• Chantal Canales

Minority Stereotypes in Meme Culture

Memes- the early 2010s trend of posting pictures with the iconic white and bold captions have continued being a popular medium in media culture. In some cases, they can even target minority groups such as Latinos, African Americans, Asians and females. 

Here are 5 examples of memes that illustrate stereotypes and microaggressions.

This meme discusses how women are stereotyped as worse drivers than their male counterparts. I chose this meme because it demonstrates that despite all of the positive movement for female equality in our world, there is still a continuance of men thinking that women are inferior and they can't do anything as well as they can. As I came across this image on a website called me.me, I drove to the conclusion that the creator of the meme was most likely male. No matter how old this meme may be, judgments and stereotypes such as these trigger me as a female, as I don't like to be told I am not a great driver or I can't do anything as well as a man can.

When this meme came up on Google, I have to admit I laughed a little. I have received this comment on a handful of occasions when I explain to people that I am Latina, and they don't believe me based on my pale skin tone. This microaggression makes me aware of the fact that some people have stereotypes of what the average Hispanic or Latino is supposed to look like. Not all Hispanics or Latinos have dark complexions. This meme encourages the stereotype that all Hispanics have brown skin, without even considering someone's diverse background and ethnicities. 

Looking back to my middle school days, I remember memes such as this one constantly being spread on social media. It discusses the stereotype that Asians and Asian parents have high expectations for their children academically. While I did have Asian friends throughout middle school and high school that did perform well in their classes, I believe that their parents are not the sole reason for wanting to be successful. My friends who were Asian would make A's in all of their classes because they studied hard and pursued subjects they liked. This stereotype of the Asian parents having high expectations for their kids may be true in some cases, but it isn't something to make fun of or categorize an entire race as. 

Although I have never experienced this microaggression as I am not Black, I have had several friends who have told me on several occasions where people have asked them to touch or feel their hair. This microaggression is one that targets not only female African Americans but males as well. Created by a Black female and shared on Essence.com, this meme can resonate with the African American community, as many of them could have experienced this in their life. Through the meme, they are trying to communicate that it is not okay to ask someone to touch their hair. If someone were to approach me to touch my hair, I wouldn't want someone to invade my personal space as some Black people would. I believe that some Black people may connect with their race and heritage through their hair, however they choose to style it. Anyone who is not Black can appreciate a Black female's hair, but we can do so without asking to touch their hair. 

This meme expresses the stereotype that members of the LGBTQ+ community have "gay style" or dress according to their sexual orientation. In the media, I find that the stereotype of the LGBTQ+ community of dressing fashionably, wearing designer clothes or wearing bold clothing to be heavily influenced by portrayals in movies and television. Although I have had friends who identify as LGBTQ+ that did have a great taste in clothing, an entire group of people shouldn't be characterized by what they wear. Not all of them dress in a flamboyant way to get attention as the picture depicts.


Through memes we can not only see the stereotypes of many minority groups, but also feel the pain and anger felt of these groups through microagressions. No minorities or communities of people should be trapped under a stereotype, whether positive or negative. Minimizing their entire population to one or a few characteristics hides the fact that they have hardships in their history and diminishes the great diversity within each underrepresented group. If you limit your mind to one stereotype, you are not allowing yourself to see the greatness in culture and diversity in all people.