Dear Tom (and Ray), I met prejudice/ignorance today.

Loess Hills

Loess Hills.

I know I haven’t posted in a long time. Sorry. Been insanely busy re the upcoming move to Montana. But I have to say something about what happened today, and I’m including Ray because he’s a Midwesterner. Upper Midwest, but that’s okay.

I was chatting with this guy who had a real cute dog, a Scottie. I love Scotties, attitude and all. They are like little bearded hairy men. (Oh, by the way, when big ol’ Jake goes to puppy camp he’s greeted with, “Hello Sunshine!” He’s a happy camper!)

Anyways… I was chatting with this guy. He was here in Napa enjoying the sunshine. He’d driven down from Portland because he wanted a break from all the rain- which we happen to be having for a minute. Our weather has been beautiful.

We discussed the rain. We discussed my recent stop at PDX, landing in the midst of a horrific downpour. If you get off one of the little planes you have to walk through the downpour to get to the terminal. We were all soaked.

I mentioned my parents. Told him that they’d retired to Southern Oregon.

He asked, “Oh, did they move from California?”

I answered, “No, they moved from Iowa. We’re all from Iowa, I’m not a native Californian.” (‘Cuz yeah, I’m proud as heckfire to be from Iowa.)

He said, “Oh. Iowa. Bunch of illiterate evangelicals there.”

And I was like… “Um, what?”

He said, “Yeah, everyone is stupid religious. Nothing there but cornfields and ignorant racist white farmers.”

I asked, “Have you been to Iowa?”

He shrugged. He said, “I’ve read about it.”

Hey Tom, and Ray, I wanted to punch him in the face.

This is what I deal with on the West Coast. People who think they know the Midwest even though they’ve never been farther east than Vegas (or maybe they’ve flown to NYC). People like this dude, who was about as white as a slice of Wonderbread, who think everyone in the Midwest is a toothless dumbass church-goin’ snake-handling redneck filled with hate and vitriol; that we’re uneducated hicks who stupidly refuse to accept the superiority of the West Coast elites who should be in charge of EVERYTHING.

I don’t care if he had a nice dog. I wanted to kick the living shit out of him.

But I didn’t. I said, “You know nothing about Iowa. Have a safe drive back to Portland.” And I walked away.

Tom, you would have been proud of me.

XOXO! Julia

The Loess Hills: I grew up here, played here. My ancestors lived and died here.

Did I mention the University of Iowa Writers Workshop???

Besides, Iowa is home to one of the best bugs in the world – Fireflies! If you watch the video you’ll discover that we’re not all toothless yahoos.



16 thoughts on “Dear Tom (and Ray), I met prejudice/ignorance today.

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Thanks, Greta. It must be so very tiresome to have all the answers and know everything about everyone. Liked his dog tho!


    1. juliabarrett Post author

      True, Diana. We are all sometimes guilty of holding onto our favorite myths. The trick is to realize it.


  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    I was born in Southern California, grew up (7-19) in Mexico City in an entirely different culture, went to college in Seattle, grad school in Madison, Wi., moved to Maryland to take our first jobs, and have lived just southeast of Princeton for 36 years now.

    Only grad school was in the midwest, and Madison is as cosmopolitan as LA or MC – I doubt I’ve had any real exposure in all those years to the real midwest, and certainly none to the south.

    But I KNOW that. I know I have no basis to judge, not that it is my job to judge anyone. I also have no basis to understand – my loss. Life’s been too busy with the same concerns we all have – education, finding a partner, finding a job, having kids, helping those kids become adults. And then retiring, and some day maybe having our kids give us grandchildren (up to them).

    I think half this country is not listening to the other half – whichever half you’re in on any given issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Agreed, Alicia! Exactly right. Half the country isn’t listening to the other half. And yeah, I’ve been too busy living my life to judge others. It’s a new world, that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Hey, don’t you live in the upper Midwest? I could have sworn you are from my sorta neck of the woods!


  2. Cara Sue Achterberg

    I love Iowa. Some of my favorite people are from Iowa. And, of course, I dream of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. One of the characters in my first novel talks of moving to Iowa. So, yeah, I agree you should be heckfire proud.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Thanks, Cara. Iowa is a great state. A wonderful place to live and work and raise a family. And yeah, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop is amazing. 🙂


  3. anny cook

    Love this post. I’ve heard nearly the same thing about every place I’ve ever lived (AZ, TX, IN, IL, NY, MD) and all the places in between. Ignorance and prejudice don’t have a home. They’re everywhere. There are always folks out there who think they know something without checking it out. And I sooooo know how you feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Anny – it’s like so many people have preconceived notions about Baltimore. I LOVE Baltimore. It is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited. And yes, it has its problems but the people are friendly and the city itself is amazing. I agree – ignorance isn’t consigned to one place. This guy is proof.


  4. Roberta Hunter

    Two thousand years and we still don’t know how to live with one another. Some times we just have to breathe deeply and let the idiots alone.

    Liked by 1 person

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