The Stereotypes of the Average North Dakotan

By Tyler B.

The total number of registered cars in North Dakota out number the inhabitants according to. For every 1000 people there are 1080 cars. In 2013 alone North Dakotans bought 77,823 new vehicles, according to the Bismarck Tribune. And to think, people call us unmodernized. There are three major stereotypes that have always haunted people that live in North Dakota: appearance, unmodernized, and “crime-prone” citizens.

Most people often think of North Dakotans as cowboys, rednecks, and hicks of the North. This was very apparent when I went to Washington D.C., for my Junior Class Trip. I talked to some of the locals and when I told them I was from North Dakota they asked me where my cowboy boots were. I told them that I usually wear T-shirts, jeans, and tennis shoes on a daily basis. They stood there for a second and then told me that lying is a bad thing and lying about something this stupid, is idiotic. I proceeded to scoff at them and then chuckle as I turn to my friends and tell them what just happened.

My second experience with stereotypes also happened in Washington D.C. We had planned to go on a Segway tour around the capital and the surrounding area. Once we got to the showroom, the tour guides split us into two groups. I got in a group with six of my classmates, along with the more experienced tour guide. None of us had ever drove a Segway so we went across the street, to a park, and tuned our driving skills. Our tour guide, astonished at how fast we took to these machines, asked us where we are from. We all replied with a confident holler, North Dakota! He stopped, looking at us he asked how do you even know how to drive? They don’t have cars in North Dakota! Maybe a horse with a wagon or two... He was being very sarcastic, but he still thought we were unmodernized cowboys.

The third and final stereotype is North Dakotans “crime-prone” citizens. My uncle worked for the oil fields for six months and while there he found that most people working at the oil fields aren’t even from North Dakota. So why do North Dakotans always get blamed for our crime levels when it’s people from other states/countries coming in and raising it for us? My uncle was also friends with a guy from North Dakota. This man had done hard labor for all of his life. He was a farm hand as a young boy, a mechanic's apprentice as a young man, and now as a grown man works in one of the most dangerous businesses out there. He asked this man if he had ever committed a crime and the man replied with a steady voice that if overworking is a crime he should be in jail for life. This is but one example of a North Dakotan citizen not committing a crime in his entire life and somehow we are “crime-prone”.

These three stereotypes have lead me to realized how oblivious people are and how much we need to start doing some research for ourselves. So next time someone tells you that you’re unmodernized, crime-prone, or says something about your looks you can tell them that they live under a rock! Or take the nice approach and explain everything to them...