Politicians, the news media, and academics have been paying more attention to rural America since rural residents voted in unprecedented numbers for President Trump in 2016. But the focus on Trump has tended to result in articles and research that oversimplify rural America as mostly populated by white conservatives, Christopher Ingraham

writes

for The Washington Post.

But that narrative doesn't reflect the "messiness and complexity of rural life," Ingraham writes. He should know: he

moved to a rural Minnesota town

 a few years ago after he offended residents by noting in a story that it was dead last in a nationwide ranking of most desirable places to live.

So, Ingraham offers a list of five myths about rural America to keep in mind when reading "sweeping pronouncements about rural America."

The first three myths are that rural is synonymous with Midwestern, white, and conservative. The fourth is that rural Americans don't care about the news, and the fifth is that rural America is the "real" America, Ingraham writes.

The first four myths build up to that last one, which Ingraham writes "may be the most pernicious myth — that life in rural America is more authentic, more American than life anywhere else. The intent of this narrative is to hold rural people up as exemplars of American life and ideals. But adhering to such simplistic avatars denies them much of their messy, complicated humanity. It reduces the rural experience to a crude caricature that advances the interests of a particular political viewpoint — a white, conservative one."

Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.