About a year ago, I realized that one of my problems in understanding people in Dickinson, North Dakota, their actions, behavior, beliefs, and habits, is that the people here aren’t even at the Blue-Collar level.
White-Collar people perform work that is clerical, administrative, or managerial. I associate White-Collar people with those that went to college and work at a profession such as teachers, professors, accountants, lawyers, engineers, and doctors. These people are typically in salaried positions.
Blue-Collar people are described as performing manual labor, and are typically paid an hourly wage rate. However, I want to point out that the skilled trades that typically require vocational training or an apprenticeship such as electricians, plumbers, welders, mechanics, and heavy equipment operators are classified as Blue-Collar.
After living in Dickinson for about eight years now, I don’t usually see many White-Collar people in Dickinson. At a store or restaurant in Dickinson, maybe 1 out of 15 people are White-Collar people, that’s about 7% of people.
But I also noticed during the past eight years of living in Dickinson, that when I am out in public, talking to people, meeting people, dealing with people, listening to what people say, watching what they do, only about 30% of the people in Dickinson are at the Blue-Collar level.
So who do I think is at the Blue-Collar level in Dickinson? Mechanics who are able to keep their job at a car dealership service department; Plumbers and Electricians who are able to keep their job doing residential and commercial work; Welders who are able to stay steadily employed doing industrial work; Pumpers who work in the oil field; Tow truck drivers who are steadily employed and treat this as their profession. UPS and FedEx drivers who keep their jobs. Delivery drivers who are steadily employed and treat this as their profession. These types of workers make up about 30% of the people in Dickinson.
But the majority of the people in Dickinson, North Dakota are not like the White-Collar workers and the Blue-Collar workers that I described above. The majority of the people in Dickinson are what I can attempt to describe as: Alcoholics, drug addicts, social security disability recipients, drifters, loiterers, unemployed, incompetent, criminals, low-class, white-trash, hill-billy, inbred, backwards, sleazy, slobs, naer-do-wells, liars, and con-artists. Ask yourself, does this not constitute about 60% of the shoppers at WalMart in Dickinson?
In contrast, if you go to Menards in Dickinson, where people shop for tools, equipment, and building supplies in order to accomplish some useful work, build something, or do home improvement, haven’t you noticed that these people aren’t anywhere near as sleazy, low-class, and trashy as the people at WalMart in Dickinson? These much less sleazy people are the 7% White-Collar and the 30% Blue-Collar people that are in Dickinson.
So what, am I just picking on people in Dickinson again? No, I am trying to explain that you can’t understand the behavior and actions of people in Dickinson, until you realize that about 60% of the people in Dickinson are not even at the Blue-Collar level of people.
An important result of this, is how the Police in Dickinson handle crime. When I was living in downtown Dickinson for the past three years, I experienced a great deal of theft, and attempted theft. So did my neighbors. When the Police finally did catch the person who stole my truck, to my surprise, they didn’t even charge him with the theft of my truck. And, despite this thief being on parole and caught in the possession of other stolen property and drugs, he was not sent back to prison, and he only spent a couple of months in jail.
See, the Police in Dickinson can’t try to catch, jail, or imprison the people in Dickinson who steal, vandalize, use illegal drugs, or sell illegal drugs, because they would be catching, jailing, and imprisoning about half of the population of Dickinson.
Another consequence of 60% of the people in Dickinson not even being at the Blue-Collar level of people, is that if you go to a restaurant, fast-food restaurant, bar, convenience store, gas station, store, or other type of business in Dickinson, you will likely be dealing with someone who is low-class, white-trash, inbred, hill-billy, sleazy, naer-do-well, drug-addict, criminal, con-artist.
Why is Dickinson like this? It’s a combination of several things. The bright, talented, ambitious people who were born and grew up in Dickinson, most of them leave Dickinson after high school. The dullard, untalented, unmotivated, drug addicts stayed in Dickinson after high school.
Then, because of the oil boom, Dickinson business people and the news media gave a Worldwide shout-out to all the unemployed and low-income people of the World to come to Dickinson, North Dakota, and they did come. And they stayed.