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?