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