He has a face like a hoosier Michael Angelo
March 17, 2015 6:12 PM   Subscribe

I thought it was really interesting how in St. Louis, the "hoosier" is distinguished from the "redneck" and "white trash." From growing up in Southeast Michigan, it's really similar to how we'd use "downriver," (i.e. places like Wyandotte), and it's pretty much the exact same stereotypes I've heard while visiting Vancouver about people from Surrey.

(via Bookhouse, a St. Louis native.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:17 PM on March 17, 2015

I'm from St. Louis and I was 16 before I found out what a "real" Hoosier is (i.e. a person from Indiana.)

It's a fun word to use (also, the short version hoos - "I dunno, it's pretty hoos in there.")

My brother named his house The Hoosier Mansion.
posted by saul wright at 7:23 PM on March 17, 2015

You can also say "hooseois" in St. Louis to refer to the more middle class type of hoosier.

In my experience, hoosier in St Louis usually has a connotation of an angry or aggressive person in addition to the socioeconomic stuff - like someone who wants to fight you on the side of the road in traffic.
posted by Mid at 7:40 PM on March 17, 2015

For those wondering how they're pronounced,
"Hoosier" - ['hoo zhur]
"Hoos" - [hoozh] (you might greet an old friend "hey, hoos!" "hey shit-head!")
"Hooseois" - [hoo 'zhwah] (you may have more money but you're still a hoosier)
"Hooseoisie" - ['hoo zhwah zee] (all the hooseois, collectively; South St. Louis county, on down to Jefferson County)
posted by notsnot at 7:52 PM on March 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

as an ...Indiana resident, I take issue.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:54 PM on March 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

..you say hoosier/I say redneck
let's call the whole thing off
and argue about how different cultures developed the bagpipe.
posted by bird internet at 8:27 PM on March 17, 2015

Hadn't thought about that usage in years. Back when I lived in St Louis, I remember thinking it curious when locals flung around "hoosier" as an insulting description before I realized that the usage didn't seem to have any association with Indiana.

Also, I miss the RFT from back in the day.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:55 PM on March 17, 2015

Dunn noted that the word "hoosier" existed in southern usage as a common slang term for uncouth rustics probably before it was ever applied to Indiana's frontiersmen; moreover, "hoosier" continued to be used in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee as a general derogatory term for people characterized as crude bumpkins long after Indiana's Hoosiers thought they had claimed the nickname for themselves alone." -- "The Origin of the Word "Hoosier": A New Interpretation", Indiana Magazine of History
posted by dhartung at 11:34 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

What was that old joke I read in as book by a Kentuckian?

Why is there a bridge across the Ohio River? So the Hoosiers can swim in the shade.
posted by jonmc at 7:53 AM on March 18, 2015

Sixth-generation native Missourian here, but I didn't know this usage until I went to college at Mizzou and befriended some St. Louisans.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:51 AM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd love to get into all of the regional nuance and history and everything with the term, but, frankly, having gown up in St. Louis, I think hoosier just means "lower socioeconomic status white rural/semi-rural person."

I suppose one of the more interesting things about the term is that it is kind of anti-Southern or anti-"Country," which I think speaks to St. Louisians feeling like the Southern/Country-ish/rural stuff is lurking just a few miles out of town -- i.e., you insult whatever you are trying your hardest not to be (and perhaps fear that you are or could become).
posted by Mid at 12:21 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is a song about being stuck in and hating Indianapolis by a St. Louis , MO band (Bottle Rockets). I am a natural born hoosier and like the song.
posted by Hoosier Prospector at 1:57 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm here just to drop off Mu330's Hoosier Love.

KKK Hiway is another near St. Louis song, but that's a whole other post.
posted by gc at 3:47 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Years ago I used to bus tables at this restaurant on the Hill and I overheard this dude with an amazing white mullet defiantly say to another guy "oh you're from Dogtown? Try Carondelet Park, CUZ!" Like he was throwing down the hoosier gauntlet. It was cool.
posted by evisceratordeath at 3:50 PM on March 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

I suppose one other interesting thing about "hoosier" in St. Louis is that it is a totally acceptable word to say publicly or in polite company, whereas "cracker" or "white trash" would obviously not be acceptable - but there really isn't very much difference between what all three phrases connote. There must be similar phrases in other contexts - basically socially acceptable terms for impolite/offensive stereotypes - but I can't think of any offhand.
posted by Mid at 7:53 AM on March 19, 2015

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