East Coast vs West Coast stereotypes | Ask MetaFilter

East Coast vs West Coast stereotypes | Ask MetaFilter:

East Coast vs West Coast stereotypes
April 4, 2006 7:29 AM
Can you give me some stereotypes on East Coast vs West Coast differences?

I’m not an American. In about every media I’ve had contact (Metafilter included), there is some stereotyping of Blue State vs Red State, or North vs South, or Urban America vs Rural America (Yeah, I know most of these overlap a lot). And yeah, much of it is offensive.

But stereotyping among the Urban, Blue State population is either rarer, or subtler. About the only things I get about this is that West Coasters are much more informal than New Englanders, and that people in the West Coast tend to use their cars a lot more than New Yorkers, and everywhere but California is damn cold.

So, can you give me some stereotypes about these places? What do New Englanders think of Californians? What about Seattleites and New Yorkers?


some are funny, some are foolish, others have a ring of truth (like the avacado)

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One comment on “East Coast vs West Coast stereotypes | Ask MetaFilter

  1. jim says:

    late on this but here goes anyway –

    I grew up in NJ, 26 miles due south of Battery Park. I spent 5 years in different cities in the southeast (Richmond, Raleigh, Columbia, Charleston)and i’ve been living in Philadelphia for the last 8 years. I have an uncle who lived in Irvine for a while. Once when visiting he asked me if i thought of moving out there. I told him politely that there was no way I was leaving NJ for NJ with palm trees and weirdos.

    I think Philadelphians share the same, general east-coast stereotypes of people from California with extra scorn for LA. Philadelphians take a certain pride in their architecture and built environment so places like Alanta, Houston, LA are “uncivilized.” Places like Boston, San Francisco, and DC are favorable. I don’t think people here spend much time thinking about the differences from north to south on the west coast but the consensus among the educated is that people in LA are the worst and it gradually gets better as you go north.

    I think the intra-east coast rivalry is bigger, though. For one, people from New England also use the the term “the northeast” to mean the same thing. Which is ridiculous because everyone knows that the Northeast consists of New England and the Mid-Atlantic, which may or may not include northern virginia.

    Philadelphians think that Boston is mostly similar as a city except ridiculously expensive and all the poor people all live in the suburbs. the people drive like idiots and that they’re snobbish, rude and anti-social.

    of New York and New Yorkers – nice place to visit but too big for its own good. uncivilized. Full of competitive, pushy, fast-talking, super-rich, arrogant a-holes. And as a result the most expensive place on the planet.

    Baltimore. People think it’s all like the worst parts of North Philly – except the inner-harbor which is a perpetual point of embarrasment for Philadelphians when talking about Penn’s Landing. Other than that people think Baltimoreans are friendly and out-going and talk funny.

    DC. Love your rowhouses, give us your Metro. Keep your shallow and self-obsessed lawyers. It’s like NYC in that regard. Except people are slightly more friendly, at least to the point that they realize they can’t use you for networking. But at least NYC has some soul. DC is devoid of it – what with its transient culture and all.

    Pittsburgh. aka Cleveland East or Buffalo South. The midwest starts 60 miles west of Philadelphia. Nothing but deer-hunting hayseeds and unemployed steel workers. Nice people though. (i quite liked Pittsburgh)

    Anything south of Fredricksburg, VA is the dirty south. And southern hospitality, and this is my own experience talking here, is a load of BS. It’s just a veneer. They’re quick with the pleasantries with strangers but it’s not because they genuinely care about how you are doing, even though that’s the impression outsiders get. They’re more concerned that they appear hospitable. It’s still very hierarchical and everyone makes sure to stay in their place and keep up appearances. So they’re nice to your face and then when you leave the room the ridicule or gossip begins. And if you step out of your class/race/gender role with someone of a higher caste they remind you and if it’s with someone of a lower caste the gloves come off. From my experience people in the southeast have a lot more in common culturally with people in the northeast than either groups do with people on the west coast. There’s a common social language. The difference is that they’re at once more laid back and informal about life in general but a lot more uptight about formal situations and in the south you find yourself in formal situations a lot more often. For instance, when talking to elders or superiors, you’re expected to use a different social/speech register a lot more often down there. So as a yankee you can pick up the subtleties and social cues and you know what people are expecting of you – it just comes across as people being uptight, as peope up north would act if you hadn’t yet proven yourself.

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