Thursday, October 7, 2010

Regional stereotypes

I once had a friend—a bright guy with a phD—who tried to school me on Middle America. The problem was that he was also an East Coast snot who had never been to the Midwest and maybe not even a red state, unless you want to count a connecting flight through ATL.

I’m from the Midwest and those were my people about whom he was pontificating and, let’s be honest, judging. He needed to put a cork in it, stop thinking he knows it all because he reads the fivethirtyeight blog, and actually book at flight to somewhere that doesn’t come with a coastline.

If I bought into the gross regional stereotypes that abound, I’d believe that:

  • San Francisco is only populated with sex-crazed homosexuals in leather chaps and hippies who smell like 1969.
  • New Jersey residents are tanning-bed orange goombahs with mob ties.
  • The blindingly Caucasian Pac Northwest hugs trees while drinking coffee and wearing Birkenstocks.
  • Midwesterners love Jesus, potlucks, and red meat, not necessarily in that order.
  • New Englanders are frosty, repressed folks who never met a Polo shirt they didn’t like.
  • And, oh yeah, everyone from Texas is a gay-bashing redneck in an F150.

For every yahoo who fits neatly into a stereotype box, there’s another person standing by to debunk the myth. As much as Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives would have us believe that people are cardboard cartoon cutouts, most of us are a lot more interesting and multi-layered than that. I like potlucks AND I hug trees AND I’m curiously drawn to pickup trucks and anything Lacoste. I don’t have leather chaps, but I sure wish I did. The next time you want to judge someone because of where they’re from, just remember: Snookis are people, too (at least I think they are). Don’t hate The Situation for being from Jersey. Hate him for his atrocious performance on Dancing with the Stars, or because he's banking $5 million this year.

What misconceptions do people make about you?

(photo: blogstodiefor.com)


18 comments:

Heather said...

I dunno...there's a whole bunch of Asians up here in the PNW, too. Do other people not know that?

Jennifer Worick said...

Excellent question. I don't know if the "average American" realizes that.

Peace said...

Trailer trash. It doesn't matter how well manicured my lawn is, or how cute my decor, or how well my kids do in school, or how many talents I display that don't include smoking cigarettes on a dilapidated porch, wearing daisy dukes to a PTA meeting or owning 4 mean dogs, I will be trailer trash.

Melly said...

As a Canadian it's annoying when people think we are all super friendly all the time, that nothing bad ever happens here, that's it's either cold every where all the time, or that it can't possibly be hot in the winter. Shall I go on? Plus there's the regional stereotypes within Canada.

FlonkertonChamp1 said...

i'm from texas...

but i'm a vegetarian democrat who has never even held a gun.

Wilma NC said...

Being originally from Ohio, and living in NC for the past 20 years, I am sick of being called a Yankee. I keep reminding them that we did win the war....

CarlaCarlaCarlaCarla said...

Dude ... stereotyping rules, regional or otherwise. Where would the entertainment industry be without them?

As for those Texans and their pickups, I suspect Jen may have typoed. Anything smaller than an F250 doesn't burn enough gas as it roars past the motionless oil derricks and massive windmill fields.

Kathleen McKenna Murphy said...

I'm a croc wearing soccer mom of 4 with a penchant for quilting from Boston!

Amaranthine said...

I'm a Southern Californian who doesn't wear a bikini, doesn't have a smartphone, gets good grades in school and listens to classical music!

Amaranthine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zazzu said...

Well, I'm from Southern California so it's assumed that I'm crazy and don't know how to drive. Fair enough.

So, New Englanders really aren't frosty and repressed? Go ahead and flame me but most of the NEs I met sure were when I visited. I just assumed it was the gloomy weather?

People are annoying regardless of where they come from.

Cindy Shake said...

Being from Alaska, Sarah Palin has sort of wrecked that distinction. I used to be proud to share I was from Alaska, now people laugh and ask "can I see Russia from my house?!"

bonnie said...

I'm from New Jersey so you pretty much covered it. I have to laugh when I travel and people say, "You don't sound like you're from New Jersey" or "How come you don't have an accent?". We don't all sound like the cast of the Sopranos!

Teresa said...

I'm a tall, blonde Canadian of Dutch heritage. No, I don't speak Dutch, or Friesian, or French either.
I speak English. No "eh", no "huh", and most days, no curse words either. I unfortunately have a mental disorder, that is well controlled by medication, but all my family tip toes around me afraid that if they say anything "unhappy" I'll go postal on them. ARGH! Just be real already.

jcoberly1 said...

Just because I'm originally from WV people think that I'm a redneck hillbilly. There's apparently no possible way that I could be intelligent or like classical music.

ME and Blue said...

I love that post, Jennifer!

Sweetest Petula said...

I wish you were my best friend. I'd buy you leather chaps for your birthday.

Lisa said...

After reading the post and comments, I had the uncontrollable urge to check out leather chaps on ebay. Hope you get some for your birthday or from Santa!