States of Color?

I have recently read a few posts at one of my favorite digital haunts, “The Community College Dean,” and in his discussions about interviewing for a new position at another school, he consistently referred to the school as being in “Red State.” I was struck by this, since in that same blog (with the blog entries he has made, and the discussions that follow in the comments) several months ago the “Dean Dad” and others argued that academia isn’t “liberal.” But in the most recent posts on his blog, with his use of “red state” almost implying he had to hold his nose while traveling there, It sure sounds to me like there is a nearly unanimous distaste for the “red states” amongst this blog group. That leads me to wonder if the little group that comments here (and argues that academia isn’t biased in favor of liberalism) is a fair representation of the views of academia.

More importantly for the point of this discussion, I also generally dislike the relatively recent (read, in the past 7 years) trend to referring to states by color, as if that color somehow “means” something. It’s an interesting use of “code words” by a group (liberals) that generally have eschewed such things.

What is it about calling blue states “liberal states” and red states “conservative states” that is so distasteful? Which represents more accurately the views of the state? “Blue” or “Liberal/Progressive”?