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The Arctic/Greenland

    The Arctic and Greenland 
  • Often depicted as if it's one large continent, similar to Antarctica, while in reality the Arctic, or "North Pole" is the name for several regions comprised of Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland, and even the Nordic countries and Northern Russia.
  • Eskimo Land: The Arctic will mostly be inhabitated by the Inuit people, still nicknamed as "Eskimo" in many countries. Usually they will still be portrayed as if modern age and technology never set in. They will all wear parkas, carve trinkets, and permanently live in igloos, while in reality igloos were temporary shelters, not actual houses. When they travel they use a sled, pulled by huskies, and go fishing in a canoe while trying to harpoon every animal in their vicinity. When not eating fish, they will consume whale blubber or cod-liver oil.
    • Several outdated traditions or already debunked, but permissive urban legends about these people will also be shown. For instance, they will be kissing/greeting one another by rubbing their noses against each other. They supposedly have an unusually large number of words for snow, which is simply untrue. Whenever one of their people is terminally ill or very old they will put him or her in a canoe and sent him off unto the wild ocean to die on ice floes.
    • The men will usually have names like "Nuk Nuk" or "Nanook", in reference to the famous documentary Nanook of the North. This documentary was heavily fictionalized and the name an invention: the man was actually called Allakariallak. Nanook/nanuq means "polar bear"
  • The Arctic itself will often be simply one blank white landscape, full of ice and snow. No plant life is to be seen, while in reality the Arctic has lots of vegetation.
  • Various polar animals will have a cameo: huskies, polar bears, polar foxes, lemmings, seals, walruses, whales, orcas, belugas, narwhals,... and inaccurately, penguins. Penguins live in Antarctica, but not the Arctic. Sometimes Eskimos themselves are depicted living on the South Pole, which is again wrong for the same reason.
  • Expect a reference to the fact that there is no sun for months, yet "aurora borealis" ("northern lights") can be seen in the sky, no matter what time of the year it is. As a result, the Inuit will go to sleep "for several months" in their igloo, as if they are physically able to have a winter sleep like animals do.
  • And, of course, the Arctic is Santa Claus' permanent residence!


  • See Canada, Eh? for the main page about stereotypical portrayals of Canada.
  • Canada, Eh?: The Bob & Doug McKenzie sketches from SCTV cemented the idea that all Canadians say "eh?" as a Verbal Tic. Another Canadian linguistic stereotype is the word "aboot" instead of "about".
    • Canadians, much like the British, are often portrayed as being exceptionally polite. The phrase "Welcome to Canada. It's nice up here, eh?" pretty much defines this stereotype.
    • In many countries frequented by American tourists, the advice "pretend you're Canadian" is often given.
    • Canadians also tend to be portrayed as a lot less jingoistic than Americans. Quebec separatism may be mentioned, but Western separatism might as well not exist.
      • In regards to Western separatism, it's mainly centered in Alberta, which is often called the Texas of Canada. The stereotype of Alberta is that everybody there are right-wing cowboys and oil industry workers who drive big pickup trucks and are constantly complaining about how "the East" (read: Ontario and Quebec, or the federal government) ignores them.
  • Outside North America, people often confuse Canadians with Americans, or when they speak French, with Frenchmen. To many foreigners the overabundance of the USA in the news media is so large that it almost completely overshadows Canada's own culture, media and politics.
    • The fact that Canada is a bi-lingual community is sometimes forgotten by foreigners. Many Canadians speak both English and French fluently. In US comedy French speaking Canadians are always portrayed as a French Jerk, because Americans tend to sympathize more with the English speaking part of the population.
    • The most famous Canadian province in the world is Québec. Québecois tend to be portrayed by English speakers as being a bunch of separatist French Jerks with a side of Lower-Class Lout, and are portrayed in France as backward colonialists who aren't true Frenchmen and speak a funny-sounding but unintelligible language that has barely any resemblance to proper french. That is, of course, when English-speaking foreigners remember that Canada also has a large French-speaking population.
    • Don't expect any mention to be made of Quebec's rather sizable (historically even more so) English-speaking minority, unless the (unfortunately very real) ethnolinguistic tensions between the Anglophones and Francophones are the whole plot.
  • Almost inevitably, Canadians will be depicted as being white, and if they aren't French will have an English or a Scottish family name.
    • The Inuit culture in Canada has received more attention and interest since the second half of the 20th century. Their Inuksuk stone statues have risen to become a cultural symbol. Similarly the totem pole has become this for the Canadian Indians.
  • The first image that pops up when many people think of Canada is a red-uniformed mountie with a Cool Hat. Whenever mounties have to catch a bandit on the run they will eventually be able to arrest him, because "the mountie always gets his man." And if it's too far to walk, he'll always travel on horseback rather than in a police car. Basically, fictional mounties are living about a century in the past.
  • It's always snowing in Canada and everything is covered under a white carpet. The only change in weather are blizzards. Apart from this obvious misconception popular culture will also depict Canada as a country full of pine wood forests, mountains, lakes note , log cabins, waterfalls,... So whoever isn't a mountie will be a lumberjack, a wildlife hunter, or a camper. When people travel they will use a sled or a snowmobile. Cities? Towns? People with other jobs? What are you talking ''aboot''?
    • If you need a typical Canadian animal, look no further than a Newfoundlander dog, a Labrador dog, the Canadian horse, the Canada goose, and the Great northern loon. A beaver, bear, or a moose are also popular choices, but sometimes too generally North American. Despite that, beavers have been used as a national Canadian symbol.
  • In terms of technology, infrastructure, and lifestyles, Canada is often portrayed as being more primitive and close to nature than the "modern" United States (See above re: lumberjacks, hunters, and campers.). Socially, however, Canada is often portrayed as far more progressive and liberal than the United States, with laws supporting secularism, same-sex marriage, universal healthcare, mosaic culture, higher taxation to redistribute wealth, outlawing of capital punishment, strict gun control, etc. When foreigners are aware of this, they tend to depict Canada as either a progressive paradise or as Commie Land. American liberals often joke about moving to Canada or (if they live in a left-leaning northern state) seceding to join Canada whenever conservative politicians take power. American conservatives often joke about the celebrities who threaten to move to Canada the next time a Republican takes the White House but who never get around to doing so. In older works, this is somewhat justified as Canada was considerably more conservative politically than the US (although attitudes were shifting subtly before then) until the 1970s, when PM Pierre Trudeau's controversial but long-lasting Liberal government started to change absolutely everything. Seriously; Trudeau's policies were controversial enough to kill the Liberal Party in some provinces for decadesnote , but important enough for him to be named the third-greatest person in Canadian history—and that's with many people who hated him voting to keep him down.
  • If Canada's city and suburban life are depicted in popular culture, it will be mostly Vancouver, because a lot of Hollywood productions are filmed there, giving it the nickname Hollywood North. The only other locations that exist in popular culture are Toronto, Quebec, Winnipeg, and Nova Scotia. Saskatchewan may get mentioned too for being a funny location name, especially the city of Regina, for the same reason (it's pronounced with a hard "I", rhyming with the word for a woman's privates). The only monuments that will be shown are the CN Tower and the Skydome, both in Toronto.
    • Ontario is best known for the Niagara Falls, which also cross the US border and reach into a part of upstate New York. The waterfall is famous in popular culture for having daredevils crawl inside barrels and jump off the falls afterwards.
  • The maple leaf makes Canada's flag one of the most recognizable in the world. As a result, it has become a national symbol.
  • Canadian national dishes are maple syrup, Kraft dinner (macaroni and cheese), poutine, butter tarts, and Canadian bacon. Except in Canada, it's called peameal bacon. Cue the confusion.
  • Canadian = Hockey Fan: Another popular stereotype is that everyone plays hockey and/or curling. A third and fourth national sport, lacrosse and Canadian football, are fairly obscure in other countries.
  • Historically, Canada is best remembered for the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899), where, as all fans of the Donald Duck comics know, Uncle Scrooge McDuck amassed his first fortune. The town is also known for the narrative poem The Shooting Of Dan Mc Grew.
    • During the 1960s and 1970s, Canada was also known for harboring many young Americans who dodged the draft.
  • Canadian Music has a strong association with Country Music and Folk Music, with famous examples such as Hank Snow, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. Some Canadian rock and pop acts like Paul Anka, Neil Young, Rush, Céline Dion, Justin Bieber have reached iconic status, but are still often mistaken for being American by some foreigners.
  • And cinephiles know the movie production and distribution company National Film Board of Canada.
    • Outside of the NFB, Canadian film and television are frequently ridiculed as being entirely made of dull and mediocre works created for the sole purpose of fulfilling government quotas (with as much heart and soul put into them as one would expect) and that not even many Canadians like or have heard of.


  • First of all, calling Mexico "Central American" or even more egregiously "South American" is not really what most geographers would agree with. If one draws the boundary between Central and North America at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (in Southern Mexico), only 12% of Mexico's surface area is in Central America. Its largest centers of economic activity and population and the regions associated with most stereotypes (except Spring Break in Cancún, maybe) are all north of that dividing line.
  • Mexico is usually reduced to 19th century stereotypes. All men wear large sombreros, colorful ponchos or serapes and have long thick black moustaches. They may be charros, desperados or Banditos riding around on horses who will refer to you as either a "gringo" ("stranger"), "amigo" ("friend") or "señor/señorita" ("sir, "lady"). Every few minutes there's a "revolución" or an execution by firesquad going on. While one dictator is replaced by another tyrant groups of guerrilleros prepare the local defenseless villagers for the next military coup. To round it all off all the gunslingers will have a Mexican Standoff. Much of this imagery is derived from Zorro, Speedy Gonzales and dozens of Western movies.
  • Spexico: Some stereotypes about Mexicans are similar to those about Spaniards. They all enjoy singing and dancing, eat foods comprised of beans and hardened corn and peppers too spicy for foreigners to handle, drink tequila and watch bull fights. Most of their time is spent taking a siesta in hammocks, against a wall or even against a cactus, if necessary.
  • Some stereotypes of Mexicans are much like stereotypes of Americans (USA), namely being fat and lazy.
  • Typical Mexican dishes are quesadillas, tamales, tacos, pineapple, avocado, guava, mangos, enchiladas, tabasco (which actually come from Louisiana), tequila and burritos (which actually come from California).
  • Masked Luchador: Apart from bull fighting Mexico is also known for a particular type of wrestling, named "Lucha Libre". One wrestler, El Santo, has pratically become a Folk Hero larger than life and has starred in countless local B-movies.
  • Mexicans are often shown playing guitar serenades underneath a balcony, while singing and dancing jarabes, corridos or mariachi to the melodies of La Cucaracha and/or The Mexican Hat Dance. Or they engage in piñata smashing.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: Another stereotype is that Mexicans will spent the night around a campfire enjoying the hallucinogenic effects of peyote. Often in presence of some Magical Native American, nearby an ancient temple. A Spirit Advisor may appear.
  • In the United States Mexicans are mostly seen as illegals who try to sneak over the border and move to the U.S.
  • Especially in American media, Mexicans will always be depicted as mestizo, even in some of the more northern areas of Mexico where whites are just as common. Any other racial diversity, including Mexicans with African, Asian, or non-Spanish European ancestry, are pretty much unheard-of in fiction. Indigenous Mexicans like the Mayans and Nahuas are okay in period pieces, but seem to vanish after Cortés - oh, and the only Nahua group anyone outside of Mexico pays attention to are the Aztecs.
  • Mexican characters are common in (beat 'em up) video-games and are prevalently depicted as masked luchadors in all of the main series, likely because Lucha Libre is the nation's most iconic national sport. Examples come in two distinct flavours: There's the stacked, heroic, mysteriously faceless, Friend to All Children type, which includes King from the Tekken series and the Aztec inspired, eagle-masked Tizoc from Fatal Fury - both fight to help fund and support local orphanages. The other type is far closer to real life and almost the exact opposite, being depicted as very short in stature, loud, gobby and Hot-Blooded, with examples including El Fuerte from Street Fighter (who's voiced like a pitched-down Speedy Gonzales), El Stingray from Saturday Night Slam Masters and El Blaze from Virtua Fighter. Angel, from The King of Fighters (whose favourite foods are "tequila and raw cactus slices", according to her offical bio), represents a female Mexican luchadora, albeit without the usual mask.
  • All Mexicans either ride donkeys or eat them.
  • Every Mexican owns a chihuahua (toy breed of dog) as a pet dog. In Chihuahua (largest Mexican state), of course!
  • Apart from donkeys and chihuahua dogs, you can encounter a coyote, but you'll more likely than not meet one in a peyote-induced vision. The only other fauna in Mexico is Chupacabras. Better get used to the little alien buggers, the country is teeming with them. (Even though the myth originated in Puerto Rico.)
  • Mexico City is the only place that exists in fiction. Acapulco, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta might get a mention. Ditto Tijuana, but instead would be depicted more as a Wretched Hive, where whorehouses, cheap tequila and donkeys are the main attractions.
  • Mexicans tends to stereotype themselves in a way that could sound extremely racist or insulting if they were depicted by people from other countries. Even the worst stereotypes depicted in non-Mexican media, like in Hollywood, are normally tamer compared how Mexicans themselves are depicted in their own films, especially the most recent ones since the 90s, whose tends to go on the cynical side.
  • Due to the geographical closeness with the U.S., Mexicans are normally depicted, at least in the rest of Latin America, with the same stereotypes normally depicted for Americans, except "like to hide behind their inflated military budget" part is swapped out for "like to hide behind their oversized egos". Unlike with Americans, this is normally Played for Laughs. In a less funny version of this, Mexicans are sometimes stereotyped as being subservant to Americans, a statement normally considered a Berserk Button for Mexicans for obvious reasons.
  • A very common negative stereotype about Mexicans, albeit more common within Mexico than outside of it, is depicting them as being greedy, too worried about what the people are thinking about them, having a might-makes-right mentality, trying to find a loophole for everything, being overly patriotic, and complaining about anything and anybody else, except themselves.
  • A relatively recent negative stereotype is that the country is one big battlezone where various insanely brutal drug cartels terrorize the people with impunity, although it's usually shown as an undeserved affliction rather than any sort of the country's fault. To keep to the principle of cautious editing, that's all we say here.
  • Mexico is typically depicted as one big desert full of cacti. In reality, only Northern Mexico and parts of the center are desert. The southern half of the country is primarily jungle.
  • Burning countries flags either because they're against for no reason.


The United States

See also Acceptable Political Targets, America Takes Over the World, Eagleland, and Only in America.

    The United States in general 
  • Because of the extent to which the U.S. influences popular culture worldwide, many people "know" about life in the U.S. through movies and television series set here and are not always shy about admitting that movies, television series, or both are their source of information. However, those works are by definition works of fiction intended as entertainment and shaped by market forces; as a result, many people believe things about life here that vary from slanted to flatly wrong. Also, not all TV series on which people base their views of the U.S. are even original to the U.S.
  • Stereotypes of people in the US are not even consistent. For example, it appears that we all long for a dictatorship and also uncritically believe whatever Ayn Rand said.
  • To many people (and not only Americans themselves), the United States are seen as the most important place in the world. Whenever the continent "America" is mentioned, people are usually solely referring to the United States, which often irks other countries in North, Central and Latin Americanote . If you can become rich and famous in the U.S., then you have really made it. For many Americans, the idea of becoming rich, famous, and successful is almost an obsession. From becoming the "prom king and queen", to making it big in Hollywood, over becoming a billionaire to even entering the White House. Americans always see everything "big!", are in constant competition with others, and feel that "time is money". It comes to no surprise that fast food was invented in the U.S.A.
    • Everything Is Big in Texas might as well generally be called Everything Is Big in America: houses, cars, steaks, hamburgers, beers, guns, movies, parades, advertising boards, skyscrapers, movies, religious devotion, drug use, celebrities, the presidential elections... it all has to be huge, grand and larger than life. To foreigners this often comes across as having no sense of humility or moderation. Everything, from the wage slips to the food servings to the ferocity with which people defend their ideals and views, seems much more exaggerated in America than it needs to be. Though, there is a geographical explanation for this: after Russia, Canada, and China, the U.S.A. is the largest country in the world in terms of geographic area. This is already something that's difficult to imagine when you're living in a smaller country. Americans think "big" because they can! There is so much space in the U.S.A., compared to the more crowded and suburbanized countries in, for instance, Europe. Taking a commercial flight to visit another town or state within the same country is very normal; even between cities in the same state is not unknown, though mostly just in California or Texas.note 
    • Despite this, The White House is one of the smallest official residents of a head of state or government in the entire world and many depictions of its interior in film and television turn it into a TARDIS by the size of it's interior. In fact, most staffers of the White House will lament Hollywood's depictions not being true as they wish their office space was that spacious. The famous Press Briefing Room is notoriously cramped, as any one in the press pool will tell you. The space expansion in film and live action typically upscale for both convenience of film equipment and because Reality Is Unrealistic.
    • A well-known European joke has a European guide show some American tourists around in the city. One American isn't particularly impressed, though. He keeps complaining about the small size of all the monuments compared to those in the U.S.A. Near the end of the tour, the European guide really gets fed up with this. Then the American notices another building and once again boasts: "Look at that! In the U.S.A., that pathetic small building would be much bigger!" To which the guide replies: "That wouldn't surprise me, because that's a mental institution."
    • Patriotic Fervor: American patriotism is also something that raises eyebrows in other countries: school children being forced to salute the American flag every morning and memorize the pledge of allegiance, people rising in unison to sing along with the national anthem whenever it's played, controversy over flag etiquette and burning flags, etc. Though other countries are not immune to nationalistic pride, American patriotism feels very creepy in foreign eyes. With foreign more often than not meaning European
      • Self-deprecating comedy also doesn't seem as common in the USA as in other countries. Whenever someone pokes fun at the good ol' USA, he always has to reassure the audience that he really likes the country in the end. Similarly many foreigners have had situations where they make a joke at their own (country's) expense and Americans in their company take pity on them rather than laugh along. Almost as if they assume the person lacks confidence. Most American comedy, both stand-up as well as sitcoms and comedies, seem more at ease insulting others, usually targeting physical features. This goes from the Your Momma jokes to the traditional roasting events. Laughing with America or criticizing the core idea of The American Dream is a touchy subject in the USA. A majority can still feel very offended, even if the satire or criticism was done by an American.
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Americans are generally painted as being completely ignorant of the rest of the world. American tourists may visit other countries, but are more interested in shopping and souvenirs than authentic culture, and are always rude and condescending to "the natives". They want every city to be “spectacular” or have “spectacular, amazing events” going on. Anything that’s small and low-key is instantly considered boring. Much of their disappointment stems from the fact that they base their idea of one particular country or city on what they’ve seen in Hollywood movies and TV shows.
  • Positive stereotypes about the United States are generally that people see it as a "land of opportunities". The pioneer spirit is still strong and people have the feeling that even "an average guy or gal" can make it there. Foreigners also have the impression that, because of this, everybody in the U.S.A. is incredibly wealthy. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
    • This also explains why white Americans are often depicted as filthy rich, cigar-smoking businessmen with too much money to spend. If you have to believe a lot of foreign fiction, all American business people work in skyscrapers. Stories about Hollywood stars living in mansions with a swimming pool and a private jet also contribute to this idea. As do American TV soaps, sitcoms, and films where the characters usually live in very spacious houses with many modern amenities.
  • Another positive image about the U.S.A. is that other countries look up to it (or, at the very least, used to). The United States was the first colony to become independent and introduce the first foundation of a modern democratic constitution. This was an inspiration for many other countries who became independent in the centuries after. The American constitution guarantees liberties and freedom of speech that go further than most other countries, even democratic ones. Thus, the U.S.A. became "the land of the free", symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, which welcomed all immigrants who fled from persecution in their home country.
  • Americans are often seen as people who vocally try to defend their own rights, according to what they claim is in the Constitution. Usually in combination with some Badass Boast, Precision F-Strike and/or degrading comment: "Hey listen up, pal...!" This is also in part where the idea of both their stereotypical cocksure machoism and arrogance hail from.
    • America is infamous for its many frivolous lawsuits. A common stereotype is that Americans will seize every opportunity to sue a company or other person for a ridiculous amount of money, because "the law is the law".
    • The Grim Reaper complains in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life:
    Shut up! Shut up, you American. You always talk, you Americans, you talk and you talk and say 'Let me tell you something' and 'I just wanna say this' .
  • Another image many foreigners have of Americans is that they are extremely extroverted, yet appear to be very genteel. They will act very friendly and enthusiastic, smile, say hello and goodbye ("Oh, hiiiiiii!", "Have a nice day!",...), show involvement in what you say ("Oh rrrrrreallly?", "Oh my goooooood!"), but it comes across as if they don't mean it half of the time.
  • Divided States of America: The United States have a unique political system in the sense that there are — in contrast to other modern democracies — only two major and significant political parties: The Democrats, perceived as left-wing and liberal/progressive, and the Republicans, perceived as right-wing and conservative. This distinction is somewhat laughable in other Western countries, because according to their political standards the American left-wing is closer to the center-right and the American right to the far-right. However, foreigners tend to oversee that even within both parties there are people whose views are more leftist and/or rightist despite their party's public image. Some people outside the USA aren't even aware that there are ''other'' parties besides the Democrats and Republicans in the USA. It's just that they lack the financial backing to make their campaign and candidates equally noticed. They do get invited to political debates sometimes, but mostly as filler material for the journalists. The situation is especially problematic during the presidential elections, where only one candidate of each party can be voted in. By lack of a significant third option many Americans don't bother to vote, which wouldn't be such a problem if it weren't for the fact that the entire world is affected by their voting decisions. Since World War II, America's influence on world politics and economy has been so dominant that many people across the world always hope that the American people vote wisely instead of going for the most superficial or politically extreme candidate. This also explains why the US presidential elections attract more attention from the foreign press than any other country.
  • A stereotype about Americans that has gotten under a lot of strain since the second half of the 20th century is that of the "heroic American". During the 19th and early 20th century, Americans were depicted as cowboys who save the day, a stereotype fed by Buffalo Bill, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Clint Eastwood. Powerful comic book superheroes like Superman, Batman, Popeye, and Spider-Man also fueled this image, fighting for "truth, justice, and the American way." Especially older generations tend to see Americans as noble, self-reliant individuals who take no nonsense, grab matters into their own hands, act quick and efficient, and save everyone. This is also the idea most Americans (like to) have about themselves. Even some of their politicians, who see the world as a place divided in good (our side) and evil (the other side).
    • Americans helped Europe win two world wars, but its citzens usually forget that the US collaborated with other countries to defeat the Axis. Many war movies and documentaries paint the wrong impression that America won these wars singlehandedly. After World War II, the United States were generally seen as liberators by all the countries that had been suppressed by the Nazis or Japanese: America Saves the Day. This led to an internationally positive view of the U.S. where many people across the world gladly embraced American products like Coca Cola, chewing gum, large cars, and Hollywood films. As the Truman doctrine was introduced, the American government started sending troops to every major international conflict, thus coining the nickname "the policeman of the world." By the 1960s, at the height of The Vietnam War, American's foreign policy was criticized by other countries. In later decades, America's involvement in many wars, rebellions, and other conflicts became controversial, usually because it seemed to be a greater benefit to their own government and multinationals than the actual countries themselves. To this day, America's heroic image has remained polarized. A considerable number of people across the globe hate the USA solely based on the actions of their government, their powerful multinational corporations, and their aggressive marketing campaigns. (See America Saves the Day, America Takes Over the World, Yanks with Tanks and America Won World War II), though at the same time they still use American products and enjoy American films and TV series. Also, the USA isn't the only (Western) country with internationally powerful multinationals and governments who sponsor dictatorships and engage in wars.
    • Thanks to the numerous The Wild West legends and movie westerns, the country is still seen as Americans Are Cowboys. If a character in foreign fiction is depicted as being American, he is either a cowboy or at least wearing a cowboy hat.
    • American Gun Politics: Even though the U.S. isn't the only country where carrying firearms is legal, the image of the "gun-obsessed American" is more common than with other nationalities. Many American citizens appear to be extensions of cowboys who will proudly sometimes carry a gun everywhere they go, even if there is no danger about. This "gun obsession" may have also been popularized by numerous westerns and violent Hollywood action movies where the cool ones always have large guns. Similar to a typical Hollywood scenario, American real life crime fighting is often presented as if you just have to hunt and shoot down "the bad guy" and every problem is solved.
    • Mass shootings: The United States is well-known for being the only advanced country in the world to experience mass shootings on a weekly basis, with at least a few major ones a year. Some major shootings, such as the Columbine High School massacre (1999), the Virginia Tech massacre (2007), the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre (2012), the Orlando nightclub massacre (2016), Las Vegas concert massacre (2017), and the church shooting of Sutherland Springs, TX (2017) make the news all over the world and make the United States look like an incredibly dangerous country as a result.
      • These major shootings always spark huge debates over whether or not the United States should enact more stringent legislation regarding the sale of guns. In foreign media many people have the impression that all American gun owners are mostly conservative trigger-happy Republican rednecks, obsessed with the 2nd Amendment (which gives the right to bear arms) and are firmly terrified of any gun control. In reality, even liberal-minded and otherwise not-that-macho Americans may own a gun or more for self-defense, hunting, or just target shooting in clubs. It has been claimed that a majority of Americans are actually in favor of stricter guns laws, even though, once again, concrete measures still seem a long way from ever getting passed in Congress.
  • Many other countries portray Americans as having a sort of Inferiority Superiority Complex, as despite the apparent confidence they convey in trying to dictate international affairs, they often seen as people who are utterly terrified of pretty much anything. Historically, they have been frightened of religious persecution, Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, Jews, Muslims, communists, their own government, hippies, rock/metal music, Satanism, and terrorists. In order to protect themselves from invisible threats, they will carry a gun everywhere they go and arm their homes into small fortresses. As the documentary Bowling for Columbine suggested, many American TV shows and films scare their viewers so much that they will buy and do anything to feel safe. Some of the stuff American citizens are frightened about are fears you would associate with a primitive Third World country or not a Western industrialized democracy: Satan, going to Hell, socialism, atheism, sex, and human nuditynote 
    • American Churches: Outside the USA, many people have the impression that all Americans are devoutly obsessed with God and Jesus and will do anything to force their conservative ideals on others. The amount of cults and/or spin-offs of Christianity in the USA is amazing, from Mormonism over Scientology to Christian Science. Even the national pledge of allegiance is held to "one nation under God" and the US president will frequently conclude his speeches with the phrase "May God bless America." Compared to other Western countries, a large amount of Americans frequently visit their local religious community, pray, believe every word in their religious books literally, and get scared or angry when confronted with someone who merely suggests that Church and State should remain separate. Despite having some Truth in Television, many foreign news casts and documentaries have a tendency to focus on the most extreme pious, intolerant, corrupt, money grabbing, near insane God fearing fundamentalists instead of the average, moderate, non-judgemental church goers. Historically, the United States didn't have a health care system like other democratic Western nations have, so being part of a religious community often used to be the only way to get aid from your local neighborhood during sour times.
    • Only in America: In foreign eyes, Americans seem to have very odd, almost contradictive repressive attitudes towards children, adolescents, and even adults. Owning guns is O.K. Praising the military is wonderful. Watching extremely violent, bloody, and gory films is an innocent pastime. But the mere sight of a bare breast or genitalia is a gigantic Berserk Button, despite the fact that gun violence is more harmful than human nudity. Countless American films, series, and public broadcasts try to discourage people from having premarital sex. Yet, at the same time, American media desperately tries to suggest nudity and sex, but always just shy away from actually showing it. It's almost tempting fate. The subject is so often censored and avoided in the USA that whenever a glimpse of nudity or sex does appear in a film or TV series, it immediately causes excitement and/or controversy. A lot of it hardly bats an eye in Europe, where violence is the most common subject for censorship, especially regarding minors.
      • Another example is the legal drinking age in the U.S.A. of 21 years old compared to the age of 16 or 18 in most European countries and 18 in the neighboring Mexico. Despite being one of the biggest beer drinkers in the world who promote 'having a beer with your buddies' constantly in the media, the idea of teenagers having alcohol is just too frightening!
      • From the South Park episode "I'm A Little Bit Country": "Imagine an entire country founded on saying one thing and then doing the other."
      • Many Americans see nothing particularly hypocritical in not wanting nudity on network TV in the day, but do enjoy it on late night HBO. Also note that the U.S. has a large porn industry and for most of the second half of the 20th century sold many issues of nudity magazines like Playboy, "Hustler", "Penthouse" and "Screw". Even though Americans often claim they don't have a problem with sex and nudity their personal attitude towards the matter in the media is far more prohibiting than in Europe. It gets to the point that most American mainstream films and TV series that specifically have sex as a major topic or theme still have remarkably few actual nudity in them.
  • Outside the U.S., a stereotypical image of the dumb, fat, lazy, ignorant, loud-mouthed, self-important, decadent, prudish, and clueless white American exists. Most of these images are based on American fast food culture which has spawned a lot of morbidly obese people. Of course, in foreign countries sitcom characters like Archie Bunker, Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, and Peter Griffin are often seen as representative of the typical American.
    • Americans only guzzle down unhealthy food, including (but not limited to) hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, burritos, deep pan pizzas, barbecue ribs, potato chips and similar crunchy snacks, fried chicken, turkey, chili, chocolate bars, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, apple pie and drink either soda, energy drinks, or beer. They only visit snack bars, all night dining restaurants and fast food chains.
      • It really doesn't help that Adam Richman's Man v. Food is widely screened outside the USA and serves to confirm the widely-held notion that a huge chunk of Americans are obese, waddling gutbuckets. Even the standard portion of whatever foodstuff Adam is sampling is vastly spilling-off-the-plate larger than a comparable eatery in, say, Britain, would serve. And Adam himself visibly gains a lot of weight over the course of the series.
  • America is also known for the significant amount of recreational drug use prevalent in the country (far more than any other developed nation) resulting in many common stereotypes, including: drunken, giggling men celebrating St. Patrick's Day in New York, unshaven roadside hippies listening to Jimi Hendrix while stoned out of their minds in California, drug-abusing gangsta rap and hip-hop stars, large crowds full of intoxicated teenagers and young adults dancing wildly to booming rave and club music at house parties, the shaken mental patient recounting his illuminating and/or terrifying hallucinogenic drug experiences, crowds of dazed stoners campaigning for the marijuana legalization on "4/20", cigar-chomping businessmen, celebrity alcoholics that drink and drive, beer-guzzling/cocaine-snorting heavy metal stars, crystal meth-addicted gun-brandishing Southern rednecks, and perpetually depressed emos addicted to prescription drugs and heroin. A great deal of the drug abuse prevalent in the United States is due to the extreme policies of the War on Drugs started by Richard Nixon in the late 1960s (and championed further by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s), which criminalized and imprisoned people for drug use rather than invest in addiction clinics or solution to the poverty conditions that led many to drugs in the first place. This "War" is now seen as a miserable failure and has caused a lot of societal damage throughout the country, especially to the poor and minorities (although some substances have been decriminalized and legalized in specific states).
  • America’s stereotypical reputation as a country of morons - to put it bluntly - is also fed by the fact that so many news reports about insane fundamentalists, crazy conspiracy theorists, horrible accidents, failed stunts, terminally unhealthy people and stupid corrupt politicians always seem to come from the U.S. In the country itself such wacky news events seem to concentrate in Florida, California, Texas, Utah and Washington. American public schools and even universities are notorious for being far below a decent educational level and general knowledge, compared with other industrialized and well-developed countries. This stereotypical image is further fed by the fact that basically any citizen of the United States can blabber whatever he or she wants, because they are protected by the freedom of speech and know very well that it will give them enough media attention if they shout loud enough. Also adding to America's non-intelligent reputation is that since the 1950s quite some U.S. Presidents have come from bizarre backgrounds and are more televisually intrigueing than anything else. These include an army general without prior political experience, a womanizer who looked like a fashion model, a peanut farmer/nuclear engineer, a Hollywood actor, a former oil tycoon/baseball team owner (and son of a former president), an amateur saxophonist, and a businessmen and reality TV show host without any political or military experience before he was elected.
  • American Accents and Stock American Phrases: In foreign fiction all Americans speak with a Texan accent and in a nasal brawl. They will use slang expressions like: "hi", "hey", "yeah", "O.K.", "howdy", "cool", "wow", "awesome", "gross",... and I'm like...", "goddamn", "oh my god", "jesus!", ... and words like "buddy", "pal" and "dude". Afro-Americans will speak in jive.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: Outside the US, particularly from a UK/AUS point of view, there are names that are thought of as being quintessentially American-esque. Suitably macho, jock names likes "Chad", "Todd", "Brad", etc. for boys, and cutesy names like "Tiffany", "Candy", or "Britney" for girls are great examples, and if Americans are spoofed in media produced outside the US, you can bet a name like the above will be selected. If you tell someone from outside of America that your name is 'Randy', expect raised eyebrows (especially in Britainnote ). Americans are also known for sometimes having rather an ''interesting'' taste in names, often striving for something "unique" rather than traditional — one only has to watch American talk-shows to see guests with names like "Jaxxon", "Sharpay", and "Sharadiant". Even dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist conservatives like Sarah Palin exhibit a penchant for rather strange names, with her children — Bristol, Piper, Track, Willow, and Trig...
    • In foreign fiction, all American men will be called Joe, Hank, Al, Barney, Chuck, Billy, Jim, Bob, Buck, Tex, Donald, Larry, Randy or Jack. They will preferably be The All-American Boy.
  • America Takes Over the World: Thanks to Hollywood, American TV shows and the Internet virtually everybody in the world with access to modern media is familiar with many aspects of American culture, even those who never visited the country in their entire life. To name an example: the USA is the only nation in the world where foreigners may be able to name some of the states, solely because they have heard them mention so often in films and TV series (try to do the same for Australia, Canada, France, England or China and all you get is a blank stare.) Naturally the global dominance of America's aggressive marketing has also caused criticism in other countries. Numerous foreigners fear that American corporations destroy all the authentic and picturesque traditions of their own cultures. Many children and teenagers across the world have picked up American slang expressions like "O.K.", "yeah", "oh my god!" and "cool" in their own everyday speech, even if they don't speak English! They all gladly embrace American popular culture, merchandising, and consumerism, and dismiss their own country's traditions as ''uncool'' or uninteresting. In some countries like France and Germany, there is even a tendency to protect their own language by dubbing all American series and films on TV and forcing radio stations to play a majority of music in their own native tongue.
    • To snobbish people, the USA seems to lack any actual art or sophistication and is centuries behind the cultural traditions of other continents. But how could it be otherwise, they say, if more government spending is used for the military and college sports than the American public school system?. Everything made in U.S.A. seems to be campy, decadent, unoriginal, dumbed down, overcommercialized kitsch only created to serve the ''almighty American dollar''. This image is particularly influenced by the power of huge multinationals like Disney, Coca Cola, Pepsi, McDonald's, General Motors, MTV, Microsoft and Apple who appear to be everywhere. Hollywood and Beverly Hills dominate movie and TV screens and give us dumb and shallow blockbuster movies, campy soap operas and sitcoms with laugh tracks. All American pop music is bland, watered down and appeals to cheap emotions only, without any authentic appeal or artistic vision. The USA seems to have no philosophical or literary tradition of any note, except infantile superhero comics. Literature fans still wait for the Great American Novel to be written. Their culinary tradition is downgraded by their tendency for fast food and soft drinks. If snobbish foreigners really want to point out what makes America's idea of culture so different they tend to point at stuff like Disneyland, Las Vegas, the Playboy mansion, pink limousines, shallow beauty contests, and phony award shows. In reality, of course, not all Americans enjoy this stuff. The USA is not even the only country with multinationals or shoddy unsophisticated stuff, and there are enough Americans who have made and endorsed art, education and technology of a more sophisticated and less commercialized nature. Many American film classics are internationally respected for being great works of art. Jazz is widely seen as the truest and most unique American art form and one could argue that even country, blues, rock, soul and hiphop have something authentic and original in their roots. The Great American Novel may not have been written yet, but there have been some strong contenders for that title up to this point.
    • From the Simpsons episode "30 Minutes Over Tokyo", when the family visits an American themed restaurant in Japan
    Waiter:: Don't ask me; I don't know anything! I'm product of American education system. I also build poor-quality cars and inferior-style electronics.
    Homer: [cackles] Oh, they got our number!
    • Foreign audiences associate American media with big budget spectacle. Consider the fact that Hollywood is the only place in the world where millions of dollars are used to make films and TV shows about sensational topics. And mostly because they can export it to the rest of the world, even if fails to make a profit in the U.S. During the first half of the 20th century, westerns were their most successful international export product. Since the second half of that century, it's mostly blockbuster action movies with long fight sequences, spectacular explosions, and gratuitous bullet rains.
    • American Television Stations: Though most people in the world watch a lot of television, Americans tend to be stereotyped as obsessive TV watchers more often than other countries. Possibly because so many films and TV series are made in the U.S.A., but also because there are so many different channels. It seems as if there's so many airtime to fill that producers just throw in any soap opera, drama, comedy, talk show, movie, reality show, animated series, or religious show they can cobble together. Only to have them interrupted by long commercial breaks every seven minutes. The amount of re-runs is staggering and has caused many Americans to know a lot of films and TV episodes by heart.
    • American news programs also come across as very biased and sensationalist propaganda tools for either the government or the political party in the opposition.
    • Similarly, the tendency towards Americanization also irks many people across the world. Stories of foreign origin are often changed to appeal to an American audience. This in itself isn't that strange — other countries may do it, too — but when the United States does it it usually goes too far. The setting of a foreign story is completely changed to a typical American town so that American audiences won't feel too alienated. Characters will be replaced by typical American everyday men and women who speak in hip slang. If some of the foreign elements are kept they are often reduced to being stereotypes, like, for instance, a Funny Foreigner whose English and strange, exotic manners are obviously out of place compared to our all-American protagonists. In general, the entire tone of the adaptation feels very dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Subtle touches, authentic atmosphere, meaningful dialogue, controversial elements, political, cultural, and historical references are all removed, because producers assume that most Americans will be unable to understand or handle it. A complex plot will be simplified and the trailers for American audiences will focus more on low-brow comedy, explosions and violent action sequences. What non-Americans tend to oversee is that not all American audiences are in favor of these "Americanized" watered down versions.
    • America, and especially Los Angeles, are also infamous for loving and celebrating pop culture beyond belief. Theme parks, midnight movies, drive-ins, TV marathons based on a particular film genre, fan clubs, cult classics, geeky fan conventions,... all originated in the US. Americans really enjoy everything that's campy and bizarre, no matter how dumb, shallow, bad, or lousy it might be. People gather around with friends to watch their favorite films or TV episodes for the zillionth time. They will dress up as their favorite fictional characters for Halloween. Hosts of horror movie themed TV shows will present the film of the week in costume. Fans will buy or trade issues or rare bootlegs to add to their proud collection. T-shirts and posters are created around certain artists, characters or quotes. Other countries have started following this phenomenon in recent times, but still the sheer fun and excitement built around celebrating certain franchises, films, TV series, cartoons, comic strips, video games, Internet series, or musical artists can only be experienced full in the US. The only downside of this behaviour is that some people have the impression that Americans live too much in these fake made in Hollywood fantasies and base their entire world view on that.
    • The USA also has a close association with comic strips and animated cartoons. Despite not being the inventor of these media they did popularize and commercialize it globally. The USA has a broad variety in comic book genres, but still Superhero comics are often regarded as the most typical American. Typical in the sense that these superheroes are well known across the globe, but more thanks to movie adaptations than the actual comics, and thus only seem extremely popular in the USA itself. Foreigners will often mock superhero stories for being nothing more than naïve, childish and formulaic tales about some caped crusader with omnious superpowers, gained from some absurd incident during his youth. The character will typically be running or flying around in a Paper-Thin Disguise and beating up ridiculous supervillains, while shouting badass lines. As usual he will triumph in the end, because, after all, he has super powers, so how could he be beaten? Especially in Europe readers can't relate to these heroic characters and prefer their own, more down to earth comic strips series about everyday people. This also explains why American comic strips and cartoons about identifiable ordinary pitiful losers, such as Peanuts, Donald Duck and The Simpsons have always been far more succesful in Europe.
  • In (beat 'em up) videogames, American fighters (generally) come in one of two flavours, adhering to the distinct types presented by the Eagleland trope: Type 1 examples will often positively portray the all-American hero, and include patriotic, military powerhouse Guile of Street Fighter Fame, who has the Stars & Stripes tattooed to both shoulders, as well as the Hot-Blooded, cheerfully friendly Terry Bogard from The King of Fighters. Felicia from Darkstalkers also (arguably) represents Type 1, being a friendly, caring sort who wants nothing more than to make it big on Broadway.
    • Type 2 examples are more numerous, the most obvious being Rufus of Street Fighter fame, who is morbidly obese, arrogant, very dim, chats absolute crap and has moves with sci-fi names (Galactic Tornado, Space Opera Symphony). Poison, also of Street Fighter (originally Final Fight) fame is very much Type 2, and is presented as overtly sexual, sleazy, sassy, and obsessed with money. In Rival Schools, one of the teams is made up of three American exchange students who sum up Type 2 almost completely; There's Roy, an arrogant, xenophobic Jerkass, Tiffany an outrageously costumed, ditzy cheerleader complete with Valley Girl expressions and pneumatic boobs, and finally Boman — a preacher in training. A good Mixed Flavour Type example is Ken Masters of Street Fighter fame, who is definitely cocky and brash, but is also an honourable person and shown to deeply care about his friends and family.
  • When playing sports: all Americans will be playing Baseball, American Football, or Basketball, usually with some cheerleaders jumping on the side. All these sports originated in the United States and remain far more popular than soccer, which is universally beloved in almost every country, except in the U.S, where many of the world's most iconic soccer players are almost obscure.
  • Some animals that are seen as "typical" American (despite the fact that many also live in Canada and/or only in certain parts of the USA) are the bald eagle, mountain lions, grizzly bears, American black bears, beavers, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, mooses, reindeers, alligators, raccoons, striped skunks, opossums, muskrats, gila monsters, rattlesnakes, bisons and buffaloes, turkeys, and groundhogs.
  • If you have to emphasize that you're in the United States, don't forget to reference the following clichés: the bald eagle, apple pie, baseball, basketball, American football, a ticker-tape parade, a gun show, corn, (Thanksgiving) turkeys, skyscrapers, prairies, coyotes, canyons, the Star Spangled Banner, Mount Rushmore, The White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood sign, rockets, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Gospel Music, Country Music, Frank Sinatra, Rock 'n Roll, Elvis Presley, Hip-Hop, a fast food chain (preferably McDonald's), Coca Cola, large cars driving over deserted roads, a school shooting, hamburgers, hot dogs, cowboys, Native Americans, and Mickey Mouse.

  • Old stereotypes show them as slaves, working in cotton fields and singing bluesy songs. If they are a bit better off they are portrayed as servants, butlers, cooks, shoe shiners, or ''Mammy'' maids. They enjoy eating watermelons and/or chickens or playing dice games. Typical for those times they are depicted as being lazy, dumb, superstitious, primitive, or overly submissive ("Yes suh, no ma'm") to their white superiors and scared of ghosts. If a black character is joyful, he is usually an Uncle Tom or Uncle Remus type of character.
    • Most of these stereotypes still exist today, but are often used for the sake of parody or Refuge in Audacity. When these offensive characteristics are Played Straight today, they are immediately met with controversy.
  • Modern stereotypes depict them as either being jazz musicians, gospel or Doo-wop choir singers, baptists with loud and punctuated speech, basketball players, dancers, computer geeks with large glasses, N-word dropping stand-up comics, rappers, soul singers with large Afro-hair, gang members, pimps, and prostitutes. They always talk in jive and are usually cool and sassy. Black males are also stereotypically depicted as being fatherless individuals who were raised by a single, neglectful mother or grandparents on welfare, have extremely bad tempers, obsessed with collecting Nike shoes like Air Jordans, having dropped out of their poorly funded and maintained high schools, are promiscuous to the point of having many children by different women and have to pay child support for their children, while black women are either portrayed as welfare queens, having even nastier tempers, stressed out or neglectful baby mamas, or more positively, the strong, independent black women.
  • Throughout most of the 19th and 20th century, the USA was depicted in foreign popular culture as a place where all white men were racists and/or members of the Ku Klux Klan who oppressed or lynched black people. Often the American president himself would be depicted as a white "nigger-hating" asshole. In more recent times, this idea has died out, save for news stories about white Police Brutality against black people and getting away with it without legally being persecuted, and starting in the 2010s, protests always happening because of it. Foreigners still have the impression it's tough to be black in the USA, but it doesn't seem as awful as it was before 1964.
    • A more surprising notion for people outside the USA is that Afro-Americans are still a minority in the USA. They only take up about 12% of the general population! From watching American films and TV series one gets the wrong impression that there are about as much Afro-Americans as white people in the USA. (This has a sliver of truth in it, since American TV shows are more likely to be set in cities, and in some American cities it is entirely possible to see as many black faces as white ones over the course of a day. In suburban and rural areas, not so much.)
  • In a multi-racial cast, especially in family media and comedic works, chances are the African-American character will be presented as comparatively level-headed, a sort of racial take on Closer to Earth. If that is the case, you may expect lines about "white people stuff" delivered as sarcastic comments on the antics of the other characters.

    Native Americans 
  • Historically, they have been called "Indians", a word that is still used outside the U.S.A. In the United States themselves, the word is no longer considered politically correct and they are referred to as "Native Americans" or "American Indians." (Obviously, Native Americans themselves have various individual preferences, but usually, either of these terms is least likely to cause offense.)
  • In previous centuries, The Savage Indian was a common stereotype, fed by the 18th and 19th century Western idea that they were basically violent and primitive savages who just needed to be wiped from the country they lived in for centuries. Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows and countless westerns have also cemented this image inside people's heads. The standard script depicts them as follows: When The Natives Are Restless, they will start pounding a large drum and dig up their tomahawks. After mounting their mustangs, they attack every stagecoach, covered wagon, or fortress in the neighborhood. They shoot arrows or throw tomahawks at their victims all while ululating by putting one hand in front of their mouth (something real life Native American tribes never did, but was introduced by Buffalo Bill's shows). When they capture "palefaces", they either scalp them right away or take them to their Tipis And Totempoles village first. There they will tie them up against their totem pole and dance around the pole afterwards. When that is over and done with, they will take turns in throwing tomahawks at their tied up prisoner to test his courage. After that, they will scalp him or flay him alive.
    • However, most of the time they are shown being far more incompetent. They have a tendency to drive too close to the white settlers only to be easily shot off their horses or fortress walls to die in dramatic poses. Even when they sneak up an unsuspecting victim, they will still blow it by ululating loudly before they can actually kill him. Usually, the white men will hand them some "firewater", which the Natives will consume in great quantities, rendering them drunk afterwards.
    • Brown Face: Another racist stereotype is the image of the "redskin". In comics, cartoons, and illustrations, Native Americans will all have a dark red skin. In the years before political correctness came in, even Caucasian actors have portrayed Native Americans by painting their own skin red.
  • All Native Americans speak Tonto Talk in a deep voice, while mentioning words and phrases like "How", "Ugh", "Um", "white men", "pale face", "brother", "ancestors", "many moons ago", "Big Chief", "pale face speak double talk", least once a sentence. They all have names where a state of character is combined with the name of an animal, plant, or something other nature-related. For instance: Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse,... The only tribes that seem to exist in popular culture are Apache, Cherokee, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Blackfoot, and Sioux.
  • A more positive depiction of Native Americans that became the norm since the 1960s is the Noble Savage or Magical Native American, all of them badass. They will be Perfect Pacifist People who prefer smoking the Peace Pipe and signing peace treaties with white men. Unfortunately, they are usually the victim of the white man's greed and colonialism. Often they live in such harmony with nature that they only kill as many buffaloes they need and not a single one more. Usually will provide the foolish white man with a Green Aesop about nature and the danger of destroying the environment. This image has become so strong that they are often used in environmental messages, like the Crying Indian.
  • Other stereotypical images are Indian women carrying their papoose ("child") in a bag on their back, indian maidens and The Chief's Daughter falling in love with a white prisoner, thus saving his life. When Native Americans make friends, they perform a Blood Brothers act. All communication is done by sending smoke signals to one another. When they travel, it's usually by horse or canoe.
  • In popular culture, Native Americans are virtually a historical artifact. Stories set in the modern age hardly show them, except as proprietors of Native American Casinos. Those who aren't are poor, live in reservations, and are either alcoholics, diabetics, or both.
  • Native American characters also show up a good deal in beat 'em ups, and are almost without exception presented as being nature-loving, spiritual, calm, and dressed in the archetypal attire. Examples include the towering Thunder Hawk of Street Fighter, Michelle and Julia from Tekken, and Nightwolf from Mortal Kombat.
  • When multiple Native Americans appear in a single piece of fiction set in the modern day, you'll likely see these two stock characters: a noble and friendly traditionalist who will gladly tell old legends to the (presumably outsider) protagonist, and a bitter cynic who treats the customs of his or her own people with derision. Usually, in the end the doubter rediscovers his/her roots. The traditionalist is commonly old and male, but sometimes there is an inversion, and it is a youngster throwback to the Old Ways who shows the disillusioned elders that they have strayed.


    American West 
  • Alaska: (see The Arctic at the top of the page)
  • Hawai'i: Pretty girls with long black hair, coconut bras, and grass skirts who enjoy hula dancing and put flower garlands ("leis") over every tourist's shoulders. The island has a very relaxed atmosphere with parties ("luaus") and people drinking soft drinks while wearing Hawaiian shirts, surfing, and playing the ukelele. There are also a lot of pineapples, Tiki statues, and pigs roasted at the beaches. And, of course, the word "Aloha" most be mentioned or sung at least once!.
  • California: A state where liberal-thinking people live in the sun, near the beach. California also has a strange universal attraction for people outside the state to either visit or move to the place. In the 19th century, the "gold rush" motivated many fortune seekers to move here. During the 1960s, all hippies wanted to travel to San Francisco. Every child in the world wants to visit Anaheim because of Disneyland and every aspiring actor and director dreams of making it big in Hollywood.
    • San Francisco is best known for its streetcars, Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica pyramid, Star Fleet Headquarters, wineries, Silicon Valley, earthquakes, Chinese people, homosexuals, and hippies.
    • Horrible Hollywood and It Came from Beverly Hills: Los Angeles is universally famous for Hollywood, palm trees on both sides of the road, Beverly Hills, and its Silicon Valley.note  In popular culture, it will always seem as if everyone is busy making movies there. Indeed, many film crews just make their pictures in Los Angeles, with the result that even if it's not explicitly stated as being in Hollywood the Anytown, USA will still be recognizably L.A. You have the successful A-movie stars who are just as rich as they are arrogant and narcissistic. They all live in huge secluded mansions with a private chauffeur, jet, tennis court, and swimming pool. There they lead a decadent lifestyle full of expensive parties with drug-induced orgies. Either they have a Happy Marriage Charade for the press and public or add their umpteenth divorce on the list. Their only genuine ambition is winning an(other) Oscar and getting even richer. Especially those who have been in show business too long seem to have lost all sense of realism or normality. When they appear in public they wear sunglasses and try to put on a charade by keeping a fixated fake smile at all times and laugh in an equally fake way about the most mundane things. Older actors and actresses will reminisce about their glory days, yet are lucky if they get a bit part in a new movie nowadays because they are old, ugly, and almost forgotten. Virtually all of them have had some Magic Plastic Surgery at one point, which may lead to an Uncanny Valley Nightmare Face. The rest of the city is populated with aspiring unknowns who dream of becoming a Hollywood star, yet are still obscure losers who struggle to make ends meet. At best they will end up in a low-budget porn movie or B-movie with bad special effects. A sleazy Corrupt Corporate Executive will exploit naïve actresses by showing them his Casting Couch. He won't have a dime for a creative, original script, but is happy to pump millions of dollars into a bland, dumb, unrealistic blockbuster full of clichés and platitudes that nevertheless provide audiences with lots of A-list celebrity stars and a satisfying happy end. If someone's script is accepted, it will still be victim of Executive Meddling.
    • The San Fernando Valley is best known as a heaven for surfers. It's full of dumb bikini-clad blondes (Valley Girl) or equally brainless surfer dudes who all speak a specific slang ("Whoa, that's like, totally radical, dude!") made universally popular by MTV's Spring Breaks.
    • Apart from that Los Angeles is also infamous for police helicopters flying everywhere, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and huge riots that put whole neighborhoods on fire. The irony that the fake illusions of Hollywood are made here is not lost on foreigners.
  • Oregon has an Unknown Rival relationship with California. Apart from the standard Californian stereotypes, Oregonians stereotype Californians as rich, snobby carpetbaggers who can't drive properly and raise property taxes. Interestingly, the two states have roughly the same values politically, both being reliable blue states in any presidential election. Oregon would probably argue that it has the real environmentalists while California only has the slick poseur versions. Splitters!
    • Californians are also stereotyped as having property in the Bend area. (... Although, to be fair, the region is also a popular vacation spot for Oregonians and Washingtonians.)
    • Portland is full of hipsters and is perpetually stuck in the 1990s.
  • Washington (state): Known for being full of hippies, environmentalists and pretentious hipsters.
    • Washington is also well-known for rain, even though roughly half the state is desert. In addition, Seattle is actually drier than many other American cities in terms of measured rainfall (most of the rain comes down as light showers rather than large storms). The Olympic Coast, however, plays the stereotype completely straight, being drenched in over 120 inches of rain a year and being cloudy a good chunk of the year; there's a reason Twilight is set here.
    • Seattle, Washington is known for computers, the Space Needle and the grunge movement.
  • New Mexico is lucky to be considered part of the Union at all, most of the time it's kind of off to the side and gets awkward looks from everyone else.
    • Truth in Television: The state's tourist magazine runs a monthly column called "One of Our Fifty Is Missing," for readers to report real-world encounters with others who honestly don't know that New Mexico is a state, leading for example to requests to show a New Mexico passport, etc. One of these was an experience recounted by a former governor of New Mexico.
    • New Mexico is further known for being a former testing ground for atomic bombs and a military top secret base where the government hides extraterrestrial aliens ever since the 1947 Roswell incident. In reality, the only aliens the local authorities fight are illegal immigrants from over the Mexican border.
    • Also well known for Albuquerque, where Bugs Bunny should have made a left turn and where Walter White ran a drug empire.
  • Arizona is The Wild West. It's extremely hot and sunny here, enough to melt a snow cone in Phoenix. All rural (much of the landscape really is, but in terms of the population, in reality, Arizona is one of the more populous states in the union, has the highest percentage of the people living in cities with over 100,000 people of any state, and its capital, Phoenix, is one of the ten American cities with a population of over a million) and the population consists of outlaws, Cowboy Cops, and bartenders. Anybody who tries to enter from the south will be shot on sight. Half of the locations are all known for their national parks (Grand Canyon National Park, Petrified Forest, many Indian reservation camps,...) or their Western connotations, like Yuma, Tombstone and the O.K. Corral. Arizona is also nicknamed "The Copper State", because copper is the predominant mineral. Historically it is furthermore well known as the last of the lower 48 states to join the United States. It's also known as the state where John McCain was a senator.
  • Utah: See Mormonism, because nobody knows or mentions anything else about this state besides its Salt Lake or, for older people, The Osmonds. Basically, Utah is stereotyped as some kind of weird Mormon theocracy and a de facto foreign country on U.S. soil. Polygamy, which the Mormon church endorsed until 1890, is a case of Never Live It Down. Also known for Monument Valley, an iconic symbol of The Wild West.
    30 Rock's Jack Donaghy: "I thought by now you'd be someplace that U.S. law couldn't touch you, like Bali or Utah."
  • Colorado has something of a duality. On the one hand, there's Colorado Springs, aka the Vatican City of Protestant fundamentalism where everyone owns a gun and lives in the mountains. On the other, there's Boulder and the ski towns, home of the Granola Girl, the New-Age Retro Hippie and, for the latter, rich celebrities making a second home, all of them snowboarding and getting high. And if you're from Denver or (especially) its suburbs, you're either a wannabe Badass Longcoat who's thinking about shooting up High School or the movie theater, or ducking and covering to get away. Eastern Colorado, of course, does not exist, consigned to the same void of nonexistence as the western slope or anything south of Colorado Springs. And it the state South Park is set in and were creator's Trey Parker and Matt Stone live.
    • Post-2012, when marijuana was legalized for retail sale, everyone smokes it freely and openly.
  • Nevada: Best known for Las Vegas and all the degenerate and decadent stuff that can be found there. Stuff that is illegal elsewhere in the USA is legal here, including gambling and prostitution note . In popular culture the place is both portrayed as a place of fun, as well as a shallow and degrading hangover afterwards. It's known for cheap and quick weddings, Elvis impersonators, and washed-up former stars who perform kitschy shows there for nostalgic audiences before they finally croak. Since it was founded by mobsters expect some shady businesspeople, mafiosi, drug dealers, drug users, pimps and prostitutes to appear here too. The rest of Nevada, apart from the Poor Man's Vegas in Reno and hundreds of hotels and motels, may as well be labeled "Here There Be Aliens."
  • Everyone in Idaho lives in a potato field, Boise, Deliverance country (where everyone is part of the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nation), or a boring small town that's apparently stuck in the 90s like Napoleon Dynamite.
  • Montana is generally portrayed as having nothing but vegetarians/vegans, survivalists, libertarian psychos, and militia nuts. Geography includes nothing but mountains, forests, and national parks, with towns and cities all isolated as a result. It gets incredibly cold in the winter, if not year round. Within Montana, people from Missoula are pot-smoking pansexual hippies, people from Bozeman just moved there from California/Colorado/Washington and are trying to subvert Montana's tradition of Rugged Individualism, and eastern Montana is a frozen wasteland full of Norwegian Lutherans (in other words, North Dakota). Oh yeah, and Hannah Montana lives here, as well.
    • Another popular stereotype is Montana having an extremely low population density; except for a few cities here and there, it's miles and miles and miles of empty rolling plains.
  • There are, of course, no stereotypes of people from Wyoming since no one lives there. Well, maybe there are cowboys in the mountains but that's about it. The only reference in popular culture will be Yellowstone National Park where geysers, bears, rangers, redwoods (never mind that true redwoods are only found in California) and forest fires are everywhere.
    Garfield: There's no such place as Wyoming. Think about it. Have you ever met anyone from Wyoming?

    American Midwest 
  • Apparently, a lot of people think that North Dakota is a frozen wasteland with less than five people and not one of them has seen an ATM before. At least our banks aren't failing. North Dakotans also have a reputation as heavy drinkers, which is largely Truth in Television (as of this edit, we have the highest per capita alcohol consumption rate in the nation). Rowdy oil roustabouts who couldn't find work back home live here. Many of the stereotypes traditionally associated with Minnesota also apply to North Dakota.
  • South Dakota is famous for Mount Rushmore... and features nothing else. (Except possibly Wall Drug). It doesn't matter how you drive into the state; it'll always be the first thing you come across. The rest of it is pine trees, highways, and wasteland. In truth, eastern South Dakota has the overflow crowd of Norwegian Lutherans, for a lot of it.
  • Kansas is apparently where rationality, science, and fun are all burned alive for witchcraft. It used to be just that big flat area people hurried through to get to the Rockies. The rest of the world knows it for the song Kansas City and the black-and-white scenes of The Wizard of Oz. Comic book fans know it as the residence of Clark Kent.
  • Missouri is known for its poverty, crime, heavy meth use, and for being a miserable conservative hellhole due to its name often being mispronounced as "misery" (it's pronounced "mih-ZURE-ree" with emphasis on middle syllable). It's mostly remembered for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. If you live in an adjacent state (other than possibly Arkansas), you think the southern part (south of I-44 if you're generous, south of I-70 if you're not) is populated mainly by hillbillies; if you're from further away, you probably think that about the whole state.
  • Minnesota: Minnesotans are seen either as hicks with snow instead of rusted-out cars, or pleasant, blonde suburbanites always willing to help you, if you don't want to (see Minnesota Nice). Either way, likely to be depicted as socially conservative but politically liberal, closer to earth Good Old Boy types, all of whom are Lutheran and Swedish. See Ole and Lena. At the start of the 2020's, it also became the place where the George Floyd protests started.
    • Another popular stereotype is that Minnesotan winters are the coldest, harshest, most brutal winters in the nation, freezing the entire state solid.
  • Iowans are obsessed with corn, with fields of it stretching for miles in every direction, no matter where you are. Expect to see plenty of tractors and whistling farmers. Oh, and John Wayne Gacy.
    • Des Moines, Iowa: the reason why Bill Bryson left town and came to England, making a rep as a famous travel writer, journalist, and occasional TV presenter. Without actually saying so, he implies the cloying crushing boredom of his home town and native state was the biggest single prompt to him to get up and go as far away as possible.
  • Nebraskans still drive covered wagons, live on farms, and raise corn and cows. They are also rabid Cornhusker fans, loving the team even more than their own families.
  • Depending on what part of Michigan you're from, you're either a violent gangbanger (Detroit/Flint/Pontiac area), a tree hugger (Grand Rapids), a rich snobby Jew (West Bloomfield), a rich snobby WASP (the rest of Oakland County, save Pontiac, which see above, plus Macomb County and Grosse Pointe), a rich snobby foodie tree hugger (Ann Arbor), a stern Calvinist fundamentalist (Holland and the rest of West Michigan), an Archie Bunker-type white Ronald Reagan Republican who lost your job on the line (Monroe County, Downriver, much of Lansing area), or a hick who does nothing other than hunt (anywhere north of the Saginaw-Muskegon line). And don't forget da Yoopers: still a hunting hick, but with a cool accent and pasties, ya?
    • Detroit is best known for the following things: its status as the Motor City, where America's cars and trucks were made, RoboCop, the birthplace of Motown, deep-dish pizza, Little Caesars, and its massive depopulation (down to around 672,000 people within city limits, from a peak of over 1.8 million in the fifties).
  • Illinois: People are apparently either stuck-up, hypocritical, politically corrupt snobs with a Chicaaagaa drawl ("Daaaaa Bears"), or they're murderous gangsters, like the Sicilian Mafia ruled by Al Capone during the 1920's or young, black delinquents of the present made infamous by the Drill Music scene. During the heydays of Michael Jordan, it was internationally known for the Chicago Bulls basketball team. And they'll advertise the fact that Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield, Illinois before his presidency constantly...
  • "Hi, we're visiting Ohio!" "...Why?" This especially applies to Cleveland. In other words, Ohio is known for being one of the most tediously neutral states in the U.S., filled with livable but mostly uninteresting and often miserable cities. It is sometimes confused with Iowa because of their similar vowel-heavy names.
    • For some reason note  suburban Ohio is considered one of the default locations for an all-American traditionalist small town, just like its neighbor Indiana.
  • Indiana: The Three Kinds of Indiana: hicks who could've been from Alabama if they weren't wearing snowboots and a winter coat; whitebread Everytown, America-ish suburbanites (particularly around Indianapolis and the Chicagoland region); and Inner City Indiana, for which the exemplar is Gary, Indiana, AKA the Armpit of America, where the chemical factories and steel mills release a putrid perfume for all to smell and where the cops will beat the crap out of you, cite you for marijuana possession... and proceed to smoke it right in your face. But to the rest of the world, Indiana is associated with Indiana Jones' first name and the Indianapolis 500 race. Most recently the state passed law which grants business owners the right of conscience to refuse to serve customers whose lifestyles and opinions offend them especially those who object to gay marriage. It caused a national outrage with many businesses cutting ties to the state and making it so that the Indiana government went back to revise the language in the law. The law ultimately didn't do any lasting damage, as Mike Pence, the governor who signed it, later became Vice President.
  • Wisconsin: Beer, cheese, beer cheese, bratwursts, cows, beer, cranberries, beer, the Brewers, the Badgers, the Packers (treated as a publicly-owned state religion), and (if you're really with it) Summerfestnote . That's it. Oh, and Germans. LOTS of Germans. And beer. Oh yaaah, and all dose women who come from Wisconsin in the media will always be a middle-aged housewife who speaks wit' a Scandahoovian accent, don'chaknow? Oh You'betcha! Milwaukee, one of it's cities, is known for it's breweries and where infamous serial killer and rapist Jeffery Dahmer lived.
    • Minnesota may have the stereotype of being frozen solid during the winter, but compiled weather data reveals that Madison and Milwaukee rank as the 1st and 4th coldest major cities in the entire country. 2 and 3 are respectively Anchorage, Alaska, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. IT IS FUCKING COLD HERE!

    American South 
  • The most important thing to remember about the American South is that it is a uniform mass. All parts of it, from small towns in the deep South to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, are identical and interchangeable.
  • It is also important to remember the boundaries of the American South, which, according to some TV shows, take in the entire country except the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.
  • Deep South: The American South is often depicted as the most rural part of the USA. There are supposedly no cities with modern facilities, just miles of farmland or steep, backwoods, forested mountainsides with here and there a tiny rural town. Either that or cotton fields. The Mississippi River is usually not very far off too and a river boat may pass by, if you're not attacked by an alligator or surprised by The Great Flood. Typical animals in these regions are skunks and opossums. Everybody here either lives on a farm, in a trailer or in a wooden house with a front porch. All people live In Harmony with Nature and enjoy the simple life, still stuck in the days of The American Civil War and/or The Great Depression.
  • If the American South is portrayed in a positive light it will be because of a Call to Agriculture. The region will be portrayed as a romanticized area where you can enjoy the simple life in and on a farm or a mansion with a plantation. There are lots of opportunities go out fishing, walk in the woods or drive in a pick-up truck past the cotton fields and listen to local Jazz, Blues, Cajun, Zydeco, Bluegrass, Folk Music and/or Country Music artists. These images are cultivated in stories like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Uncle Remus stories, Gone with the Wind, Li'l Abner, Pogo, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dukes of Hazzard, Forrest Gump, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and virtually all Americana folk music from the 19th century until halfway the 1950s. You may even encounter an intelligent redneck here.
  • The Savage South, Southern Gothic and Lovecraft Country: If the South is portrayed in a negative light it will be a setting for crime and horror stories. There may be an abandoned Haunted House (The Amityville Horror) where some axe and/or chainsaw murder took place (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, In Cold Blood). Something may be lurking in the swamp (Creature from the Black Lagoon) or local villagers are out to get you in some other way (Deliverance, The Hills Have Eyes). Even in the less fantastical works the South is the place where people will have to use all their wits, faith and will power to fight against a hostile population or the entire local legal system for that matter (To Kill A Mocking Bird, Inherit the Wind, The Crucible, In the Heat of the Night,Cool Hand Luke,...). It's also popularly associated with bankrobbers, con-artists or escaped chain gang criminals on the run (Bonnie and Clyde, Paper Moon, Dillinger (1973), The Defiant Ones, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang,...)
  • Typically, all white people are stereotyped as primitive, slow-witted and uneducated gap toothed slack-jawed yokel rednecks and hillbillies. They all have double names (Billy Bob, Mary Lou) or biblical names (Ezechiel, Jebediah) and are very religious Christians. All of them are Republican voting good ol' boys who don't believe in the evolution theory, yet see UFOs everywhere. Everybody is still frustrated that they lost the Civil War, yet confident that The South Will Rise Again. They hang out the Confederate Flag, deny the Afro-American Civil Rights Movement ever happened and wish slavery was still in effect. Some of them are ugly and stupid as a result of inbreeding and fancy their cousins.
  • There are several types of Southern white stereotypes:
    • 1) The dirt poor farmer (Pa) who lives together with a disciplinary Apron Matron (Ma), a Southern Belle daughter whom he'll protect at all times and only give away in a Shotgun Wedding. He might have a grandmother who smokes a corncob pipe and has a shotgun. Inbreeding is rampant with Kissing Cousins and all, which has contributed to their ugly looks and stupidity. They will do nothing besides sit around in a rocking chair all day, chew and spit tobacco, drink Hillbilly Moonshiner liquor from a jug, play banjo and stare menacingly at every stranger passing by with the words: "We don't like what y'r doin' here, strangyur". Whenever they feel threatened- or if something moves in their vicinity - they will reach out for their handgun and shoot. Or they just call out for an old-fashioned lynching. Sometimes they may have a centuries old feud with some other family. If they enlist in the army they'll be a Southern-Fried Private.
    • 2) The corrupt, racist, xenophobic, pot bellied sheriff in Sinister Shades who supposedly obeys the law, yet informs everybody: We do things our own way here. This typically involves having no trials or one where a Simple Country Lawyer and/or a Hanging Judge who will invariably chose the side of the sherrif and sentence you to heavy fines or a lynching by hanging. All his prisoners are typically Working on the Chain Gang alongside the road.
    • 3) The even more Corrupt Hick Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit who lives on a plantation. He is constantly dabbing himself with a handkerchief or uses a fan for the same purpose. Typically he smokes a cigar, uses a cane and/or controls the local town. He has put all his brothers and cousins in high governmental positions. At night he is a closet Ku Klux Klan member. Can be a charming and sophisticated, yet arrogant and untrustworthy Southern Gentleman too.
    • 4) A fire-and-brimstone preacher who is staunchly conservative, judgemental and intolerant. He believes every word in the Bible literally, denounces the evolution theory and will engage in exorcisms, magical healings, river baptisms and stuff that is a mix between fraud and superstition. Is either Baptist or Pentecostal and will be supported by Moral Guardians and frightened locals.
  • Of course, there are black people in the South too. In outdated popular culture they are still treated as second-rate citizens, work in conditions that are supisciously close to slavery and will frequently be lynched by Ku Klux Klan members. Stereotypes still in fashion to this day portray black Southerners as loud preachers who punctuate their speech and engage in Gospel Music singing. Or they'll be blues guitarists who went to the crossroads to sell their soul to the devil in exchange for their talent. Or Jazz artists playing in a local brass band.
  • Louisiana is a subset of the Georgia/Alabama/Mississippi Deliverance country, except everybody speaks French patois and may be a Ragin' Cajun. And there's New Orleans. New Orleans is drunk and debauched (or was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina) and will mostly be filled with Mardi Gras, jazz bands, violent gangbangers who live in impoverished ghettos, and voodoo-practicing Witch Doctors. Occasionally, a traditional Mississippi river boat will pass by. Expect hurricanes or floods to regularly destroy everything in its vicinity. Alligators inhabit every lake.
  • People from Tennessee are either hillbillies who play banjos and sleep with their cousins, typical fat Deep South rednecks, or in the case of Memphis, murderous inner-city thugs who will beat you up, steal your wallet, and stab or shoot you to death if they think you might have more than $5 on you. The hillbillies are all on meth, the rednecks are all drunk, and the gangstas guzzle codeine cough syrup by the quart. The exceptions are Nashville, which is populated entirely with country musicians, Memphis, with blues musicians, and Graceland, which is filled with Elvis freaks.
  • West Virginia is considered an acceptable target even by the most politically correct people out there. According to the rest of America, West Virginians are all uneducated, white trash, racist, dirt poor, toothless, shoeless, gun-toting hillbillies who eat raccoons and have moonshine running through their veins. The state pastimes include hunting squirrels and having sex with their cousins, then letting their inbred offspring drive when they're two-years-old.
  • Texas: Howdy Y'all! Everyone in Texas is a gun-toting, horse-riding cowboy who eats nothing but gigantic steaks and huge bowls of chilli, drinks nothing but gigantic servings of beer (Shiner, Lone Star, or Budweiser if you have it), whiskey, and tequila, and drives a gigantic pickup truck. Texans all wear big cowboy hats, carry lassos, and attend rodeos every evening, where they'll square dance, gamble, ride a mechanical bull and eventually start a shootout.
    • Houston is home to the Space Center, where a problem might be informed and San Antonio is historically remembered for the Alamo. TV watchers world wide also know it for oil-bearing ranches, as depicted in Dallas, the same city where John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
    • Everything Is Big in Texas: Texas is associated with gigantic beers, steaks, pickup trucks, cowboy hats and guns. Even the stories that people tell here are so exaggerated that they have earned a special name: tall tales. The most famous tall tale character Paul Bunyan is even a giant!
  • Mississippi: Everyone who lives in Mississippi is poor, morbidly obese with a heart condition, and lives in an old-fashioned one-floor house next to the Mississippi River. Also, since Mississippi is America's most devoutly religious state, Mississippians will be portrayed as crazy Baptist fundamentalists.
  • Oklahoma: Texas's dumb little brother. Everyone who lives Oklahoma is either a proud Native American living in a teepee, a dumb-as-rocks, meth-addicted hillbilly living in a trailer wondering why the "ternaders" always blow his house away, the Right-Wing Militia Fanatic, the Southern-Fried Private, or a Corrupt Hick oil baron or rancher. The entire state is made up of flat, featureless prairie, with no trees or hills to speak of, and has a climate that is either boiling hot or freezing cold depending on the time of the day or year. Bison herds can be found anywhere with open space. Tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, and even acts of domestic terrorism are daily occurrences. Common pastimes include watching college football, shopping at Walmart, having sex with your sister, and making fun of Texas and/or Kansas. Residents will kindly tell out-of-staters to leave and never come back. The government rivals most third world dictatorships in terms of brazen corruption. Whatever you do, don't call it Midwestern. The rest of the world knows it for the eponymous musical Oklahoma!.
  • Florida is stereotyped as one big sun-drenched tourist destination where there's a giant theme park in every city, enormous, overcrowded beach resorts across the coastline and alligators roaming the streets. It's home to Disney World, Universal Studios, Cape Canaveral, Miami Beach, Palm Beach, The Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, Key West and more. It's almost as if you can't live in Florida without being surrounded by attractions.
    • Only in Florida and Only in Miami: The people who live in Florida are stereotyped as some of the dumbest, weirdest and most insane people in the world. They're depicted as extremely dim-witted surfer dudes, drunk college students, ditzy beach babes in bikinis, hippie nudists, reality TV stars, cultists, conspiracy theorists, gun-loving libertarian maniacs, crazy old retired people, neo-Confederates and deranged criminals who commit extremely strange crimes. Florida is so well-known for its sheer number of inexplicably ridiculous incidents that it's resulted in the the creation of a character in popular culture, the notorious "Florida Man" due to the frequent usage of this term in news headlines in reference to people responsible for bizarre occurrences in the state. Fittingly, the only U.S. President from Florida is also by far the weirdest one: Donald Trump.
  • Kentucky is known for bluegrass musicians, tobacco, horse racing, bourbon, college basketball, Fort Knox, the annual Kentucky horse race and of course, its famous fried chicken.
  • Virginia overall is seen (by those who are even aware that Virginia and West Virginia are separate states) as the reddest of the red states, inhabited solely by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, George Allen, Ken Cuccinelli, and Eugene Delgaudio. As soon as the locations for Amazon's HQ2 were announced, newspaper comment sections filled up with wildly inaccurate speculation about what the affected part of Virginia is like. This also plays into the divide between Northern Virginia and the rest of the state.
    • Northern Virginia itself is stereotyped as being full of rich yuppies who all work for the government or are lobbyists. The wealthy part is somewhat Truth in Television as Northern Virginian counties have some of the highest average incomes on the country, as well as incredibly high costs of living, though the yuppie part is more up for debate. Northern Virginians are also known as being Northeast wannabes, probably due to the high amount of northeastern transplants in northern Virginia. The news media also portray Northern Virginia as more business-friendly than Maryland or the District.
    • Virginia as a whole has shifted considerably in recent years, voting Democrat in the past three Presidential elections and in the 2019 elections for both houses of the General Assembly, with its western neighbor taking the "reddest of red" mantle. This is at least partially due to the increasing dominance of state politics by three large Northern Virginia counties and to demographic changes in those counties. However, stereotypes take a long time to die.
  • Delaware: (in monotone) "Hi. We're from... Delaware."
    • "Delaware. That's a state, but most Americans don't even know that, unless they live there."
    • Delaware is best known as America's First State. They were the first ones to sign the constitution that made them part of the USA. It is also the state of incorporation for about twice as many publicly traded corporations as the rest of the country combined, prompting journalists who don't understand corporate law to ask why so much corporate attention is focused on Delaware.
  • Depending on what show you're watching, Washington, D.C. is populated entirely by either (1) high-ranking administration officials and corrupt national politicians or, (2) military service members and federal government workers, or (3) shameless corporate lobbyists on K Street and various corrupt defense contractors or, (4) the News Media (5) MPD officers, drug kingpins, and corrupt municipal politicians. Either way, it is obligatory for depictions of local geography to be horribly wrong, everything is the exact opposite of whatever the writer considers to be good and just, and a Georgetown hostess with a hairstyle that is several decades out of date often makes an appearance. Also, versions (1) through (4) of D.C. have absolutely no long-term residents.
    • The city has spawned its own literary genre, the Washington novel, which purports to show Official Washington as it actually is (according to the author). Some critics dismiss the Washington novel as a subgenre of the Airport Novel
    • No matter where you go, you can always see the Capitol, The White House, The Pentagon, or the Washington Monument. And the Lincoln Monument will make a cameo as well. Other architectural cameos will be made by the Smithsonian Institution.
      • The American President is a stereotype in itself. When actual presidents aren't directly referenced themselves a standard version of the American President will be used. Democratic Presidents will be portrayed as an Expy of John F. Kennedy. Republican Presidents are usually portrayed as an Expy of Richard Nixon and/or Ronald Reagan. Invariably they all look up to Abraham Lincoln. In American fiction the President will always be a good, decent man who cares about his people. He may have some flaws, but they only make him human and don't diminish his heroic stature. In foreign fiction the portrayals tend to be more cynical and show him as either a bumbling imbecilic fool, a closet racist or a corrupt, war mongering lunatic. Or he is just a puppet in hands of his Vice President, the Minister of Defense, the CIA or the FBI. In either way he will be involved in all kinds of shady conspiracy theories which plan the overthrowal of foreign regimes that disobey Washington's orders by organizing new wars to please the American gun lobby. All the President wants to do is push the red button and nuke the world to smithereens. Typically all his government meetings take place in the Oval Office or the Pentagon and without any interference or approval from the House of Congress. Apart from political and economical mayhem he may also have extra-marital affairs with his secretaries or other women, as made (in)famous by Bill Clinton. In America itself negative portrayals of the American President occur more in direct satirical attacks of a specific real life president, usually from the viewpoint of people from the opposite political ideology.
  • Georgia (U.S.A.) will almost always be treated as a backwards hicktown that is extremely white and extremely intolerant (see the 30 Rock episode "Stone Mountain"). The sole exception is its capital, Atlanta, which is 54% black (and they're all hip-hop artists), home to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), two major universities, the world's busiest airport, and some of the largest medical and industrial facilities in the country, and actually has the 3rd highest population of LGBT people in the U.S. (behind San Francisco and Seattle). It's known as the home town of Coca-Cola, Martin Luther King Jr, where Ted Tuner founded TBS and CNN, and Delta Airlines. But at least since Ray Charles, it is "always on our mind".
  • Alabama is best known for being the state where cowboys ride "with a banjo on their knee", the song "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the homeplace of Forrest Gump. On a more negative note, it's also the home state of the Ku Klux Klan (even though neither incarnation of the Klan was founded there) and many furious race riots in the past, plus its politics regarding abortion and gay marriage. Also famous for the city of Montgomery, where Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her bus seat to a racist white man notably set off the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • North Carolina. Best known for the export of cotton and tobacco. Cape Hatteras is known as "the graveyard of the Atlantic" because of the huge amount of ships that sank there. Cape Fear is infamous because of the thriller Cape Fear. Kitty Hawk is remembered as the area where the Wright Brothers made their first flight.
  • South Carolina: Charleston is known for inspiring the dance style "charleston". On a negative note, white South Carolinians (the entire population, according to the stereotype) are often stereotyped as the most reactionary people in the world.
    • Since it was the first state to secede from the Union during the American Civil War, and produced two of the most notorious racist senators of the Jim Crow era (Ben Tillman and Strom Thurmond), white South Carolinians are the most likely Southerners to be depicted as racist Neo-Confederates. The state itself still apparently accepts the Confederate dollar during purchase and there is a Confederate flag waving on every other building in sight. If you watch the national news, you might have heard the phrase "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum;" that phrase was coined by its anti-secessionist attorney general James L. Petigru in 1860.
  • Arkansas is commonly confused with Kansas due to the name's similarity. Home of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African American students who were initially unable to attend the city's central high school due to their colour. Other than that, it's best known for Wal-Mart and Bill Clinton.
  • Maryland: Maryland is where government employees who work in DC live or retire to (always Maryland, never Virginia.... the closer they are to the conspiracy, the better) and is full of nothing but Catholics (it was founded as the only Catholic colony and is home to the oldest Archdiocese in the United States). Baltimore is usually seen as a run down town where you'll be shot and where The Wire is set in. Marylanders all over are obsessed with Orioles Baseball, Raven's Football, and eating blue crabs with Old Bay. Generally its where the government hides top secret things related to aliens and conspiracies when they want to keep it closer than Nevada and New Mexico. The parts east of the Chesapeake Bay and north of West Virgina never get mentioned.
    • In the news media, it's different. Maryland consists only of Baltimore and certain suburbs. It's obligatory to suffix any place name in Maryland with "near Baltimore," whether or not that's true, unless the town's name begains with B, in which case the name is simply changed to Baltimore. Also, the news media used to hold up Baltimore as the shining success story of progressive urban policy; when that turned out not to be true, it became the city where progressive urban policy had never been tried because of Maryland's anti-urban, deep red political climate; in actuality, it's a very blue state with its population made up almost entirely of the Baltimore and D.C areas and with a legislature that tends to be generous to Baltimore. In July 2019, when Donald Trump criticized Baltimore, the city as portrayed in the news media, which tend to favor Democrats, changed overnight from a hellhole for which Governor Hogan, a Republican, deserved all of the blame to a paradise for which Hogan deserved none of the credit.
    • Insofar as the news media do recognize the existence of places in Maryland outside the Baltimore metropolitan area, Montgomery County used to be Exhibit A for the idea that Washington-area fat cats live off the sweat of the rest of the nation. Given demographic changes, this baton has been passed to various Northern Virginia counties.
    • Other stereotypes about the state that are more common in and around it are:
      • Everyone there Drives Like Crazy, and probably doesn't even know what their turn signals are for.
      • The state is filled with grouchy workaholic commuters who are permanently burned-out from working long hours only to spend all their time off driving home in the Beltway gridlock and do it all again the next day, comparable in connotation to angrier Germanic Depressives (perhaps rather fitting, given the long history of German immigration to central Maryland, particularly in Frederick and Montgomery counties).
      • Western Maryland is essentially just Diet West Virginia.
      • Prince George's County is essentially just Diet Baltimore or Diet D.C. (see above). In fact, it is sometimes called Ward 9, implying that it is an extension of D.C., which has eight wards.
      • That everyone in the state is unhealthily obsessed with its flag.
      • Somewhat less prevalently, that the state is filled with people who just generally aren't wrapped too tight.

    American Northeast 
  • New Jersey is full of corrupt politicians, organized crime, industrial pollution, ill-behaved Italians, Stepford Suburbia, emo teens, The Sopranos, and Jersey Shore. It also has Vegas East—better known as Atlantic City. (Don't forget what's left of your wallet when you leave).
  • New Yorkers are stereotyped as loud, rude, self-absorbed businesspeople who are constantly late for work, always on their cell phone and hate being interrupted or accidentally bumped into ("Hey, I'm walkin' here, pal!"). They are known for their love of coffee, bagels and New York-style pizza (which is better than Chicago-style, and they'll make sure to tell you this). They are also known for their extremely liberal and left-wing views and how they believe that New York is the best place on Earth for all of humanity, welcoming immigrants with open arms and always boasting about how many immigrants the city has.
    • In Hollywood films and TV series, New York City is always the most prominent target for giant monster attacks, Brooklyn Rage, ghosts that need to be busted, turtles living in sewers, alien invasions, environmental disasters, or science fiction wars. In fact: if a story has to take place somewhere other than Everytown, America, it will always be New York City. Despite being something of The Big Rotten Apple in popular culture...
    • When in New York, make sure that you show the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Broadway, Wall Street, The New York Stock Exchange, Times Square, the UN Headquarters, Brooklyn Bridge, King Kong or many Jewish actors or comedians like Woody Allen. Play "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra on the soundtrack. Mention at least once it's "the city that never sleeps." Whenever the Statue of Liberty is shown, it's often in a historical setting with immigrants arriving by ship in the harbour. And of course skyscrapers can be seen everywhere.
    • New York City has five boroughs, namely the Bronx (where Hip-Hop was born, the Yankees play, and the Bronx Zoo can be visited), Brooklyn (historically an immigrant neighbourhood, full of Brooklyn Rage), Manhattan (cultural and economic heart of town, exemplified by Times Square, Wall Street and cultural icons like the Empire State Building, Broadway, Central Park, and several museums.), Queens (which is like Brooklyn, but bigger, with fewer hipsters and more Mets fans) and Staten Island (which would be welcomed into New Jersey if it were even one iota less repulsive).
    • Harlem is basically seen as a neighborhood where everybody is African-American. In popular culture it is either depicted as a place where you will get robbed or shot, or where African-American gangs are holding rap and break dance competitions.
    • Irish-Americans are also thought of with much ignorance-fueled suspicion in Great Britain as a bunch of ignorant dolts with a chip on their shoulder about The Irish Question whose dollars in donation to Northern Irish "charities" subsidized the most murderous Irish terrorist groups for nearly thirty years and kept them in bombs and bullets.
    • Although after 9/11, when the USA was itself the victim of a terrorist attack, donations to Irish terrorists from North American sources dried up overnight — the penny had finally dropped about what terrorism does and people were less willing to inflict this on others, even on the Brits.
  • Rhode Island has the worst drivers in America, coffee addicts (Dunkin' Donuts to be exact), cannot give directions, think a 45-minute drive is a daylong trip, and have the most corrupt government that you'd ever see... it'd make Tony Soprano stand in awe. They also have an inferiority complex with Massachusetts, especially pertaining to their big colleges (RI's Brown and MA's Harvard). Too bad Massachusetts already has its own inferiority complex for New York and hasn't really noticed. Rhode Island is basically the New Jersey of the New England states. And it's also the state where the fictional city of Quahog is in.
  • Pennsylvania is known as the hometown of religious groups like Quakers and the Amish. Apart from that they have a strong link with their historical past:
  • Maine: We have lobsters, moose, lighthouses, and beaches, some of which are more rock than sand. For the most part, Maine exists as one big tourist attraction, and the idea that it still exists in the winter is an idea limited solely to skiers and natives. For the rest of New England, Maine is Yankee redneck country. And if you see even the slightest thing out of the ordinary... run. Run as far away as quickly as your legs can take you.
    • There's also trees. Lots and lots and lots of trees. It's called the "Pine Tree State" for a reason. The state flower is even the pine cone, which isn't even a flower.
  • Massachusetts: Full of rich, pretentious WASP Harvard graduates who hate Yale University, or loud, obnoxious, drunken Irish-Americans... and sometimes both. Have a bit of an inferiority complex with New York, especially pertaining to sports teams. Dislikes EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE LIST (except the Irish or British, depending on social class), occasionally giving an exception to other New Englanders. The MIT nerd is sometimes seen. The Boston Brahmins are often seen as being socially liberal, as they crusaded against slavery, drinking, and segregation, in addition to being the first state to legalize gay marriage. This is seen as genuine care, while California is thought of holding these views superficially (along with everything else).
    • Massachusetts is also well-known for its historical events. From the Mayflower landing near Plymouth Rock in 1620, to the Salem witch trials, the 1775 Battle of Lexington which sparked the US War of Independence and the 1776 Boston Tea Party.
    • Boston is known as the birth place of Benjamin Franklin and known for the 1770 Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's midnight ride and the annual Boston Marathon.
    • Rural Massachusetts is Lovecraft Country, if it's portrayed at all.
    • If you're in Massachusetts, Western Mass is either where you go to college or is another plane of existence. If you live in any of the surrounding states, it either doesn't exist or is where all the farmer's markets are.
  • Vermont: Either cheese and maple syrup or the Oregon of the east. Take your pick. Also, apparently the "moonlight in/on Vermont" is quite a sight, according to some songs. Oh, and everyone owns guns.
  • Connecticut: Had you actually bothered to learn that Connecticut is a real place on the map, you would probably think of its people as rich, snobby Rockefeller Republican Yalies who hate Harvard. Preppy style clothing is frighteningly common, especially among the baby boomer generation. The only entertainment available here is the local library, college sports, and the nearest mall.
  • New Hampshire: Libertarians who sell alcohol at highway rest stops (in stores operated by the state, no less) and don't require you to wear your seat belt while in a car. Live free or die note , indeed. Traditionally also the first state to held primary elections every four years in the process of choosing the delegates to the Democratic and Republican national conventions which choose the party nominees for the presidential elections. They also used to be known for a rock formation that appeared to be the jagged profile of a human face when viewed from the north: The Old Man of the Mountain, but it collapsed in 2003 due to centuries of freezing and thawing. Also where everyone from Massachusetts with some money moves to.
    • The Lakes Region and the White Mountains are where you go for the weekend if you're from Massachusetts.
    • The Seacoast is where you go for the weekend if you're from New Hampshire or eastern Quebec.
    • If you're from New Hampshire, Manchester (or "Manchvegas" if you live in NH) is a drug-infested den of iniquity and hell on earth. If you're from anywhere else, it's a pretty mundane city with limited but relatively decent nightlife options, along with some surrounding bedroom communities that aren't bad places to move to.
    • Nashua is New Hampshire's unconscious expression of its own inferiority complex with Massachusetts manifested via awful urban planning and vapid suburban sprawl, and the areas near Merrimack and Tyngsborough in particular can best be summed up as "alternating rows of chain restaurants and office parks with a few strip malls added for good measure".
    • If you're from Massachusetts, Portsmouth is where you move if you're a young professional who doesn't want to live in the Boston area. If you're from New Hampshire, Portsmouth is that place that used to be cool before the yuppies started to move there to escape Boston rents and turned it into a cesspool of featureless, grotesquely overpriced luxury condos and obnoxious trendy gastropubs with $16 appetizers.


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