Tag Archives: culture in Dickinson North Dakota

Class And Race Distinction In The South Versus Dickinson, North Dakota

On Saturday I was reading an internet news article about the poor and poverty in Charlotte, North Carolina.  According to the article, though Charlotte is doing well as far as economic and growth indicators, the poor stay poor like no where else in the United States.  The news article gave several different reasons and detailed explanations of why the poor people stay poor in Charlotte.  In being so thorough in the explanations, an uneducated or simple minded reader would not have realized that the writer was saying that this was mostly deliberate.

Yes, wealthy people in the South, politicians, leaders, and people in prominent public and private positions do not promote poor whites, poor blacks, and poor minorities.  The wealthy people in the South, do not want to have very much to do with poor whites, poor blacks, and poor minorities, other than to put them to work at physical labor jobs to make them money or get work accomplished.

In the South, there is class distinction, there are social rules, and enforcement of social rules.  If you are educated, have good manners, and enough money, you are welcome in any wealthy or upper class social environment in the South.  If you lack any of these three things, you are less welcome, but lack of good manners is not forgivable.

It happens every year, in every town or city in the South, that a person arrives who has money, possibly an education, but no manners.  This person would be thought of in simple terms as an “asshole” or a “Yankee”, or a combination of these two terms.

The “Yankee asshole” might think that they have enough money to walk over everyone else.  This mistake gets made every year.  There is enforcement of social rules.  They may buy land to build a “McMansion”, but surprisingly to them, never get zoning, use, EPA wetlands, endangered species habit threat, access road, utility easement, building plan approval.  They can try to fight it out in court.  They can spend a lot of their money on attorneys to argue with other attorneys, and appear before judges who all went to high school and college together.  The attorneys and judges don’t mind if it takes a long time and a lot of money.

An “Asshole Yankee” might think that they have enough money to walk over everyone else and start any business they wish.  This mistake gets made every year.  A local person may sell them or lease them property for a business, or maybe they won’t.  Planning, zoning, permitting may even let them start a business.  It may have been decided, let them buy the land and building from so and so, let them have their permitting, let this local contractor do the remodeling, let them hire the local electricians, plumbers, carpenters, dry wallers, painters, and landscapers.  Let them get this property all fixed up to make their restaurant.  Let them hire local people to work there.

The wealthy people’s wives and daughters may want to go to this new restaurant, or whatever business it is, to see what it looks like, what they have, and to try it out.  If enough wealthy people’s wives and daughters like a new business, the wealthy people may decide to patronize it and allow it to exist, concluding, “That asshole Yankee wasn’t so bad after all.  He created a lot of jobs, and I like his business.”  However, if the business owner continued to act pushy, aggressive, rude, and without any manners, his business would be doomed to failure.

So far, I described the enforcement of social rules as it applies to people with money, likely people from somewhere else, because they never would have been allowed to make that money in the South.  The news article that I read about poor people staying poor in Charlotte, North Carolina, does have something to do with the wealthy people in the South having control over who makes money and who gets ahead, based on what kind of person they are, and how they behave.

To educated white protestant wealthy people in the South, and to educated black protestant wealthy people in the South, it seems blatantly obvious, that you don’t give a lot of money to uneducated, uncouth, or trashy people.  To maintain order, peace, quiet, and civility in towns in the South, the educated, well mannered, well meaning people get to make and accumulate money, and the uneducated trashy naer-do-well people don’t get paid a lot of money so that they can’t cause a lot of harm.

Though I can’t explain it all in this blog post, I will try to give a brief description of what the social order is supposed to be in the South.  Husbands and wives in good families, stay together, raise their children, supervise their children, discipline their children, and try to enforce what is right and what is wrong in their families.  This means that the husbands and wives don’t cheat on each other, and that no one in the family lies, steals, or uses illegal drugs.  It is hoped that the children will do well in school, and go to college if possible.  These are basic protestant values.  It is believed that if each individual family behaves with these values, the entire community will be a good one.  These people are allowed to make money and accumulate money, and are given the opportunity for good jobs, advancement, and education.

However, on the other hand, people in the South who demonstrate destructive behavior such as: alcoholism, illegal drug use, theft, dishonesty, recklessness, carelessness, laziness, criminality, irresponsibility, and stupidity, these people are not looked upon as beneficial to the community.  These people are not considered for good jobs, advancement, or education.  In the South, it is not desirable to pay these people high wages, this would be like promoting carelessness, irresponsibility, recklessness, and stupidity.

So yes, in the South, wealthy people, people in prominent private and public positions, do try to determine and control who makes and accumulates money, and who gets ahead.  They would rather see people from good families, with good protestant morals, ethics, and values get ahead and be successful, rather than trying to equalize their communities by dividing up the good jobs with people who don’t demonstrate their protestant morals, ethics, and values.

To compare this with Dickinson, North Dakota, the local people and the local employers here in Dickinson would rather hire someone who did four years in prison than hire someone who did four years in college.  The people in Dickinson, rather than seeing someone who did four years in college as someone willing to work, educate themselves,, and apply themselves, the people in Dickinson see these people as being “no good”.

In Dickinson, North Dakota, two of the largest manufacturing companies in Dickinson, offered me, a degreed and experienced engineer, $18 per hour, forty hours per week, which equals $720 per week.  At this same time in Dickinson, concrete laborers and road flaggers with criminal records and no education, were being paid $1,200 to $1,400 per week.

In Dickinson, the way that people are paid and advanced, this is why you have ignorant uneducated workers with a new four dour 7,000 lb diesel truck trying to drive 60 mph in a 25 mph residential neighborhood.  In Dickinson, this is why if you went to the nicest restaurants in town, you  would be seated next to ignorant uneducated oil field workers telling white trash tales of drunkeness and sex with fat ugly women.

In Dickinson, this is why you have doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals coming to Dickinson and leaving within a couple of months due to having to live amongst dirty, uneducated, ignorant, white trash oil field workers, having to live in a town that functions and works at a low level, and having to work with local nurses and administrators that are a product of an uneducated and ignorant town.

One of the reasons why the local people and local employers hate educated people, and try to hire and promote uneducated people, is the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church has nearly a two thousand year history of wanting to control people by telling them what to think and do, and discouraged education of people which would lead to them reading, understanding, and interpreting the Bible for themselves.  To the protestants in the South, by all means, please everyone educate yourself, read and understand the Bible for yourself, the more you learn and know, the better you will be.  To the Catholics in Dickinson, the less you know the better for them, the less education the better for them, this makes people easier to control, this makes people reliant on what they tell them, this makes people more able to be manipulated.

Children Do Not Play In Dickinson, North Dakota

I have lived in Dickinson for nearly 3-1/2 years now, and I have never seen children playing in the street.  When I was a kid, I spent about 25% of my time playing in the street.  I would try to do tricks on my bicycle, I could ride my bike backwards very well.  I could only ever do wheelies for about ten feet.  I could hardly ever do front wheel stands.  We would build bigger and better ramps in the street, and measure how far everybody jumped.  If there was somebody dumb enough to do it, we would stand garbage cans upright for someone to jump over, which meant they were going to land on them.

If there happened to be a grocery store shopping cart in the neighborhood, we would take a hacksaw and cut the basket off the top of it, and make a chariot out of the lower part.  We would get a rope, tie one end to the seat of a bicycle, the other end to the front bar of the grocery cart chariot.  The bicycle would ride down the middle of the street, the chariot rider would swing out to the curb.

About 25% of the time we would spend on “forts”.  Some of the time was spent inhabiting and maintaining existing “forts”, part of the time was spent prospecting and building new forts.  This seemed only natural to do.  I had a good tree fort in my yard, which I sometimes spent the night in.  I ran an extension cord out to my tree fort and had a TV in it.  However, there was a need for additional “forts” elsewhere.  We constructed a pretty good tree fort about half a block away in somebody else’s yard, without them knowing about it, which is the best way to do it.  We salvaged lumber from people’s trash piles, or obtained lumber from other people’s yards.  We had another tree fort about one block away over a storm drainage canal, it was very picturesque.

I never see kids in Dickinson playing in the street, I never see them building tree forts.  I have not seen one tree fort in Dickinson.  I have written several blog posts about how the culture in Dickinson is different than from where I am from.  For instance, I have mentioned in past blog posts that there is just about nothing an out-of-state person can say that they have, without someone in Dickinson not liking it and having resentment.  If you said that you had an aquarium, a trampoline, a pool table, or a swimming pool, people in Dickinson would not like it, they would think or say,”We don’t need any of that shit around here!”  I explained in previous blog posts, that after visiting the museum in Medora, and having talked to long-time residents in Dickinson, conditions in North Dakota had been very difficult and poor up until the late 1970s when there was an oil boom.

I have only ever met two people from western North Dakota that know how to play.  One of them was Miss North Dakota, who I wrote about meeting in a previous blog post.  Miss North Dakota’s family members have all commented, that while they were all trying to get work done, she was always playing.  When she was in school, instead of participating in sports, she was off playing.  She plays with cats and other animals.  She just wants to play, she is still playing, and she doesn’t want to get married until she is in her forties she says.  The other person that I know, is the same age as Miss North Dakota, and she plays with her cats and dogs too.  I am not talking about go fetch this ball, I am talking about,”Here is your house, and here is your hat, and here is your jacket, put this on.”

The other unusual thing about Miss North Dakota and the other young lady, is that they don’t have a kid yet.  Many other young women in western North Dakota get pregnant right away.  For them, it’s not like, let’s play doctor, or let’s play house, it’s “I’m pregnant.  No, I’m serious, I’m pregnant.”

What I have noticed in Dickinson, is that there is not a wide range of thought, it is kind of narrow.  I have written several blog posts titled “Advice to Women in Dickinson”, where I wrote that young women should not think of moving in with a guy right out of high school and getting pregnant, as the only thing there is to do.

At this point, this post is probably upsetting and hurtful to people from Dickinson.  I am not trying to be mean in this post, other posts I might be, but not in this one.  I want to point out, that people from out-of-state like myself, come to Dickinson, and experience some culture shock.  In the South, where it is warm, people play.  People surf, sail, swim, canoe, jet ski, water ski, ride horses, play tennis, play golf, roller blade, skateboard, mountain bike, play volleyball, have paint ball battles.  Here in Dickinson, kids don’t even play.

More Culture Shock In Dickinson, North Dakota

In the South, where I grew up, education is valued and respected.  If a person was a teacher, a preacher, a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer, they were respected.  I believe that there were several reasons for this.  Church and the Bible were important in the lives of people in the South.  The preacher was looked upon as a person with higher learning, as wise, as having sound judgement, as someone to be respected.  The preacher, nor the citizens, would tolerate disrespect towards a preacher. Similarly, teachers were looked upon as someone with higher learning, as wise, and having sound judgement, as someone to be respected.  Doctors were very highly valued, they were treated with respect and were treated as very important people.

Anyone in the South, would hope that their child would grow up to be a teacher, a preacher, a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. It was good that a child would grow up to be knowledgeable, well read, knowing about the world, able to make informed decisions, to be able to practice their profession where they chose, to not be tied to a place, or to be limited in life by the lack of understanding or lack of knowledge.

I did very well in school, my classmates who liked me were proud of me, my classmates who didn’t like me wouldn’t deny that what I had done was good, that I would go to college, that that was good.  When I was going to college and working, my co-workers whether they liked me or not, they would not disagree that what I was doing was good.  When I graduated with a degree in engineering and went to work as an estimator, engineer, superintendent, and project manager, my employers and co-workers either acknowledged, or did not disagree that the engineering education and learning was important.

When I got to North Dakota, I found that the people here have disgust and hatred for people with an education.  In about the middle of 2013, there was a national newspaper article, that said North Dakota had the highest percentage of people in the United States with less than an 8th grade education, and, that North Dakota had the highest per capita beer consumption. That explained a lot.

As I explained in my previous post, I have been to the North Dakota pioneer museums, life was very hard in North Dakota, the early pioneers in the late 1800s and early 1900s lived in houses made of grass sod because there were no trees to make lumber.  They had to burn dried animal dung for heating and cooking.  Whole families of six to ten people lived in houses that were less than 300 square feet.  Life was very hard in North Dakota, even into the 1950s and 1960s.  What good would it have done for a man or woman to gain higher learning if they were going to have to fight the land and the cold to survive.  There would not have been a way to spare children from daily labor necessary for survival, for them to have the time to do a great deal of studying.  There would have not been any money to send children away to college.

If a man or woman did start to learn about the world, about what life was like in London, Paris, New York City, or Miami, and were interested in that sort of life, would they remain in North Dakota, and once they were away, and knew what it was like to have a toilet, would they ever want to return to Dickinson?  I imagine that the people who had the aptitude for college and were able to leave Dickinson, might not have wanted to return because there were not any job opportunities for them, suitable marriage opportunities, cultural or social opportunities, just a very hard bleak life of farming with seven months of winter.

So the reason why most of long time residents in Dickinson hate people with an education, is because they do not have an education.  They never saw the need for it, it had nothing to do with their way of life, or they wanted more education, but did not get it, and now they are bitter about it.  The people who got an education probably do not come back,  I know how they feel, it is very frustrating trying to live and work with the highest beer consuming/lowest education level people in the United States who hate people with a college education.