A quick Google search of the words “Wisconsin sucks” will reward you with no less than four YouTube videos, a number of angry blog posts and threads, and a t-shirt that implies unpleasant things about our relationship with Minnesota. (Our haters are nothing if not resourceful.)
As someone who was, well, a teenager at one point, I’ll admit that the thought has crossed my mind, but since moving back here after college I’ve had a change of heart and a need to defend my home.
These are the five most common arguments against Wisconsin and why they’re a load of sauerkraut.
1. We’re Dumb Hicks
We all know the stereotype. Wiscononians are dumb yokels who are obsessed with cows, don’t know nothing about nothing, and call a drinking fountain a bubbler.
Well, au contraire! MIT, Harvard, and Standford recently released a list of the 100 smartest cities in America. Wisconsin took many of the spots with Madison, Appleton, Oshkosh-Neenah, Eau Claire, Sheboygan, and several other cities running intellectual circles around their competitors. (Source.)
Perhaps more important is disproving our overall clueless-ness, we’re really politically active. No matter what side of the spectrum you fall on, come November, you can’t deny that we care. We rank number three in the nation for overall voter turnout rate with 60.93 percent over the past six elections.
Also, don’t hate on hicks. They know how to fix things and they throw the best parties.
2. Our Food is Terrible
We get this especially from Southerners and any state with halfway decent Tex Mex. (To be fair, Southern food is exceptionally delicious.)
Wisconsin has good food. Not just good but healthy too (I know, shocking). The local food movement has grown in recent years with more communities embracing CSA programs and farmers markets. We’re actually ranked #9 in the nation for access to local food by the advocacy group Strolling the Heifers.
A great example here in Northeast Wisconsin is Grow Local in Neenah. Check out our interview with the founders.
Also, cheese. Seriously. If you’re not from here, I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, “I’ve had cheese before”, but trust me, you haven’t had real cheese. Not to mention the New Glarus Brewing Co. in the town of the same name. I don’t know how you can call yourself a true beer drinker until you’ve had a Spotted Cow.
Even when our food isn’t healthy (aka has a caloric intake not comprehensible by the human brain) it’s SO GOOD! Try any of these delicacies delicacies—cheese curds, brats, funnel cakes, or sweet corn with butter—and you’ll be changing your tune.
3. We’re Homogeneous & Have No Culture
To be fair, this has some merit. According to the 2010 US Census numbers, Wisconsin’s population was 88.2 percent Caucasian, which is significantly higher than the national average of 77 percent.
That doesn’t mean there’s no diversity to speak of. Wisconsin actually has the third highest Hmong population of any state behind Minnesota and California. The Latino population has also increased by 74 percent in the last 10 years. We also have a significant African American population which accounted for 6.5 percent of our numbers in 2010.
As for having “no culture” that’s totally unfair. In the Green Bay and Appleton areas especially, we’ve got plenty of art museums, shows, comedy clubs, and poetry slams to satisfy the culture junkie.
If you’re living out in the boonies it might be a little harder to find a showing of Twelfth Night, but there’s still plenty of culture to go around.
4. Wisconsinites Suck
Ah yes, the piece de resistance. All Wisconsinites suck. We’re all smiles and helping you get your truck out of the mud one second, and then whispering behind your back the next.
And, well, it’s not all untrue. Wisconsinites can be kind of passive-aggressive. We don’t always say what’s on our mind and can hold some pretty deeply ingrained grudges. (I blame all the Norwegians, personally. Just kidding!)
But Wisconsinites are also a deeply compassionate bunch. They want to know why you’re upset, even if they don’t know you. They want to help solve your problem. They want to get your truck out of the mud. (Like I said before, it’s good to be friends with hicks.)
We’re good people, even if we’re not always going to be the first to tell you that your new boyfriend is a jerk. Just give us a few days. We’ll work up the courage eventually.
Oh come, winter’s not that bad. Who doesn’t love snowmen? And snowshoeing? And hot chocolate?
No one, that’s who! It’s great, it’s actually pretty . . . oh god, who am I kidding. WHY WINTER WHY WHY MUST YOU BE THE WAY YOU ARE!!!! AHHHHH!
Ahem, sorry about that.
There is a brief fourth period from February through April where everyone from Wisconsin, native-born or otherwise, will consider moving to the center of the sun. Don’t act on it this time, maybe next year.
But hey, there are some reasons to love winter. Like hot chocolate! And snowshoeing!
Besides, right now it’s fall. Lovely, beautiful fall! Maybe fall will last forever! You don’t know!
Let’s Hear From You!
Why do you love, hate, or love/hate Wisconsin? Leave a comment below!