Word

The Midwesterner Theory

As an out of state student, I have been placed in a whole new world. Philadelphia is a far cry from my suburban hometown in Ohio. Instead of fields and trees surrounding me, now I have giant glass buildings and concrete. It was a difficult adjustment at first, but by now I feel like I have assimilated to the city lifestyle. Recently though, it was brought to my attention that there is a theory about Midwesterners that people believe applies to me as well. Apparently, I have been told that we are heads and tails more friendly and sweet than our counterparts.

As much as I would love to agree with the theory, I have personally had relationships with people that I have met here at Drexel that counter that argument. It is true that in the city life moves more quickly than in tightly packed away neighborhoods, but I think what is different is the sheer amount of people that come from different backgrounds. In North Canton, Ohio the clear majority of people are white, middle class, and have an immense amount of privilege. Obviously, that is a generalization that has exceptions, but to an observer it would seem like a sea of the same people. In Philadelphia, when I walk around on campus or in center city, no two people ever look the same.

It is true that in the Midwest politeness is a staple lesson for children because of the deep-rooted values of traditional roles and Christianity in the region, but what I disagree with is that those individuals are kinder. To me kindness is an ambiguous word with meanings that are different to everyone. I believe that Midwesterners are more directly friendly with their words, but I have met people from Vietnam who have shown me more kindness through their actions than the few Midwesterners I’ve also met.

The moral of the story is that, while I would love to say that everyone in the Midwest is a sweetheart, that is not the case. Kindness comes in many forms and once you understand that culture and background effects that, you gain a whole new outlook on humanity.

Kate Stone

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