Midwesterners are sick of people thinking their region is just corn and white people. Nearly two dozen shared with Business Insider what they think "coasties" miss out about the Midwest.
- Midwesterners are sick of people thinking their region is just corn and white people.
- Nearly two dozen shared with Business Insider what they think "coasties" get wrong about the Midwest.
- The most popular complaints: Don't think all Midwesterners are farmers. And don't call it "flyover country."
Just as coastal folks might call the Midwest "flyover country," Wisconsin native Wolfman said Midwesterners have their own slang to poke fun at those outside their region: "coasties."
"A lot of 'coasties' think that there isn't much out in the Plainstates, Heartland and Rustbelt," Wolfman, who witheld his last name, told Business Insider.
But Midwesterners say those coasties are dead wrong.
According to the US Census Bureau, the Midwest consists of two regions: East North Central and West North Central. The East North Central includes Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota comprise the West North Central.
Nearly two dozen people from across the Midwest shared with Business Insider what they wish people from outside the region would stop saying or thinking about their home.
Everyone is polite
"Perhaps more people are more polite, but we still have rude, entitled people here, just like everywhere else," one Kansas resident told Business Insider.
There's no diversity
Many Midwesterners said they wish people knew the region isn't just a bunch of white people.
"The diversity is huge," Nebraska native Sandra Smith DuPree, who now lives in Florida, told Business Insider. "I felt that I grew up with a diverse mix of people. I love that and wish that all of America would show kindness to all people regardless of ethnicity."
Across the board, 10% of the Midwest is Black, 8% Hispanic, and 3% Asian. Here are some of the most ethnically diverse cities in the Midwest:
- Dearborn, Michigan. Nearly half of this Detroit suburb is Arab American, the largest proportion in the country, and almost 40% speak Arabic at home.
- Chicago. African Americans, who comprise just under a third of Chicago's population, have a rich history in the Midwest's biggest city. Hispanics are also around a third of the population.
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Minnesota's Twin Cities are majority white, but they have one of the country's biggest concentration of Hmongs and Somalis in the country.
It's okay to make fun of Midwesterners
Wolfman, a Wisconsin native, told Business Insider there's a certain narrative about the Midwest that's overblown: "camo wedding cakes, bait shop gun fights, and ranch dressing-themed gender reveal parties."
He added that plenty of Midwesterners also don't mind making the occasional corn joke.
"We do have genuine, real hard working, educated people who happen to be in on the joke regarding our own culture of kitsch, and genuinely enjoying it," Wolfman said.
Everyone is a farmer
Nearly every Midwesterner told Business Insider that they're sick of people assuming they're farmers.
According to the Department of Agriculture, seven of the top ten producers are in the Midwest, but the top agriculture-producing state is actually California.
No one is educated or cultured
James Hoyt, a copy editor from Kansas, said he's tired of the narrative that casts Midwesterners as insular racists.
"If news media wants to accurately cover the Midwest and reverse the narrative, then we need to spotlight the countless people who are trying to make things better," Hoyt told Business Insider. "You can find just as many reactionaries in Midtown [New York] as you can in Oshkosh."
Wolfman, a Wisconsin native, said many believe the Midwest "has no intellectual cultural worth, that the inhabitants are simpletons, rubes, or bigots."
"Those people exist here, but so do industrial blue collar, future minded progressive people who enjoy culture and art," he told Business Insider.
Hunting and fishing are the main pastimes
The biggest misconception according to native Michigander Breah: "That we're all a bunch of hicks, or that we all hunt and fish."
Corn is everywhere
Three Midwesterners told Business Insider there isn't corn everywhere.
That it's really a flyover region
Midwesterners said they're sick of people calling their region "flyover country."
"I don't believe people think about the Midwest much. They are just 'flyover states' where nothing happens," Kansas Deanna Ambrose, who works in software quality assurance, told Business Insider. "It's not really a misconception in my mind, more like a lack of any recognition we exist."
Joey, a business analyst from Michigan, also said he feels like the Midwest doesn't exist for most coastal elites.
"There’s magnificent natural beauty and crucial manufacturing, shipping, and economic output that comes from these states," Joey told Business Insider. "I think a lot of people imagine the US as being composed of two coasts, and maybe Texas, with that middle part being invisible."