Midwest seems to be a trigger word. When you call Minnesotans Midwesterners, you can see some people react to the word (perhaps a less extreme reaction than the word hipster which will piss off people here faster than Ann Coulter). They get a tight little smile and change the subject quickly. I may not be the best with social queues but I even recognize the signs and wonder, what did I say wrong?
It wasn’t until I ran across a funny opinion piece on CNN titled “Hey Midwest, Minnesota wants a divorce” that I got my first clue. It talks to Minnesota being a part of the North, not the Midwest. This never crossed my mind but makes a lot of sense. Midwesterners are not a homogenous people, much as folks from both coasts think that “fly-over” land is all the same. While I was always defensive of the “fly-over” comments, I was just as ignorant about the cultural differences throughout what I considered the Midwest.
One quote in the article made me laugh out loud. Someone from Wisconsin describes Minnesota Nice as “sarcastic, pretentious and exclusionary.” Awww, that’s so sweet. It’s another thing that I was clueless about before moving here, the rivalry between these two states. Of course, Minnesotans dish it right back out, referring to “those godless Wisconsonites”.
Here’s to being Northerners.