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Maybe I'm overly cynical, but I found the article and many of the comments here annoying.

Yes - rural people can be nice, helpful, friendly, wise, experienced, and unpretentious.

Rural people can also be short-sighted, rude, intolerant, gleefully embrace ignorance, and every bit as pretentious as a city-slicker.

This is because whether it's city, suburban, or rural, we're all still people. And here's the kicker: All things being equal, people are people, and some are jerks and others saints. But things AREN'T equal. I've lived in trailers, and I've owned a house - I can't tell you about your neighbors in those situations, but I can tell you about the areas.

I won't speculate the reasons here, but rural areas (more in the American South than other places I've been, but still in general) have more than their share of bitter, racist, sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, self-righteous people. This is demonstrable in a variety of statistical ways by look at different states/counties.

When reviewing the Voting Rights Act, Chief Justice Roberts asked "Is it the government's submission that the citizens in the South are more racist than the citizens in the North?". I've been there. It totally is. And the more rural, often the more racist (etc).

When you look at states where they are removing actual science from the textbooks, where are they? When you find the populations of people that want to "go with their gut" in the face of any evidence, where are they concentrated?

Of course, you can't paint with broad strokes - for me to condemn everyone in a low-population density area is just as wrong as calling them all saintly. There are many people, many towns, many areas, where what I'm talking about is less common than in many cities.

But my experience says the embrace of ignorance to be more likely there. I don't look down on someone for coming from or being in a rural area. I don't admire someone for coming to or being in a city. But the sort of "noble savage" picture that I'm seeing painted here utterly disregards the very real problems and social ills that many of these areas have.

Tell me your in/from a rural area and I don't care. Tell me you're poor, it doesn't impact my impression of your worth as a person. But don't be an asshat and surround yourself with other asshats and then complain about the reputation you're getting.

>When you find the populations of people that want to "go with their gut" in the face of any evidence, where are they concentrated?

That's an interesting thought, but to be fair this is an issue with just about anyone.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103116...


The author isn't attempting to romanticize these people; he even goes so far as to call these people helpless. From the outside in, you have to wonder, why there is such an opioid epidemic in WV, why these people live in small dumpy metal boxes... The author's grandfather continued to love a woman who shot him. The author's father grew up in a one room shack afraid to fall asleep because rats would gnaw off his feet, was forced to hunt for survival at the age of five or six and eventually had to live with his Aunt. Despite that, his father would not talk ill about his father; he loved him.

The whole point is to help people from the outside looking in understand. It's easy to say these people are ignorant, these people are naive, but to fail to even see things from their perspective is just as bad as them failing to see things from yours.

You know the illusion of open mindedness in a city - its more persistent yes. But they are not more open-minded there- they are just two-faced and can turn around on a needles pin.

Maybe you should read upon the Weimar republic- it seemed so open minded and avantgardist in the citys. But when the mood turned, the very avant-garde turned out to be the best turn-coats of them all, abandoning all they hold tear (except of there love for new tech) and leaving the other, the weak and the feeble hanging out to dry. If that situation would be mapped to valley today- the failing designer sitting in the office nearby- could be the next great chieftain, the marketing guy at the water cooler the next Goebbels. In a city, everyone is by default more separate and lonely, thus allowing for any -ism to grow rapidly once formed- into not only a disgusting ideology, but also a add-hoc family/community replacement, which is hysterically defended against any attempt to dissolve it with reason.

> But they are not more open-minded there- they are just two-faced and can turn around on a needles pin.

If you're saying they CAN be that way, then I agree, as I said in my post. Humans that suck are everywhere, and all of us have flaws. My point is that it's often (not always) WORSE in the rural areas.

OTOH, you didn't qualify your statement at all - you said they "are just two-faced [etc]" - and that sounds like someone ignoring all nuance to the issue.

Im not declaring all humans in citys to be that way. I presume its the same percentage of racism and baseless hatred on other beings (for whatever imagined injustice) everywhere.

In the countryside, people just dont switch there roles constantly on a hourly basis. You are who you are, with near no authority to punish you for saying what you think. On your farm, you dont have to worry about your boss, your church, your neighbors, the street, the block and that shows. So people say what they think, and everyone knows what it is and is not. You can actually, quite lively debate, racism with a racist (Recommend reading Jared Diamond and lots of history books ahead).

I know some people living in citys, and you can bet all you got that these, while today singing liberal Songs, when they would hear the mob yell for a stake, would look at all the others, and if they sees a majority, put all there former friends on a serving wagon. In your face racism and hypocrisy much preferred thank you. That way it can be addressed.

One of the things i also noticed is, that some countryside personal - in particular truckers, turn into deep thinkers, philosophers even. Routine either dumbs you down or sends the mind for a walk.

Finally, to put some perspective to the first statement- in some city's (Berlin e.g.), the neighborhoods begin to form what is basically small villages again, with the towns drunk, the village schizo and everyone looking out for one another. Such things are awesome- and very rural.

> ...rural areas (more in the American South than other places I've been, but still in general) have more than their share of bitter, racist, sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, self-righteous people.

Take any high-tech city like Boston, San Jose, Mountain View, Seattle, and so on. Check what percentage of blacks work alongside whites. Now do the same in a place like Greensboro, NC or Petersburg, VA. Tell me which is more integrated.

The person you're responding to did not make a claim about integration. They made a claim about racism. These are two related but different phenomena.

While that's true, there's different forms of racism. There are many people in Northern cities who have biases against blacks but wouldn't ever say it out loud (maybe wouldn't even know to say). The integration takes away from the idea that "blacks are lazy and whites are hard workers" at the very least, and I think it would be interesting to compare how people in different parts of the country subconsciously act on that "presumption".

I read an interesting article once that was talking about Clive Bundy (the rancher that faced off with the govt), and the PARTICULARS of his racism. Specifically, he had plenty of bad/wrong opinions about black people, but a grudging respect for Hispanics. The author theorized (reasonably) that this was because he was exposed to Hispanic workers, but his primary exposure to other people of color was media-based, so he bought into the "welfare queen" concept.

It was an interesting read, and showed that there is some value into looking at the specifics of people's prejudices.

My google-fu didn't find anything that felt like it was the article I read, but it did turn up a few articles on the same basic topic. Here's one: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/clive-bundy-the-spanis...

Moving from Georgia to Washington I was surprised to see just how much racism was still alive and well in Washington. It might not be as widely talked about partially because there are so few non-white people to be racist towards relative to Georgia.

This stuck out to me the most in the white people being racist towards black people, in GA the white black split is 60.8 to 30.6, whereas in Washington it is 78.7 to 3.5.


I explicitly didn't claim these areas are racism-free. (And Washington is a bit weird, as it's vastly rural save for a handful of places that attract a lot of out-of-state people, more so than, say, Atlanta, Des Moines, etc).

But here's one anecdote to demonstrate what I'm talking about: My wife grew up in Hampton, VA, and when she was a teenager they painted over the "whites only" signs at the community pool. The rule hadn't been enforced in a long time, but everyone was fine with it being there. A generation+ was raised with a glaring symbol that some people were considered lesser, and being told that it's no big deal. Her grandmother once wandered a store for 15 mins trying to find a black employee to get something down off a shelf, rather than have any of the white employees do manual labor. (And yes, my grandparents had a lot of overt racism too...but they learned to tone it down whereas her grandmother didn't). Her father had views that are reprehensible and would sound a bit harsh coming from a KKK member. The stories about sexism are less horrifying, but far from good.

Racism is everywhere, racism is bad. But if we want to improve things, we can't pretend that everyone is equally racist - we need to acknowledge and try to correct. The reason I have hope for humanity is not that we're perfect, or even good, but that we RECOGNIZE these behaviors as bad. Slavery? Still happens, including in affluent nations, but we consider it a wrong, which is a necessary first step to getting rid of it. Ditto racism, sexism, homophobia, etc - the human species has a lot of work to do, but we've made progress. I don't want to lose that because people ignore the higher rates of overt and blatant racism in ANY area by saying "well, it's true other places too". That's false equivilancy.

Fair enough, I'm just a little tired of people that live in overwhelmingly white areas patting themselves on the back for their lack of racism when they have rarely if ever interact with non-white people. It's like Mongolia boasting about how they have never lost a navel battle.

I agree that there is still large amounts of overt racism in the south that affects many people.

yes, you nailed it. people are people. doesn't matter where you live. if you're an asshole, you'll be an asshole no matter where you live. if you're a nice person...well....

Bizarre that you'd speculate about what populations "go with their gut" based entirely on gut feeling.

Did you miss the part where I said I had both personal experiences from living in these areas, AND the easily demonstrable different rates of offenses? What urban area is trying to disenfranchise people? Where are the fundamentalist cults that think a woman should be subservient and silent? Which populations are passing anti-transgender laws despite no evidence of any problem? Which populations banned gay marriage, and which ones produce the people that (more often) refuse to grant licenses for the same?

Racism, sexism, etc are absolutely everywhere, but that doesn't mean they are there at the same rates, and ignoring that won't help us make it any better.

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