Debunking the Race and Class Stereotypes

By Aissa Ouldbrahim

For as long as it could be done, American media has shaped the public’s views on race and class by creating certain stereotypes that correspond to each race. On the topic of wealth and class, there are many given attributes for each race that are wrongly presented. On one hand, there is what the media wants you to believe, and on the other hand are straight FACTS.


  1. White People

We all know the stereotype by which white people are labeled by. Whether it be showing off their many cars and mansions, or just splurging on frequent shopping trips, the stereotype white people are presented by screams upper class. Although this may be true for some white folks, here are some FACTS that may just prove economic power is not exclusive to one race.

-The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) found that one-third of the 13 million children living in poverty are white.

-One in every ten white people are considered to be below the poverty line.

-Most poor people in the United States are white.

-A majority of those benefiting from programs like food stamps and Medicaid are white.


  1. Black people

The stereotype for black couldn’t be worse in American media. Whether it is to fulfill a racial message, or just to present the numbers, most of the time black people are misrepresented in terms of wealth. Although some of the facts the media presents may be true, many outlets fail to recognize some other facts that show that class should not matter on the basis of your race. Some FACTS:

-There are 8 million less black people living under the poverty line than black people

-Black men have a 35% GED/ high school completion rate, compared to the 28% nationwide.


These and other facts are not mentioned in the media in order to enforce the race/class stereotype.

  1. Asians

Asians tend to get a pretty good rep from the American media stereotypes. Or as C.N. Le, PhD., a University of Massachusetts sociologist describes; “There’s an assumption that white Americans make about Asian-American social class status based on racial identity. It’s the idea of the model minority; that Asian Americans are successful, high income, studious, hard working, quiet,”.

Although this may seem true, don’t ignore the FACTS:

There are more Asian-Americans living in poverty in New York City than any other minority group

-1 in 4 Asian-Americans live in poverty (under the poverty line)

– The number of Asian Americans living in poverty grew 127% between 2007 and 2013 (higher than any other racial group)


  1. Hispanics

Hispanics also get a bad rep from the American media. Often seen as stealing jobs, not paying taxes, or even living in poor conditions, many of the portrayed stereotypes are completely false. The public shouldn’t ignore these FACTS that the media doesn’t show nearly as often.

-Over the past decade, the Hispanic high school dropout rate has the greatest percentage decrease between all races in the US.

-In 2015, Latinos with some college experience or more (56%) and U.S.-born Latinos (50%) were most likely to say their personal financial situation is either excellent or good.



Again, these are only a few facts that can be shown to combat the stereotypes often presented in American media. Whether it be through TV shows, characters in movies, or even just everyday jokes, many outlets fail to even bring up these facts in order to promote a racist agenda. By the looks of just a few of these facts, race does NOT determine class (contrary to the system’s beliefs) rather it is the individual’s work ethic that determines class and wealth. Remember, not everything you see on the surface is true.

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