Have you ever heard of these racial stereotypes?

I’m a bit nervous about posting this, but I’ve seen threads discussing racial stereotypes before without people crying “Racism!”, so here goes.

Disclaimer: I don’t actually believe either of these. They just struck me because I’d never heard of them before, but both were told to me with an “Everyone knows that!” attitude. I’m curious to just how widespread they are. I’m also curious to the origins of these, if any.

  1. Black people are loud in movie theaters.

This was said by a friend of a friend who said he avoids a certain movie theater because “a lot of black people go there”. At first I thought he was saying they talk on cell phones or have loud conversations with their friends, but he explained that they yell things at the screen depending on what’s going on in the movie. Like “Look out behind you!” or “You need to dump that asshole!” or “Shoot him! Shoot him!” (For the record, with the right kind of movie, I think this would actually be a lot of fun.) He seemed shocked and amazed that I didn’t know this, but couldn’t give me a explanation as to why this would be so.

  1. Bathrooms that are used by hispanics are filthy.

This one was from one of my husband’s coworkers. They’re in construction, and the coworker was ranting loudly about how he hates working at construction sites that employ a lot of “illegal immigrants” because they make the spot-a-pots all nasty. He was also shocked and amazed that I didn’t know this, but also didn’t have an explanation as to why this would be so.

Both of these seem kind of weird and random to me. So have any of you ever heard either of these? Also, does anyone know how either of these got started?

Never heard of either of them.

I’ve heard this one, but only, I think, from Eddie Murphy.

Don’t know how it got started but rent Scary Movie. It’s a pretty well known stereotype.

Could it be more along the lines of “bathrooms that are used by people who eat Mexican food are filthy”?

I’ve heard of both.

  1. Black people talk to the screen (as opposed to noisy)

  2. Hispanics don’t like to flush toilet paper (theoretically because the plumbing in MX tends to back up when they do)

I’ve never seen an example of the first one and my husband says the 2nd one is true at his work.

Experienced #1 quite a number of times.

However, I’ve seen three movies in theaters in the past eight years, so I don’t know if that’s still the case. None of those three had much appeal to an, uh, “urban” audience.

For #2, I’d expect it to be similar to “foreigners are lousy tippers.” Many recent immigrants wouldn’t know about tossing the used TP into the potty; in many areas of Latin America you’re not supposed to do it, as the sewage treatment if any is not equipped to deal with it - and once you think about it, it’s not so different from not tossing tampons in. Once they know it’s ok and expected to do it, they do.

I have actually heard #1 referenced by black comedians and co-workers as a fact. I also remember reading (possibly somewhere here) about it being linked to African-American churches and the tradition of call-and-response that is prevalent there.

I’ve heard of the first, I’ve lived the first. I’m originally from a large city with a large percentage of blacks and in general black people were louder in movie theaters than other races in the area I lived. That included loud talking to friends, talking to the movie and loudly talking on cell phones.

Stereotypes don’t come out of nowhere.

That actually makes a lot of sense. I’m surprised I didn’t think of that.

It looks like the blacks-talking-to-the-screen thing is not only well known (I’ve never seen Scary Movie), but actually (at least sometimes) true. Huh.

I’ve heard, and experienced, #1 all my life. Where I’m from, there are indeed certain theaters that people avoid to this day because they’re known for their larger than average black crowd.

Never heard #2.

Heard of the “Loud blacks in the theater” one, but have never seen an example.

I’ve experienced the second one. Worked in a community of probably 60% Mexicans, at least half of whom were recent immigrants, and I invariably had to pick up shit-covered toilet paper from the floor next to the toilet. It virtually never happens now, and I work in an immigrant-dominated area, but not primarily Mexican - Philippino, middle-eastern, east asian, and LOTS of other various nationalities

I also had to wipe piss off the seat and mop the piss off the floor constantly, but that still happens - were you not taught to raise the seat and aim for the water?


I’ve experienced the second one. As other posters have noted, many Latin American countries have poor sewage systems, and because of this it is common to toss used toilet paper into the bathroom wastebasket (if any) rather than the toilet. This becomes less common in places where second-generation and more assimilated immigrants gather. My workplace is one of the places where this happens. The first-floor ladies’ room, in particular, is pretty nasty, since there are no small trash bins in the stalls. In my own home, I have to make sure the bathroom trash cans are emptied and re-lined with bags on a regular basis, to avoid embarrassing situations when company visits. FTR, I throw all flushable items in the toilet, unlike other family members I could name. (I’m looking in your direction, Grandma) :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

It’s not racial, though, it’s cultural. My girlfriend’s nieces and nephews are the glow-in-the-dark type white kids you only get by breeding two Bob Jones University graduates, but because they’ve grown up in missions in Latin America, the first time they came back to the states to visit family, they had to be taught to flush their toilet paper.

Actually the answer to that may well be “no”. In the parts of the world you mentioned the squat toilet is more common, and presumably it requires a different set of skills. Lifting the seat especially must seem really filthy to a squat toilet use who is used to touching nothing expect the soles of his feet to anything in the bathroom. Anyway, Westerners screw up and get piss all over the place when they first start using squat toilets, so somewhere there is justice.

Exactly - my nieces and nephews that were born in Mexico still have to adjust to how bathrooms work here in the states every time they are on furlough.

My mom was a missionary in Thailand, and over there, they don’t use toilet paper at all in many of the bathrooms - and they don’t have “toilets” - you straddle a hole (there are even treads where you put your feet) and you pee/poop standing up. Then you don’t wipe - you use the cup from water barrel in the corner to wash yourself while once again standing over the hole. (My mom learned to have amazing bladder control and careful planning every time she went to town so that she could always wait to come back to the compound where she worked and use an ‘american’ toilet).

As for AA’s yelling at the screen - I worked for 2 urban radio stations and we often hosted movie screenings. And this happened over and over and over again. In fact, some of our jocks were the worst offenders. To the point that if they attended the screening, listeners would sit far away from them!

Another thing that we often experienced at the station events was “CPT” - (colored people time). It was generally understood that events would start late because listeners would arrive later - or we would have to have some kind of process in place to deal with CPT listeners. I, as a non-AA, would never use the phrase CPT in public. However, it was not uncommon for our Jocks, when they were emcee-ing events, to shout out, “Okay people, we are not on CPT here - this show is a go!”

As to why - I agree it is a cultural thing - however many cultures are often one more prevalent ethnicity and it then gets attributed to a racial characteristic.

I have personally experienced the AA’s talking loud in a movie theater. However in this case I honestly believe it has more to do with the fact that AA’s simply converse at a louder volume, and this translates into them being more likely to be noisy in movie theaters and restaurants. But I’ve never gone so far as to ‘avoid’ a place just because it was prone to NBP (Noisy Black People).

My own workplace employs a greater proportion of African Americans, and in the particular bus yard I work in, it is very noisy. People yell and whoop and holler over games of chess fer crying out loud :confused:

100% true, of course. This very idea has been the basis for numerous SNL/MAD TV/sketch comedy skits, standup routines, and most recently (and memorably) Scary Movie. It’s a double-edged sword, but there are times - and certain types of movies, like fun horror or dumb comedy - where I’ll actively go to the black theater because I know it’s going to be like this and that makes it twice as fun - kind of an urban Rocky Horror or something like that. On the other hand, I’m not heading over there for the Tarkovsky retrospective. :smiley:

edited: one of the funnest moviegoing experiences I’ve ever had was going to see the otherwise terrible 8mm in a packed theater full of yelling blacks on a Saturday night.

I’m not black - but I’m for me TV/movies are not spectator sports. I will participate - especially with sports. I’ll turn on those religious channels on TV, just so I can yell “Shut up!” and turn if off again.

I agree that the toilet thing is all about not being familiar with local practise.