Because of their long, persistent association with humans, cockroaches are frequently referred to in art, literature, folk tales and theater and film. In Western culture, cockroaches are often depicted as vile and dirty pests. Their size, long antennae, shiny appearance and spiny legs make them disgusting to many humans, sometimes even to the point of phobic responses. This is borne out in many depictions of cockroaches, from political versions of the song "La Cucaracha" where political opponents are compared to cockroaches, through the 1982 movie Creepshow and TV shows such as The X-Files, to the Hutu extremists' reference to the Tutsi minority as cockroaches during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and the controversial cartoons published in the "Iran weekly magazine" in 2006 which implied a comparison between Iranian Azeris and cockroaches. In Dutch Soccer the term "kakkerlakken" (Dutch for cockroaches) is used as a colloquial, often derogatory term for the supporters of Feyenoord.
Not all depictions of cockroaches are purely negative, however. In the Pixar film WALL-E, a cockroach that has survived all humanity is the lead character's (a robot's) best friend, and waits patiently on him to return. The same cockroach survives getting squished twice. In the film Joe's Apartment, the cockroaches help the titular hero, and the narrator of the book Archy and Mehitabel is a sympathetic cockroach. In the book Revolt of the Cockroach People, an autobiographical novel by Oscar Zeta Acosta, cockroaches are used as a metaphor for oppressed and downtrodden minorities in US society in the 1960s and 1970s. The image of cockroaches as resilient also leads people to compare themselves to cockroaches. Madonna has famously quoted, "I am a survivor. I am like a cockroach, you just can't get rid of me." "Cockroach", or some variant of it is also used as a nickname, for example Boxing coach Freddie Roach, who was nicknamed La Cucaracha (The Cockroach) when he was still competing as a fighter.
For on-screen moments, TV shows and movies often employ the Madagascar hissing cockroach due to its large size and very slow speed.