krogans everywhere.
In Multiplex, the gay manager once gave an employee a dressing-down for acting overtly and stereotypically gay (which he was), to the point that it was it was distracting customers and, more importantly, was personally offensive to him said manager. Or, as another employee told their newly arrived co-head manager, was "reaming him out" for "gaying it up."
Homestuck: Kankri expressed disapproval at Mituna for wearing a helmet on the grounds that it perpetuated a stereotype that all mentally disabled people are so unco-odinated they need to wear helmets constantly. As Mituna does need to wear a helmet, and as Kankri isn't disabled himself, this is definitely a negative portrayal meant to showcase Kankri's hypocrisy. (Or, alternatively, his grudge against Mitunafor being together with Latula.)
In the "Hell House" arc in Something Positive, Fred, a devoutly Christian Texan, lambastes the operators of said Hell House for using scare tactics, stating that you don't lead people to Christ through fear, eventually sitting down in protest when presented with the option of either "accepting Jesus" and being led out of the Hell House, or being forced to walk back through to the jeers of the workers.
Moviebob made a video discussing how gamers should avoid the negative stereotypes associated with them.
Alyssa Milano, a proud Italian-American, made this Funny or Die video as a Take That against the cast of Jersey Shore, who she feels embodies the worst stereotypes of both Italians and New Jersey. In this case it's not even a case of "stop being stereotypical" so much as it is "stop following that stereotype because it's not even your stereotype." The stereotype created by the Jersey Shore cast more originates from Long Island, where the vast majority of the Jersey Shore cast are really from, most of them aren't even Italian at all. It leads to this because many people from New Jersey have taken on this image despite it being idiotic.
He also bemoaned the fact that Ke$ha's song "Blah Blah Blah" is what pop music sounds like to people who hate pop music.
Alfonzo Rachel often criticizes his fellow black people for living up to their negative stereotypes, and it seems to be a major theme of his videos. It's also inverted in that he himself had been accused of "acting white".
A variant in "Super Smash Brothers Brawl Taunts: Part 3": Bowser calls Peach out for "setting women's rights back about 400 years" by listing several of her traits, like slapping opponents, wearing heels, having a plethora of crops, and her powerful rear. Peach responds by angrily whacking him with her Frying Pan of Doom and says she got it from her kitchen.
Repeatedly used on this very wiki. The prevalence of autism-spectrum disorders among the userbase and the Sonichu article turning into such a cesspool of vitriol it had to be locked are definitely not coincidental.
The Nostalgia Chick, in the Spice World review, angrily tells one of the Spice Girls to stop talking, since it's "bringing down the property values of vaginas everywhere."
When he reviewed Enchanted, he pointed out that the movie acted like Disney Princesses were still stereotypical Damsels In Distress when by that point they had become more independent.
A video titled "Sakuracon Teh Comic" has a bystander angrily shouting at a group of people who are overenthusiactic about the things they like in Japan such as sushi, their music, anime and manga, dubbing them as "weeaboos". This lampshades the real life phenomenon of people who act like this in an exaggerated manner.
The Boondocks: An episode has MLK Jr. surviving his gunshot wound in a comatose state for thirty years before awakening. He is branded as anti-American for suggesting non-violence in the wake of September 11th, causing a large drop in popularity, and holds a conference at a local church that devolves into a stereotype-fest. Irritated, he uses the word "nigga" (admitting it is the "ugliest word in the English language") and indicts the audience in an angrier, more formal version of Chris Rock's original rant. This is a recurring theme in Aaron McGruder's work.
One controversial set of the original Boondocks newspaper comic strips had black contestants compete on a reality TV show to work for Russell Simmons, only to discover all the contestants were rude and lazy.
In another episode, R. Kelly is brought to trial over accusations of urinating on an underaged girl (mimicking the real-life sex scandal). The prosecutor has mountains of evidence against him, including a video of R. Kelly committing the act, turning to face the camera, and answering a phone call where he promptly states his full birth name, profession, and social security number. Despite this, R. Kelly's lawyer distracts the jury from the fact that he's guilty and convinces them that the whole trial is really about racism, and that the system just wants to keep R. Kelly down because he's black. A boom box is revealed, an R. Kelly song begins to play, and everyone in the courtroom cheers and bursts into dance. Huey shuts off the boom box, walks to the front of the courtroom, and delivers thisCrowning Moment of Awesome:
What the hell is wrong with you people?! Every famous nigga that gets arrested is not Nelson Mandela! Sure, the government conspires to put a lot of innocent black men in jail on fallacious charges. But R. Kelly is not one of those men. We all know the nigga can sing, but what happened to standards? What happened to bare minimums? You a fan of R. Kelly? You wanna help R. Kelly? Then get some counseling for R. Kelly! Introduce him to some older women! Hide his camcorder! But don't pretend like the man is a hero.
(walks off-screen, walks back on-screen)
And stop the damn dancing! Act like you got some goddamned sense, people! Damn.
In an episode of South Park, Kyle becomes horrified when his cousin comes to visit and turns out to be an outlandishly exaggerated embodiment of Jewish stereotypes, which threatens to undermine the good name Kyle has been trying to give Judaism in the town. Stan points out that Kyle has become a self-hating Jew, which is itself a stereotype. It's then inverted at the end of the episode when the boys find out that Kyle's cousin is rich, so they want him to hang around, but he refuses and wants to go back home. He wants to go back because in his eyes, the protagonists are "a bunch of hick jock stereotypes" since Kyle's efforts to get his cousin to be less stereotypically Jewish included trying to get him to play football.
In the episode involving the blood feud between the owner of City Wok (a Chinese man) and the owner of City Sushi (a Japanese man), the City Sushi owner stereotypically commits ritual suicide out of his great shame at being naive enough to believe that the City Wok owner wasn't an actual Chinese man rather a Caucasian man with multiple-personality disorder. As he's falling to his death, he berates himself for being stereotypical.