White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) is an informal term, sometimes derogatory or disparaging,[1] for a closed group of high-status Americans mostly of English Protestant ancestry. The term implies the group controls disproportionate social and financial power.[2] The term WASP does not describe every Protestant of English background, but rather a small restricted group whose family wealth and elite connections allow them a degree of privilege held by few others.[3] When the term appears in writing, it usually indicates the author's disapproval of the group's perceived excessive power in society. The hostile tone can be seen in an alternative dictionary: "The WASP culture has been the most aggressive, powerful, and arrogant society in the world for the last thousand years, so it is natural that it should receive a certain amount of warranted criticism."[4] People seldom call themselves WASPs, except humorously; the acronym is typically used by non-WASPs.[5] Scholars agree that the group's influence has waned since the end of World War II, with the growing influence of Jews, Catholics, African Americans and other former outsiders.[6] The term is also used in Australia and Canada for similar elites.

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