Perception of the Cities (Apple Valley, Cottage Grove: condos, schools, live in)
Minneapolis - St. PaulTwin Cities
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Frankly, I have a tough time believing the New Mexico story. Or, at least, I don't believe it happened in the Twin Cities, or at least not in Minneapolis (and you're not saying that it did, but I have a tough time with the "it happened in Minnesota so it's therefore reflective of everyone and every place in the state" idea). There are plenty of Filipono people here, many of them married to people of other backgrounds. It's not particularly unusual or exotic or worthy of note. If the man had friends who were so boorish in their behavior then that's reflective of his family/friends, not society as a whole. Similar thing with the Atlanta couple. If their so-called "friends" treated them like that then I don't blame them for seeking a change of scenery, but that's not how my friends and family behave, and I don't think we're so weird.
I still would like to know where exactly in Minnesota you're living, and to try to tackle more closely if there are differences between different areas of Minnesota and the Twin Cities. Because in Minneapolis it's tough to really believe all this "you're not from around here so I'm going to shun you" sort of thing -- given that so many people here are not from Minneapolis (and many not from Minnesota), it would be extremely difficult to create professional and personal circles that consisted exclusively of Minnesotans. I know things don't work out for everyone, and I can understand why it can be more difficult to make friends here, but I do increasingly feel that there must be some sort of geographic distribution at work here.
Then again, I increasingly feel like there are multiple Minnesotas (and not to get into politics here, but watching Michelle Bachmann talk last night was enough to bring that point home). I think that's true of many places. If you're stuck in one, one in which people are apparently rude or outright racist, then perhaps one should try seeking out a new community within Minnesota.
Minnesota is a pretty unfriendly place. I'm glad I came to Minnesota to go to the U, because it's the only way I could have made friends - surrounded by tens of thousands of people who didn't really know anybody. I was friends with nobody in my workplace, and with nobody in my neighborhood - the exception being one person who I worked with who was from Pittsburgh and also had problems fitting in in Minnesota. I'm generally *not* an outgoing person, so I didn't care that I couldn't make friends. It would have been better to have known people on a meaningful level, but it just didn't happen. Mainly it was quite different than what I'm used to. But there are pros and cons about everyplace, and this just happens to be a con about Minnesota.
There are specific things about my personality that I also think made me somewhat unlikable to Minnesotans. Which is also fine. People are allowed to be different in pretty places. I don't deny that my personality is a better fit in Philadelphia or New York City - but I was born in New York City and raised by people who spent their whole lives there. For a while I tried to be more Minnesotan, or what I perceived to be Minnesotan, but that was pretty dumb on my part. For the last year that I lived there, I pretty much just accepted the fact that I would not interact with anybody in any meaningful way, and I rode it out, since I knew I'd be leaving soon.
As for the New Mexico story, that could happen anywhere. Even more likely to happen in places that are mostly white, which Minnesota is. But I could totally see that happening in the backwards area I grew up in in Pennsylvania. I wouldn't judge Minnesotans as being more or less racist (or whatever it implied by the story) than anywhere else.
It's one thing to say that transplants have difficulty in making friends here, but some of these anecdotes that are passed off as evidence of typical Minnesota behavior really leave me scratching my head. Where ARE these people? I suppose you can find awful people where ever you look, but treating them as typical just looks like axe grinding. One thing I have noted on this forum, in each one, there is at least one thread about how awful the state or city is.
I guess that's the way I see it, too. I've lived in other places, and I've certainly met my share of rude, unpleasant people; it never would have crossed my mind to jump from the conclusion Person A has some issues, Person A is from State X, therefore State X is the problem.
People have so many different aspects of their personality. In today's world I really don't think state of origin means that much anymore, at least from a cultural standpoint. Just because people are from the same state, or even from the same city, doesn't mean that they share any common links or culture (other than a few shared experiences and references.). I don't know if that's good or bad (probably a bit of both), but I think state identify and culture has for the most part gone the way of the dodo.
FamousBlueRaincoat, out of curiosity, what did you perceive to be as Minnesotan?
Basically I ditched my sense of humor and always tried to act nice, even though I'm not used to "acting nice." I had a fairly sarcastic personality that offended people once in a while in PA, but most people got that I wasn't a bad person.
I got the feeling that I was coming off as a much bigger jerk in Minnesota than I did in PA, so I started just "acting nice" - but it was obviously insincere. I know people give Minnesotans a hard time for being insincerely nice, but they at least have practice at it, assuming that's what they are doing. I wasn't too good at it, or at least it felt really awkward, so I mostly stopped trying to talk to anyone besides the couple of friends I met in college. I get the feeling a bunch of them liked me because I brought the "Urban East Coast" attitude or whatever - they found it amusing and different, but I could be reading too much into that situation. College kids are probably just less likely to fit into stereotypes wherever they're from, I would think.
Frankly, I have a tough time believing the New Mexico story.
The messages is available in the New Mexico section of the City-Data forums. It's there for all to see.
There are plenty of Filipono people here, many of them married to people of other backgrounds.
One of the many reasons I trust the story is because it mirrors the attitude towards the Hmong population expressed by my wife's now-deceased relatives. These folks, while largely kind, never had a kind thing to say about the Hmong population moving into the region. As such, it does jibe with my personal experience.
I still would like to know where exactly in Minnesota you're living, and to try to tackle more closely if there are differences between different areas of Minnesota and the Twin Cities.
Northwest Suburb, within half an hour of downtown is as precise as I'll go until we relocate.
Because in Minneapolis it's tough to really believe all this "you're not from around here so I'm going to shun you" sort of thing -- given that so many people here are not from Minneapolis (and many not from Minnesota),
Yet it's absolutely true. More to the point, I'm not alone. Just read the responses to that linked article to see that the situation I've encountered is not at all unique.
...it would be extremely difficult to create professional and personal circles that consisted exclusively of Minnesotans.
Professional circles including transplant exist, of course. Personal circles? Demonstrably a different story.
My wife has actually made friendship inroads with another transplant from work. This woman is smart, capable, pretty, and funny. She's also looking to leave both her job and the region as soon as she can because she has tried and failed for two years to make friends locally.
She lives near downtown Minneapolis. She's tried every tactic she knows to make friends. Isn't happening here.
She offered one telling comment to my wife the other day: "I'm a friendly person, but this place is turning me into a hermit!"
Having met her, I can vouch that the issue sure isn't her. She's a terrific person. But she's facing the same issues so many others have.
Then again, I increasingly feel like there are multiple Minnesotas (and not to get into politics here, but watching Michelle Bachmann talk last night was enough to bring that point home).
Bachmann's ascendancy is yet another reason for us to pull-up stakes and leave.
I was born and raised here, yet both my family and friends include a lot of people who are not from here. I don't think that's unusual.
Maybe the NW 'burbs are a different kind of place -- here in Minneapolis I've heard plenty of nice things about people from other countries, including Hmong. If the New Mexico man's story was true (not doubting it was posted, just doubt that it happened as described, or if so, that it can used to represent a state -- racist friends and relatives, maybe, but not a state) then it's so drastically different than my experiences here. How come people are so willing to believe the worst? People are individuals.
As for the woman downtown: she's friends with your wife, so I guess I still fail to see the problem. Presumably she has other friends, too. Is she concerned with the origins of her friends? That seems to be the overwhelming argument on these threads: "most of my friends are transplants, so I don't like Minnesota." Well, most of my friends are transplants, too, but I don't care. They're friends, right? When you live in an area where every other person is from another state or country, the odds are that you'll have a lot of friends who are from somewhere else. I don't see how that's a problem. And if people are living in a community where 50% (or probably more, in some of the neighborhoods around downtown) are from elsewhere, is it fair to blame native Minnesotans exclusively for the friends issue?
Some zip codes in or near downtown Mpls:
55405 -- 45% born in MN (not necessarily Metro Area, though)
55408 -- 43% born in MN
55414 -- 44% born in MN
So while I'm sorry her experience has been negative, I'm not so sure that one can blame that exclusively on Minnesotans.
I don't deny that it can be tougher here because those numbers are still higher than some places, but I still think there may be some differences based on demographics or age. I think some of these stereotypes ("everyone" is from here) are also outdated, at least when you look at the city. Many people AREN'T from here, so they, too, are making new friends and aren't counting on friends from grade school to see them through.
55405 -- 45% born in MN (not necessarily Metro Area, though)
55408 -- 43% born in MN
55414 -- 44% born in MN
I don't know if it's fair to look at 55414 - as it is presumably a large percentage college students. Many of whom, like me, also wind up leaving Minnesota soon afterward. It's somewhat misleading, as a typical adult moving to the Twin Cities would probably not want to try to join college social circles.
But, yes - otherwise, the best to give someone who may be concerned about friends is to move in or near uptown or downtown. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people (most people?) who don't particularly want to live in that type of urban environment, but still would like to have friends. That's pretty reasonable.
55414 has a lot more than just the U, though (or undergrads, for that matter), and if anything those numbers (given that it's a state university) could skew things in favor of being born in the state. I get your point, though, and generally would agree that many of these zip codes are also more transient with more people moving both in and out.
It's true that that doesn't help people who prefer a more suburban environment. I think the percentages of people born in the state is changing there, too; the Twin Cities of today are no longer some provincial outpost.
Born in MN:
Apple Valley: 58%
Shoreview: 69% (wow, that is pretty high!)
White Bear Lake: 74% (okay, even higher -- maybe this heavily varies by part of metro)
Cottage Grove -- 73%
Maybe the message here is that percentage of people from other states varies tremendously even among suburbs of similar "types." My experience is mostly with Mpls and the SW suburb, so I was kind of surprised at how much those numbers varied heading out the other direction. I still don't think Minnesotans are inherently not open to new friends, but do agree that it's probably easier somewhere where more of your neighbors and people you'll meet in the community aren't already maxed out, time-wise, with lots of family and old friend obligations.
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