Everyone’s Welcome, But Some People Are More Welcome Than Others

a road sign along the side of a highway reading "tennessee welcomes you"
Photo by famartin via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Since the 2016 election, my non-scientific review estimates that the media has published seven zillion articles on Trump voters living in rural America, roughly seven zillion more than were necessary. Mother Jones’ Becca Andrews traveled back to the area where she grew up, Crockett County in West Tennessee, to talk instead to people of color living and working in rural, red states. The stories she hears aren’t as bad as a white person who hasn’t been paying much attention would think. They’re worse — a lot worse.

The day after the November presidential election, Turner went with her mother to the store, and they both kept their heads down. “We just feel like we don’t belong here anymore,” she says.

Turner’s mom, who cleans houses in town for a living, went to work a couple of days after that, and her employer, an older white woman, brought up the results of the recent election. The two had talked politics before—Turner’s mom is a Democrat, and her employer is a Republican. “Well, you might as well come and live with me now,” the employer said. “You gonna be mine eventually.”

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