Random Thoughts on Ethnic Stereotypes

The title of this post probably makes it sound like it will be more substantial.  No, this a Random Thoughts from Satan post, and not that deep.  I was just looking at the search “Hayden Christensen Movie Trailer” on youtube for laughs, and laugh I did.  But it occurred to me that in “Little Italy” he was essentially doing brownface.

As many people have pointed out, across the world there are varying definitions of white.  To a Persian guy in Iran, he’s white.  To a Berber in Egypt, she’s white.  It’s defined by having somebody darker than you, and usually further south.  So to some Germans, I expect, Italians are not white.  And by that definition, a Scandinavian Canadian with his hair darkened rocking a tan to flip pizzas would be doing brownface…  Although I found out he’s like 1/4 Italian, so *chef’s kiss* mama mia!  Uncancelled.

In all this I caught myself being amused at the cute ethnic stereotypes of the world, which is, I expect, not SJW kosher.  And yet, how can you not automatically be charmed by people with funny accents?  So cute.  One time I was in a basic English class at the community college, while I was reading aloud some depressing stuff I wrote, it prompted my teacher to say “My God man, are you a drinka?”

It was one of the highlights of my life, honestly.  He was so Jewish his name was Murray and he was from Brooklyn, where in the summers it was like a foinace, oy vay.  Freaking delightful.  I wonder, in places less mainstream blando Anglo-American, would my accent charm and amuse?

As an exemplar of the most over-represented culture on the planet, I kinda doubt it.  C’est lavie.  I’ll have to be cute in some other way.  Maybe my taste in shoes…


  1. says

    Stereotypes can be amusing provided they’re not insulting. For example:

    Romanians: Italians with Russian accents.

    A joke and truism I tell people:

    Americans tell jokes about the French. The French tell jokes about the English. The English tell jokes about the Germans. The Germans tell jokes about the Poles. The Poles tell jokes about the Russians. The Russians tell jokes about Ukrainians, etc. ad nauseum.

    Canadians tell jokes about Canadians.

  2. kestrel says

    You never know. Someone just might find your accent enchanting!

    My last year of high school my family moved to Atlanta GA… and we were moving from UT. So to all the people in Atlanta, I had a weird foreign accent that absolutely fascinated them. They would all gather ’round to hear me say “you guys” which they found particularly hilarious. A great experience actually.

  3. says

    Intransitive – The Italian-Russian thing reminds me, to my ears most Eastern European accents sound like variants on Russian, but skewed in the direction of something else. When I hear a language with smooth sounds, it makes me think of French, to Czech people turn into French Russians. The closest things I’ve heard to Bela Lugosi’s accent IRL were a Croatian guy I once worked with, and to a lesser extent an old Romanian woman I spoke with on a phone.

    Kestrel – That’s pretty funny. Utah to Georgia, eh? Over here in suburban Washington state, Utahan might be a tiny bit different in some cases but really hard to notice. We might as well be 5% Kurt Cobain-ish versions of Mitt Romney.

  4. wereatheist says

    Making jokes on the Polish is no longer en vogue in Germany.
    We call Italians ‘Spagettis’, and they call us ‘crucchi’, but the real problem is the hatred
    North Italians feel about, say Sicilians.

  5. wereatheist says

    A tradition of German tribalist joke is the ‘Ostfriesen-Witze’.
    There is no minority whom you could call ‘Ostfriesen’ in Germany (of course, it’s more complicated than that).

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