We all have an idea about these perceptions. Essex for example, we assume is filled with slightly dim people with too much fake tan. Liverpool we imagine Scousers with big egos and even bigger eyebrows. Then Newcastle, we assume to be a mixture of the two. These are just a handful of the cities with a more famous reputation; there are many more cities in the country which are stereotyped as being ‘rough’. Born and bred in Hull, when visiting other cities, people often assume that because of my accent and where I come from, that I am a bit of a ‘chav’. There have even been many occasions on nights out when men have actually stopped mid chat-up and quickly bailed after asking me where I’m from. University in particular is a place where you meet people from all over the country. While the experience of meeting new people with different backgrounds can be new and interesting, it can also make the hometown judgements even more frequent, sometimes to the point of actual prejudice.
Despite how fair minded and tolerant we consider ourselves to be; we sometimes just can’t help but pass judgment on hometowns. We immediately assume the stereotype of that particular place and think that stereotype applies to anyone who lives there. Most judgements on hometowns are based on reputation, for example Hull was a few years ago named the worse place to live in the country. Other forms of culture and media contribute to stereotypes of the better known cities; reality shows in particular are one of the main culprits. Jordie Shore, Desperate Scousewives, and The Only Way Is Essex seem to give cities a bad name, and you can’t help but assume that the reality show really is the reality for everyone who lives there. Reputations whether accurate or not, do not have a positive affect on the perceptions of others. Those who do live in a city with a bad reputation are usually willing to defend it. Many of us know that the typical stereotypes given to places are not as true as others might think, but we all know that it’s highly unlikely that a perception of a city can be changed once it’s been assumed.
It’s easy to say that we shouldn’t judge people based on where they come from, but no matter how tolerant we can be, judging and assuming is like a natural instinct that can’t be helped. It can even stem down to prejudice within different areas of one city; anyone who is not part of your surroundings is immediately considered to be different than you, and sometimes you can even consider them a threat. It all seems to boil down to territory. No matter how we develop socially as a country, there’s the possibility that we will always assume the worst of a city with a bad reputation, or any reputation at all as a matter of fact.
These judgements are never usually worth worrying about. Most of us will never act upon our negative perceptions of others. We just need to work on not generalising one stereotype to an entire population of people.