"So I started wondering, how do Americans really think about “those people” in other states? What are the most common stereotypes? For each of the fifty states and DC, I asked Google: “Why is [State] so ” and let it autocomplete.
The single most common result of all was “boring,” which appeared for 18 states with no particular regional concentration. Other popular terms (returned for >10 states) were “humid”, “windy”, “expensive”, and “liberal”. Strangely, Connecticut and Pennsylvania both returned “haunted”; apparently there are a lot of ghost sightings (and related walking tours). My favorite result of all was “enchanting”: New Mexico is beautiful. State pride!"
One more fun way to look at US states - Google autocomplete!
via no upside: Why are Americans so…
Simba’s impassioned post (On Being an African in the US: Navigating an Endless Web of Stereotypes) has generated a lot of discussion around the impact of negative stereotypes, and how to begin to change them.
It was clear that Simba wasn’t alone in encountering negative stereotypes while living overseas – and that America isn’t the only country in which they exist. Mada remembered what it was like to go to the U.K on a working holiday visa:
I remember one colleague used to come to me to give me updates on the wars going on in various places in africa and enquired on whether my relatives were ok. I told him several times the country I came from , Malawi had never experienced civil wars but this never got to him, to him africa was one big kingdom where everyone was related. I also remember how people didnt think I knew anything about computers but they later found out that I was more knowledgeable than them…
Commenter river_song (great name!) wrote on Reddit about an African friend in the U.S.:
I asked my best friend once what the most annoying thing that he’d had to deal with. He said what really upset him the most was how, to most people, there was just “Africa” and all the accompanying stereotypes or assumptions that go with it. There’s a huge variety of living experiences, quality of living, social and cultural heritages and political histories that no one considered. He said he hates the fact that to many people here, it’s like Africa was just one big homogenous place with tons of problems. Instead, it’s hundreds of different nations, tribes, cultures, cities, villages, towns, and people.
During my first week in the United States, I went to lunch with a group of American students to whom I had just been introduced. Pleasantries were being exchanged around the room, as was some great food and conversation. Everyone was immersed in those typical introductory conversations that revolve around hometowns, majors, dorm choices and so on.
Someone then brought up the excellent idea that it would be a great thing if we could all share our Facebook usernames so that we could contact each other in the future. With everyone agreeing that this was indeed a brilliant suggestion, a piece of paper was circulated around the room by a girl who we shall refer to as Girl X.
Girl X went around the table and collected everyone’s details, and then just as I was about to append my own username to the list, Girl X snatched up the piece of paper from my grasp and haughtily declared: “Oh wait, you don’t have Facebook in Zimbabwe, right?”
As soon as those words penetrated my body, my appetite evaporated completely. I was stunned and disappointed. Not just by Girl X’s tragic assumption that being African somehow disqualified me from knowing what Facebook was, but also by the emphatic assuredness and certainty in her tone.