When people think of Mississippi, they think racism, unemployment and lack of education. This is most likely because most Mississippi college graduates don’t stay in Mississippi.
I have considered leaving more times than I could count, but I realize that to overcome the stigma of this place, I have to stay in this place. Making a difference can happen anywhere and this is my home. Why not start here? College graduates can and should make the best of our state.
Everyone knows about Mississippi. They know that we have a high unemployment rate, high welfare rate and a high rate of silly, stupid people. Every time we hear anything about our beloved home, we are aware of the blemishes that go along with it. It is almost as if we are afraid to even mention or have ourselves associated with it. Our history shows that we have little to show for ourselves in the way of pride. We are, to the world, the landmass between New Orleans and Mobile.
So why would we possibly want to stay here with our college degrees when we could go out into the world and make a difference as well as a larger income potential?
Quite simply, we should stay because if we all leave, then we leave behind a place which is ruled by stupidity, backwardness and all the bad things that we have tried so long to disassociate ourselves with. We leave what we were given without any hope of change or betterment for future generations. We should stay to correct what is wrong with our state.
Everyone has a point when they want to break free and see the world from different perspectives. In fact, most people hate their home state. There isn’t a state in the United States that doesn’t bear the taint of stereotypes and shame.
New Jersey is the sewer of New York filled with fist-pumping, fake tanning, shallow people. New York, California, Nevada and Louisiana actively practice all seven deadly sins—sometimes simultaneously. Texas is full of drug cartels and people who don’t know how to drive their over-sized SUVs. Washington state is full of hipster coffee lovers. Colorado is a hippie commune filled with pot heads. Missouri is the tweaker capital. Florida and Rhode Island are known as unappealing body parts – one phallic, one armpit. And these states all have one thing in common: they all have stupid and backward people. No state is free from stereotypes, nor will they ever be.
At least once in everyone’s life, they feel some sort of disassociation with where they are from, and that’s OK. It seems perfectly normal. However, what we have in Mississippi is not like what other states experience. It seems as if almost all of our college graduates are flocking elsewhere, while only a small percentage are fleeing from their homes in other states.
We are leaving behind our home more readily than anyone else in the United States and we are uncaring of the fact that our migration is detrimental to our state. We need business owners, scientists and teachers who care about the people of this state, regardless of the fact that they are overwhelmingly stigmatized.
We need doctors, lawyers and activists who would sacrifice their time and effort to ensure that everyone in this state has the ability to live comfortably. We need politicians with different views, sociologists who aren’t biased and psychologists who actually care about the mental health of the people of this state.
We need what we lack and we will never have it unless college-educated people stay here. The grass isn’t any greener on the other side. Outside Mississippi’s borders, there is a whole other world but whether or not that world is better is up to interpretation and long hours of furious debate.