Is Alabama Running Off Its Smart Women?

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately. Right now my only evidence is anecdotal, but I help people who are going through divorce, and they tend to be painfully honest with me, so my anecdotal observations tend to be trustworthy. Within the last three weeks I have talked to five intelligent, articulate women who are leaving Alabama.

If you’re curious about where they’re going, one is moving to Indiana, one to Japan, one to Colorado, one to California, and the last to Vancouver. These are the kind of women you want as neighbors, who speak in complete sentences, who are able to understand and critically examine both sides of an argument, and who read for pleasure (and not just People Magazine). I know people leave all the time. But for the record, during this same time I haven’t talked to a single dumb ugly white man who’s leaving.

Why are these smart women giving up on Alabama? After I talked to the first two, I started asking. Here are their answers, in no particular order:

  • It’s too hot and humid here (not much we can do about this one)
  • Too many guns
  • Too many republicans
  • Too many homophobes (to my knowledge all five women are heterosexual)
  • Too little support for public schools and the teachers who work in them
  • Too little opportunity for people like them.
  • What does this mean for our state? I’ll leave that to others to figure out. It doesn’t seem good, though.

    2 comments

    1. Sarah says:

      I stumbled on your blog and read your entries with interest. If my comments are inappropriate I will not be offended if you delete them.

      I’ll not bore you with the details of my life but it’s sufficient to say that I’m an educated and intelligent woman who is also leaving the south, although it isn’t Alabama it’s close enough.

      I have always lived in the south because it suited who I was from the time I was a teenager until I divorced. My husband earned enough for our family to live comfortably and I could keep myself active by doing charity work for different organizations.

      There were so many things that I failed to notice before I was on my own such as how few jobs there are for a person who has been out of the work force for many years, and how little decent housing is available for a person with a modest income.

      As a married woman I was my husbands property, which cut down on the amount of men who considered my ‘assets’ a right of theirs. After my divorce I was community property and Bubba was well within his imagined rights to take a small sample.

      The security of my hometown makes the decision to leave difficult. I have friends here who went through kindergarten in Ms. Johansons class with me and have remained friends throughout the years. I want to stay but there really isn’t a place for me any more except in memories or occasional visits home.

      Maybe if the economic divide were not so rigid, or if there were better opportunities for single mothers without chastisement I could stay. Perhaps if I could learn to ignore the degradation and humiliation I feel when ‘Bubba’ slaps my backside as I try to work for 40% of minimum wage I could stay.

      Maybe in a perfect world I could live where I want without giving consideration to who I live next to but the deep south does not deserve to have me as a neighbor if the people who live here cannot be a better neighbor to me.

      There is the bitter truth from a lady who is fleeing the south, spoken as I feel it because I have to power to remain anonymous.

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