Ten stereotypes about Pittsburghers

Ten stereotypes about Pittsburghers

Many people have heard people say “dumb blonde”, but not many people know where the saying originated from. Blondes are historically thought to be beautiful but rely on their looks rather than their intelligence. The fact that blondes are going extinct probably only heightens the stereotype that blondes are too stupid to live. The fact of the matter is that blonde hair is a recessive gene, and therefore it is getting less and less common each year. Each society has their own myriad of stereotypes to set people into different categories. Humans cannot keep track of the personalities and traits of every person they meet, and so they group people in clumps and make generalizations about them to make society easier to understand, even if it is a warped understanding. We do it ourselves every day, but it’s weirder to imagine that people we have never met may be leaping to conclusions about the ways we act and think. Here are ten stereotypes that people around the United States have about Pennsylvanians and Pittsburghers in particular.

 

  1. When people think of Pennsylvania, they often conjure up and image of the Amish. Perhaps the most common (and wrongly assumed) stereotype of Pennsylvanians is that nearly everyone living in this state is Amish. If an out-of-stater is asked to describe what type of people come to mind while thinking about Pennsylvania it isn’t uncommon for them to mention a man with an overgrown beard holding the reins to a horse-drawn carriage or selling fruit on the roadside. It is said that you know a man or woman is from Pennsylvania if they are friends with a person who has hit a deer driving more than once, but the only person I know who fits that description is from West Virginia.
  2. For a Pittsburgher the only thing more important than food are the Steelers. This stereotype is one of the most accurate for our city. In Pittsburgh there are four seasons: Steelers Preseason, Training Camp, the Season and Post Season. When people outside of Pittsburgh here the city’s name football is the thing that immediately jumps to mind – after all, the Steelers have won the most Super Bowls of any team in the NFL. Pittsburgh is also known for its enthusiasm for the Penguins. Perhaps after the success of this past season the Pirates will finally be on their way to breaking a twenty-one year winning streak and be one of the most mentioned aspects of Pittsburgh. At least the city is not tainted by Philadelphia’s reputation of being the meanest fans in all of baseball. Let’s hope that that generalization stays on the east side of PA.
  3. State dessert: Shoofly pie. It is weird when more people outside of the state know what the “most common” dessert of Pennsylvania is than those inside. Shoofly pie is a pie made of molasses so it attracts flies which must be “shooed” away. Who knew?
  4. You know a Pittsburgher when they use the AC and heater in the same day. Pittsburgh is known for being a green city. The next person who admits to this must move to the far side of the earth.
  5. You know a Pittsburgher when they say they live in “PA”. Accents are one thing, but Pittsburghers are known for making up new words or entire sayings that sound really out of place outside of the city- like calling the state by its initials instead of its name. Thanksgiving is coming up, and most of the world will have turkey with stuffing, but in Pittsburgh we apparently have “filling”, instead. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh my entire life, and none of my family calls stuffing by any other name (although it would smell as sweet). I’m not sure where that stereotype generates from, but now it’s a part of our identity. It cannot be denied, however, that in Pittsburgh it is just as likely to hear “pop” or “hoagie” as it is to hear “soda” or “sub”, and teachers have definitely “called off today” from work while weathermen have certainly “called for snow”.
  6. In Pittsburgh, they use Heinz ketchup instead of pasta sauce. This generalization must generate from Sam Lapp, age seven, when he would refuse to eat spaghetti without Heinz ketchup. It has not been seen since, but after seeing one Pittsburgher eat pasta and ketchup it is hard not to imagine them all at it. So I’ve heard.
  7. Snow day announcements in Pittsburgh go on for hours because every block has its own school. Although now funding for the Pittsburgh Public Schools is down, there are many private and charter schools that reside in the city and the greater Pittsburgh area. Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but almost three fourths of Pittsburgh Public School students graduate. There are not many positive stereotypes, but a few to a city’s credit is never bad to have.
  8. In Pittsburgh they eat cold pizza. And they don’t anywhere else?
  9. In Pittsburgh it is easier to drive in the winter because the snow covers up the potholes. Pittsburgh is known for its terrible road condition. It seems odd that in cities where there are many quality hospitals the roads are said to be atrocious. In Pittsburgh the political power in a neighborhood has a great influence on the quality of the neighborhood’s roads, however if you go out to third world countries Pittsburgh’s roads would seem flawless, so who’s to judge? It is also said that if a car breaks down on the road Billy would ask his wife how to use the jumper cable. Not exactly the truth in many circumstances, but it is nice to think Pittsburgh women are known for their strength and will.
  10. People living in Pittsburgh measure distance in miles. Absolutely, one hundred percent a correct stereotype. For any true Pittsburgher, that is.