We are slowly but surely invading the beautifully picturesque campus of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Somehow, we escaped from our igloos, dark, dank forests and steamy tropical jungles and made our way over to a new type of jungle: the urban maze of Washington, D.C. Apparently, our unique group is made up primarily of half-wits who spend the majority of their precious time roping cattle, driving buggies and partaking in a proverbial shot of Jack Daniel’s while sporting a spring loaded shotgun on the porch. It must be very, very strange to suddenly be thrown into the bizarre milieu that is urban college living, yes? Do you know who we are? We are the students from what many of you east coasters view as obscure, almost foreign, lands. We come from North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Alabama, Kentucky, Wyoming and yes, even those odd and strangely disturbing enigmas known commonly as Oregon and Alaska.

Have you ever bristled internally as a seemingly intelligent and well-spoken individual propagated a completely false stereotype?

Odds are that you have, especially if you are a member of any one of a number of minority groups. Black people are taken aback when an uninformed Caucasian makes a poorly thought out remark about affirmative action. Homosexuals are disturbed by uninformed questioning of their lifestyle. Latinos feel attacked when a crack is made about Mexicans working the fields. Yes, members of these groups may feel hurt and disturbed when silly little people make ridiculously strange remarks but they each have a support system in place. More than likely, especially in a university setting, these people have someone just like them to go to and discuss the matter. The members of the obscure states club have no such recourse.

I am a new student here at this great university which I have come to love and I happen to be a reluctant member of the obscure states club. Yes, I am from one of those odd lands you may have never even heard of. It really is a dream for me to be here and New Student Orientation was a wonderfully exciting and fun time. Oh yeah, it was a lot of fun . until I got the log question:

Q: Don’t most of you live in log cabins?

A: Um no, we have cities where I come from.

Q: Oh. I didn’t know that. I’ve learned something new. Wow, Georgetown is so intellectually stimulating.

Hmm. Yes I agree that Georgetown is a highly stimulating institution. But I didn’t realize that some people have previously been so unstimulated that they didn’t realize Oregon had cities! We do have cities, people. In fact, Portland is one of the most livable cities in the country and we have the finest NBA team in the land.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t get particularly offended by individuals who make unsavory comments or have bizarre questions regarding my great (or not so great) state. But it strikes me as a little odd that my supposedly well informed classmates have such divergent impressions of us small staters. Come on, you should know better than to ask the girl from Alaska if it’s cold all the time and if she lives in an igloo. And you shouldn’t be asking that kid from Kentucky if he sits on his front porch, sipping a fine bourbon, with that spring loaded shotgun in his hands. There’s a good chance that he lives in one of those proverbial urban jungles.

Yes, even in Kentucky.

The next time you run into one of the members of the obscure states club, take a step back and ruminate for a minute. The person you are talking to has probably had many of the same life experiences that you have. And more than likely, if he is at Georgetown, he is no country bumpkin. It’s a privilege to be here among some of my brightest peers from around the world. I don’t even mind the vaguely disturbing questions I’ve received from you New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. Oh you’re a Knicks fan. That explains everything.

Moises Mendoza is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

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