Racial stereotyping Ethnic stereotyping National character
Studies of national character were some of the earliest attempts to systematize cultural observations. Herodotus and Tacitus attempted to set down the essential traits of the neighbouring peoples they did war with, as did the book of Exodus. Racialist propaganda makes much of the inborn traits of blacks and Jews in the West and caucasians in the East. Despite tremendous advances in understanding the environmental, physical, hereditary and sociological forces at play in any social group, portrayals of national character continue to be promoted, some as the self-conscious folk prejudice it is, and others as the very edge of some revolutionary new grasp of humanity.
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