One man’s Midwest is another man’s Northeast

One man’s Midwest is another man’s Northeast

While transcontinental flight and the equalizing influence of national broadcast television have smoothed out once-gaping gulfs of differences between the different regions of the United States, you still find those who identify strongly with the place they’re from or where they live now. We still speak of Southerners and New Englanders and corn-fed Midwesterners. Texans, Californians, and New Yorkers merit their own special state identities as well. 

Yet, what defines the South or the West or the Midwest? I was reading a book recently by someone who grew up in Savannah, Georgia, and he mentioned a friend who’d moved to Memphis after college. The friend eventually moved back because, the author said, he missed the easygoing Southern culture he’d left. That struck me as funny, since as a New Englander, Memphis is as Southern as Savannah. Evidently, Georgians don’t agree.

When I moved to eastern Ohio for college, I elicited guffaws from classmates from Arizona and Oregon and Washington when I declared Ohio to be the Midwest. From their point of view Ohio—separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the length of one state—was as Eastern as Pennsylvania and New York. in their view the Midwest was Iowa, Minnesota, and even the Dakotas. To my friends from Texas or Alabama, Ohio was the Northeast, as if it were part of New England like Maine and New Hampshire. 

What defines these different regions? What states make up the South or the Southwest, the Midwest and the West? As far as I can tell, the only clearly defined region of the United States, one with a clearly defined set of members is New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. I’m not sure why that is.

How do you identify where you live and what defines your region?

  Posted via email  from Domenico’s posterous 


Written by
Domenico Bettinelli