When someone says something along the lines of:

Well I don't agree with you, because you're a typical so-and-so X.

X being the culture/group of people.

If you make a reply along the lines of:

Wow, what a stereotype! I can't take you seriously.

Are you implying it's "sort of" true? Because the definition of a stereotype seems to state there's some accuracy to a stereotype, unless I'm completely interpreting the definition wrong.

a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person
or thing.

  • 1
    It's not implying that the stereotype applies to the person making the reply. In fact, by the tone of the reply, I'd say it implies the opposite.
    – TylerH
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 5:59
  • What great question. Welcome to English Language and Usage. (:-D)
    – Sam
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 6:03
  • Possible duplicate of How did "s***" and "the s***" come to mean opposite things?
    – user190075
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 0:20
  • It implicitly admits the stereotype exists. Not that it's true. But if I said you have a ferret on your face and you responded "that's just a stereotype. Everyone thinks that just because I'm a Midwesterner" I'd wonder what the heck is up with Midwesterners that anyone would think that. This is the raw power of human stupidity. I'd also still be wondering about the ferret. Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 0:53

2 Answers 2


Your reply is (quite appropriately) calling them out for making a judgement based on a stereotype, where a stereotype may or may not accurately reflect reality. Whether or not the stereotype is true, however, the fallacy still stands.

The argument You are wrong, because you are X may be an example of a Bulverism.

Or, it may be closer to an ad hominem: guilt by association fallacy.

  • no need for apologies, go for it! However, I believe this does answer the question, which was "does the accusation of stereotyping imply that the stereotype is true?" and my answer is "it doesn't matter - their argument is fallacious either way". Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 9:43
  • I agree these are the best ways to respond to the fallacy of stereotyping. I just had to post something answering somewhat her question directly. Thanks for understanding. I wanted to preserve this answer. :) Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 9:50
  • btw, is your avatar a Simpsonized you? Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 9:51
  • more or less :) nice edit, by the way. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 12:56

A stereotype might arise from the repeated behaviour of a group of people, or it might stem from prejudices, or from unwarranted generalisation. But regardless of how it arises, in the context of your question the term reads as a perception that is then applied without proper analysis to everyone deemed sufficiently similar to that group.

The reply "Wow, what a stereotype!" in the context you gave emphasises the distinction between perception and reality, so the natural reading is that the speaker does not intend to say that the image portrayed by the stereotype is "sort of true". If anything, the speaker is asserting that the stereotype doesn't apply there.

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