Why no hate for the Midwest?

Did you actually finish the post, or read half and rush in outrage to make your post?

The Midwest may have its flaws, but they don’t have the cultural narcissism problem that the south does. There’s no toxic regional pride, there’s no special pleading for their flaws, there’s no latent separatist movement, no infantile paranoia that someone’s looking down on them.

They may believe the Midwest is good, might be proud of it, but they don’t think it’s special or better or would be loved and respected above other regions if only properly understood. In short it lacks almost everything that makes the south reviled as it is.

Edited: I’ll acknowledge that racism exists in the midwest, but Midwestern racism isn’t currently or historically worse than anywhere else. I’d rather be a racial minority in Minnesota than Alabama or Idaho or Maine.

When I was in my late 20’s I had a co-worker who was African-American and born and raised in Wisconsin. At the time, I was surprised, but knowing her, I found out how much diversity there was in the state.

At least in the past, most of the diversity in Wisconsin was concentrated in the two big cities of Milwaukee and Madison (and mostly the former). When I was growing up in Green Bay, the city was really, really white (the 1980 Census shows that the area was 97.3% white). There were only about 500 blacks in a region with a population of about 175,000; I remember that, at that time, if a black man was seen, the assumption (and not an entirely inaccurate assumption) was that he was associated with the Packers.

That’s changed dramatically over the past 40 years; non-Hispanic whites now only account for 69% of the area’s population. Hispanics (which were less than 1% in '80) are 16%, while blacks, Asians, and native Americans are each at around 4%.

The labor shortage will affect that. Recently I was talking to a manager at a rural Wisconsin company that builds pre-fab outbuildings. They modified one of their own products into a barracks for El Salvadorans who work the warmer half of the year for them.

I like that, being a proud resident of The Foundry (with no reference to “rust”).

Indeed I’m from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Brisbane is in the South East corner of a vast state (over twice the size of Texas).

Brisbane has the Gold Coast just to the south (Australia’s Florida). The ocean is to the East. The rednecks start from the Northern and Western boundaries of the city. And when the conservatives win an election due to votes from Queensland, my friends from other States blame me because I’m a Qlder.

I always feel like Canada is just…right behind me, silent, judging.

I grew up in a walled garden. Whitefish Bay. Plus, I went to a private school. There were a few kids from the city of Milwaukee and even fewer that were Black. And they were all from families that were doing well. Even if they lived in some of the not-so-great areas, they still had parents that could afford to send their kids to a private school in Whitefish Bay. My high school was part of the ‘220 program’ which allowed inner city kids to enroll in suburban public high schools. Going from a private grade school with, maybe, 1 Black student per grade to a public high school with probably 30% of it’s student base either Black or otherwise not from our/a suburb was quite a culture shock. Couple that with starting a job in an area from a much different part of the socio-economic spectrum and I learned about diversity real quick.

Well, the Midwest grows our food and, thus, is termed, “The Nation’s Bread Basket”. That evokes a lot of positive feelings. Whenever I think of the Midwest as being flat and featureless, I immediately think that there is an important reason for it, and that makes it actually a good thing.

If they waved Confederate flags and glorified a former racist slave state, I would feel differently, but they don’t. If they passed laws that blatantly oppress women like the Taliban does, I would feel differently.

Author Thomas Frank offers a different perspective

I’ve never lived in Kansas, but the Midwest I knew was in trouble: factory shutdowns and family farms turned over to corporate concerns. But, unlike the Great Depression, in the 80’s the Midwest didn’t look to an FDR for help: they looked to Ronald Reagan for platitudes.

They became mean, as desperate people do, and their liberalism, going all the way back to the Grange movement and Williams Jennings Bryan and the La Follette dynasty was forgotten. The money came back in the 90’s when China opened up for business, but the meanness stayed.

Yeah, the Midwest is quite prolific agriculturally. It only takes the agricultural output of the 2 top Midwest states to get close to the output of that that effete coastal state, California.

Cash receipts by commodity State ranking (usda.gov)

You may be surprised to find that your post isn’t refuting anything Jasmine said since nominal value of crops isn’t a good indicator of where food is grown. California is the largest agricultural state (it’s also the largest state by population and the 3rd largest by area, so this isn’t shocking), but it is heavily weighted toward some expensive per pound cash crops that aren’t exactly feeding the country.

True, but that is not germane to the topic of this thread, which is the reason why the images of the Midwest and and of the South are so different.


But it grates when the automatic assumption is made - “They’re America’s Breadbasket, what would the coasts do with the Midwest. They’d starve.”

Growing up in Wisconsin and going to college in a heavily farmed area (Kenosha), I thought I knew what it looked like to see endless rows of corn or cabbage or whatever was being grown. That is, until I drove through Iowa a few times. Driving down highways and truly not being able to see anything other than corn for miles in literally any direction for hour long stretches is a bit of an odd feeling.
Any time I drive through Iowa, this song pops into my head.

I’m ashamed to admit I really thought that happened in New York City. No idea why.

Possibly conflating it with Eric Garner?

Quite possibly.

Bit of a hijack here: This is a common, oft-repeated misconception. While it’s true that a growing number of farms are owned by corporations, those entities are generally the family itself, and not a nameless big-city corporation. Indeed, the USDA states that

family farms account for almost 96 percent of the 2,204,792 farms in the United States.

The number of farms continues to decline and farms are getting larger, but that’s not because out-of-state corporations are buying up all the available farmland.


There’s no such thing as a hijack when it corrects relevant facts. Thank you