Dick Tracy Wiki

A Stereotype is a one-dimensional way of viewing or depicting a person, usually related to preconceived notions based on their ethnicity or geographical region.

Several characters have appeared throughout the Dick Tracy franchise that represent stereotypes:

Native Americans[]

  • Chief Yellowpony was a stereotypical Native American who spoke broken English.
  • Nah Tay was another broad Native (South) American stereotype shown during the 1960s.
  • Depiction of Native Americans has since improved (see Joe High Eagle and Joe Sampson).


  • Throughout the storylines of Stud Bronzen and Johnny Ramm, Chinese Americans and Chinese immigrants were depicted with stereotypical features such as slanted eyes, prominent cheekbones and buck teeth. They were commonly addressed and referred to as "Chinamen" and "Orientals" (neither of which is currently the preferred nomenclature).
  • Pruneface's accomplice Togo was portrayed in a similar manner.
  • Joe Jitsu, one of the four main protagonists created for The Dick Tracy Show, is similarly stereotypical. Despite this, he was portrayed as a competent police officer.
  • Laffy Smith's brother Kirk is described as a hero for killing 30 "Japs" (an offensive term for the Japanese), though that story was set during wartime.


  • In the 1960's Go-Go Gomez from The Dick Tracy Show is an example of the Spanish-speaking stereotype, with a thick accent, sombrero, sandals, mustache and tanned skin. He is also shown to be lethargic and frequently flirting with women. Despite this, he was portrayed as a competent police officer.


  • In the early years of Dick Tracy, several African American characters appeared playing comic relief roles. These characters displayed common stereotypical features of the time, including exaggerated lips, laziness, and not speaking well. These characters also often had stereotypical jobs associated with African-Americans of time, such as valets (see Memphis Smith), elevator operators, maids (Della), doormen, nightwatchmen, and railroad porters (see the 88 Keyes storyline).
  • In later years, an effort was made to improve the depiction of African Americans in the strip, see Lee Ebony and Sergeant Jackson.


  • Many of the uniform/beat policeman are in the early days of the strip had Irish names, such as Officers Clancy, O'Malley, Callahan, Mulligan, Murphy, Murphy, Murphy, and Murphy. This played upon the stereotype that many Irish immigrants went into police work.
  • Pat Patton was occasionally described as having an "Irish temper."
  • State Trooper Dennis O'Copper was apparently an Irish-born, naturalized American who displayed pride in his Irish heritage and spoke with an Irish brogue.
  • Heap O'Calorie from The Dick Tracy Show was a redheaded police officer with an Irish surname, again playing on the stereotype of the Irish cop (see above). However, most of the jokes about him are derived from his being overweight rather than his ethnicity.

Romani (or "Gypsies")[]

  • A stereotypical Romani character appeared early in the saga of Mary Steele and Larceny Lu. She was depicted as a poor transient and fortune teller.


  • Many characters in the strip have been represented as an unsophisticated "hillbilly" stereotype, which is long-established in the American comedic tradition. B.O. Plenty and his family are the most prominent example of this, but there have been others as well, such as the Sheriff in the Krome storyline.


  • In the Nails Wolley storyline, the jewelry salesman Jade is depicted as stereotypically Jewish.
  • Sam Catchem and his family have been identified as Jewish, but their portrayal has included fewer broad stereotypes.


  • As recently as the 2000s, Middle-Eastern or Arabian characters have been depicted in the strip as broad stereotypes, shown as being hairy, fanatical terrorists with an incomprehensible language.