Stereotypes have developed over the years regarding people from different regions of the country. The Midwest is no exception. Generally, midwesterners have been typified as honest, hardworking and neighborly.The more negative perception though has been one of brawny tan farm boys that are gullible, uneducated and uncultured. We’d like to clear-up some of the misconceptions out there about the people of the midwest.
1. Myth-Primarily Lutheran or Baptist Reality: Roman Catholicism is the predominant denomination in the Midwest states. Even Minnesota, so well-known for its many Lutherans, has a strong Catholic population. Jewish synagogues and Muslim mosques will be also be found in all the Midwest cities.
2. Myth-Rural Reality: Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Columbus. All these cities are in the Midwest, along with several others. Although the states of the Midwest are also known for their farms and forests, they are not without their large urban centers as well. There are plenty of city-dwellers in the Midwest.
3. Myth-Lack of ethnic diversity Reality: The northern states of this region have a large Native American population; manyAfrican-Americans migrated from the south to the industrial cities of the Midwest following the civil war era; over 40% of the Hmong population in the U.S. live in the Midwest states; in 2006 Minnesota ranked 5th in the nation regarding immigrants from Africa, many of them from Somalia.
4. Myth-They talk funny Reality: The movie Fargo has strongly influenced this perception with the strong emphasis on the scandinavian and slavic traits that can be found in Minnesotan speech. Is that true? Ya betcha, don’t ya know? The accent in the rest of the Midwest, however, does not have those traits and has become the standard for the nation when it comes to national broadcasters and others in the media
5. Myth-Not a vacation destination Reality: Many of Hollywood’s big stars vacation in the Midwest. It’s the home of the Great Lakes, unique in themselves. Minnesota’s Mall of America has become a big tourist draw in addition to its 10,000 lakes. South Dakota draws many to their scenic Badlands and the Mount Rushmore National Monument. All over the Midwest you will find cave tours, unique communities and festivals, and always, that wonderful Midwest hospitality.
6. Myth-Politically conservative Reality: A good portion of Midwest states have been dominated by the Democratic Party and a more liberal political bent. Vice President Hubert Humphrey being one of the highly noted Midwestern politicians to date.
7. Myth-Uncultured Reality: Minnesota has long been known for its strong support of the arts community, home of the Walker Arts Center and the Guthrie Theater. Iowa City is known as a center for the literary arts. Motown South came out of Detroit, the electrified blues from Chicago and Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
8. Myth-Uneducated Reality: The Chicago is home to at least two Nobel Prize winners in physics as well as the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. People from all over the world attend the Universities of Iowa and Minnesota because of their reputations in the medical field.
9. Myth: Gullible Reality: Neighborly, friendly, trusting and, of course, ‘Minnesota nice’ all fit the description of many Midwestern folk but they aren’t all goody-two shoes. Al Capone, Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger, John Wayne Gacy are names of a few men from the Midwest that you wouldn’t want to try and hood-wink.
10. Myth-Unusual holidays Reality: Four inches of ice on the lakes of Minnesota (contrary to what is portrayed in some films) does not constitute a state wide shutdown to celebrate ice fishing. Although it may also seem like it to some, the opening day of deer hunting is not an officially recognized holiday in the Midwest.
Hopefully you’ve learned some new things about the Midwest in this article and corrected any misperceptions you might have had. The main thing you should take away from this article is that there is a lot of variety and diversity scattered across the Heartland of America. Kansas and Wisconsin both are known for farming but one looks nothing like the other. And what you find in Nebraska will be very different from what you’ll find in Michigan. The best way to learn the truth about the Midwest