By Carter Coudriet, New Jersey

Staff Writer

Jersey Shore. Gambling. Jersey Shore. Smog. Jersey Shore.

For those that have never been to the Garden State, New Jersey seems to be a contradiction of its nickname- an area plagued by Pauly D and fist pumping. However, few would guess that the state with one of the highest carbon monoxide emissions is also one of the top five states for blueberry and cranberry production.

For many delegates, the 2012 Conference on National Affairs is their first time on the mountain, as well as their first exposure to many other states. Therefore, many stereotypes exist for those with only the media to rely on.

Many of these stereotypes place an air of infamy on some states, such as the heavily rural state of West Virginia.

“They’re kind of paired with New Jersey where if you’re going to make a joke, you’re going to joke about West Virginia,” said Samantha, a neighboring Virginian delegate. “They’re a ‘unique’ state.”

Jeremiah from Mississippi even weighed in on the stereotypes of his own state. “[Our stereotypes are that] we can’t read, we can’t write, we drink moonshine, we own guns, and we all want the South to rise again.”

As CONA is sure to reveal to us, our preconceived notions are often not entirely true. “Of course the federal government umbrella seems to take D.C.” stated Ryan, a resident of our nation’s capital.

“There’s a lot more to D.C. It’s a city that’s alive and doing well with regular people and regular houses.” Michael, from the stereotypically cowboy and rodeo state of Texas, described a Lone Star State as “not too different from other suburban areas”.

“I have never worn a cowboy hat or boots seriously in my life. I’ve never been hunting either,” says Michael.


After interviewing numerous delegates from all over America, I compiled a collective list of stereotypes. In addition to what was printed in The Blue Ridge Journal, this is what I found:

  • The most common stereotyped mentioned was indeed the Jersey Shore for New Jersey.
  • In addition to what was stated in the article, delegates commented on the beautiful beaches and Disney World in Florida.
  • The South as a whole was often stereotyped as an area full of Southern belles, courteous gentlemen, and Southern hospitality.
  • Kentucky was described as a beautiful state that also brought us Kentucky Fried Chicken.
  • Louisiana was singled out for the beautiful cultural center of New Orleans with Mardi Gras, in addition to, as Sam from Wisconsin stated, “hurricanes and alligators.”
  • When Washington, the state with the farthest trip to CONA, was mentioned, the first words that came to mind were the Twilight saga, volcanoes, and forests.
  • Minnesotans were stereotyped as forward thinkers with “awesome accents.”
  • Pennsylvania was described as the old fashioned home of our founding fathers.
  • Also the home of the American automobile industry, Michigan residents were frequently described as “huggers.”
  • Maryland was highlighted for its amazing crab and diversity.
  • In addition to the Durant-led Thunder, delegates most frequently mentioned the musical, Oklahoma! when asked about the Sooner State.