You From Here?
Assimilation in 2022 America
Shortly after arriving in Minnesota, I was descending to the lobby in a Duluth hotel elevator when midway, the elevator stopped at a lower floor, and in walked a stocky, middle-aged white guy. With a shaved head, narrowing eyes, plaid shirt, and work boots, he had the appearance and demeanor of a small-town cop on vacation with his family. He looked at me with suspicion and, in a voice and tone of an interrogator, asked, “you from here?”. Satisfied to hear I wasn’t from Duluth or Minnesota, our elevator door opened to the lobby, and we went our separate ways.
Anyway, what does it mean to be from “here”? Generally, it means to have been born in the same geographical place and share the same values and love for your geographical home. You outwardly show your passion for the “here” by supporting local sports teams, embracing the natural attractions, cuisine, and culture that make the “here” unique.
In a post-George Floyd era of choosing sides over political, racial, and societal issues, “fitting in” can be problematic and go beyond just showing love for local sports teams and cuisine. Whether you’re from here or not, and not of the same race or ethnicity as others, also from here, who have set the standards for “here,” do you still try to be from “here”?