I love New Hampshire. I’ve lived here my entire life (so far). I’m exceptionally proud of my state, it’s history, it’s traditions, it’s people. I’ve visited many other states, but I’ve yet to find one that suits me as well as good old Cow Hampshire.
But I’m not blind to our flaws.
New Hampshire is not the most diverse of states. In fact, I don’t have the actual comparative numbers, but according to the last census, 97.56% of New Hampshirites are white. I don’t think that’s really a result of any conscious decisions or actions or attitudes, though. We’re a largely rural state that has some truly nasty winters — two elements that favor European stock over those from other areas. We also have a fierce independent streak and a general distrust of big government (two elements that seem to be fading, dang it), and that also seems to have a screening effect.
But every now and then, i see a bit of news that makes me realize that Cow Hampshire is, indeed, growing more and more diverse — and I find it gladdening.
Such as this story, about the little town of Bethlehem.
I grew up in a very small town, but I’ve always preferred cities. Small to medium cities, mostly — while Manchester is New Hampshire’s biggest city, it only has about 110,000 people — about 1 in 12 New Hampshirites. I currently live in Lebanon, New Hampshire, a “city” in name only — most places would consider a community of 12,500 or so a “town.” I like the conveniences and amenities of city life.
But for all that, I think I wouldn’t mind living in or around Bethlehem. I’ve been there once or twice, and it seemed like a nice place. And I suspect these newcomers will only make it — and the rest of the state — better.