We all know that the stupidest U.S. states are in the south and in the midwest. They're rust belt, flyover, down south, and they suck. They've got way more racists and bigots, their senators are always Republican, and they're mostly uneducated rural white people who don't understand the advancements of modernity, like hybrid cars and women CEOs.
We're not just pulling this out of our asses. We've got evidence to back it up, too--they have lower test scores, worse universities, and their school boards and other aspects of local government do funny, stupid things.
We all do know that. And, since those states are so justifiably stupid, we feel good about it. George Zimmerman from Florida, the Border Patrol in Arizona, Kansas School Board from Kansas, and God-only-knows-what in Nebraska. Texas is always trying to secede, and it had George W. Bush, too. You can't make this stuff up. Truth is stranger than fiction, in those lands of highway overpasses, unweeded church graveyards, and racially motivated violence.
It feels really good to be a wealthy white person lampooning those places, especially if you're heartily lampooning white people. It makes you feel progressive and non-racist to have that attitude about the stupid flat midwest or the stupid sweaty south or any of that.
Buuuuut...but guess what? Those states, that progressive, well-off, white, diversely-educated Americans like to hate? They're the ones who are closer to Mexico. They're closer to the blacks in Haiti, and the blacks on all the other islands, and closer to the Cubans, and closer to the hordes of swarthy Salvadorans and Nicaraguans who would just love to invade and steal all our fruit fields and our jobs, and they're states where Indian tribes have more political power, and Native American populations are larger or more culturally cohesive. These stupid states are sometimes literally on the border with Mexico (not Canada--a state can be on the border with Morissette, who only vaguely understands the definition of "irony," and Beiber, and still be respectable), which means a lot of poor, uneducated people bringing down the numbers on the graph, thereby proving that the whiter air in Connecticut raises I.Q.
All of this makes us realize that, whoops, maybe it's not so very enlightened and un-racist to be contemptuous of those states. Yes, the Kansas City school board is full of white idiots, but the traditional funny impression of that state is largely based upon the traditional New Yorker impression of how stupid the plains tribes were (they hoarded all the buffalo, don'tcha know, instead of slaughtering it all for shipment to Montana to process into New York Lean 12 oz. strips at a premium rate per Manhattan plate in 1838.
Oopsie! It's actually more racist than racist, to have those opinions! Oopsie! The American impression of "stupid and rural" is often based upon larger tracts of more-quality land set aside for Indian tribes, and in the "stupid" southern and midwestern states, the tribes are often stronger, and haven't subcontracted away quite as much land to white developers in search of better master-planned modern cities and communities. Londoners used to think New York was stupid and savage because the Indians were more alive; now, Manhattanites and the rest of the urban wannabes think that the entire border with Mexico is stupid and savage, because there's still more native blood floating around the place.