I try to read The Atlantic regularly because it’s that rare media beast: news, the kind that has nothing to do with the Kardashians. Also I’ve never read an article there that failed to school me. (Like that time I thought I’d seen everything about single women in America and The Atlantic kindly reminded me that I have no idea.)
But I missed this piece about Iowa, which caused some midwest mayhem. Basically, a professor at the University of Iowa, Stephen Bloom, took a critical look at his state, citing its treatment of low-wage workers (mostly immigrants) and the high suicide rate. Even though he’s lived abroad, he explained, no place is more foreign to him than Iowa.
“there is a more subtle method of defining people that is not yet frowned upon in this country. And that is defining people by where they are from or where they live. For example, if you’re from Iowa you’re a hick. If you hail from Alabama, you’re a redneck. Live in Texas, someone in your family is named Billy Bob and lives in a mobile home. These broad generalizations to the people of these states are no less offensive than saying an African-American from inner city Chicago is a “gangsta”, a Mexican-American from Arizona is an “illegal” and a Muslim is certainly a “terrorist”. But yet, we don’t seem to be offended by these generalizations as evidenced by the Atlantic publishing the article by Mr. Bloom.”
Am I guilty of this bigotty behavior toward Americans based on where we’re from? Ick. I try not to be, but I’ve made some really dumb assumptions about things like Mall of America and Indy 500, both of which wound up wowing me. This post was a nice reminder to check myself.