DOES IT BOTHER YOU? We don’t pump gas… or our fists

By Hannah McCrone, Opinion Editor

“Oh so, do you like know Snooki?” “What’s a tanning bed like?” “Say cawfee. Wait, no! Say dwaahhg.” “You must have a serious case of road rage.” “Is everyone you know eye-talian?” “So like…what’s the mob like?”

Does it bother you that every time you go away and reveal you’re a New Jersey native, your immediately overwhelmed with these questions? Every stereotype the other states have on “Dirty Jerz” is forced on you and there’s just no way they couldn’t be true, at least according to them.

In reality, there are plenty of non-Italian people in New Jersey, and most people aren’t involved in or affiliated with the mob一although “The Sopranos” was filmed right here in North Caldwell一and only people from Long Island say “cawfee” or “dwaagh”. A good deal of girls stay far away from the tanning salon, there are lots of calm drivers, it’s never pronounced “Joisey” by anyone from Jersey and no, we probably don’t know Snooki.

It’s usually an unavoidable question, — “Where are you from?” — when you leave the Northeast, but it’s something I prefer to avoid until absolutely necessary to reveal. As soon as you tell someone outside the safe space that is the tri-state area where you hail from, with some exceptions, the response is immediate. The questions I’ve listed above are asked, the looks or given, and you are suddenly placed into a stereotypical box.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be proud to be a New Jerseyan, as I am more than happy with my home state and the way I grew up. But it’s understandable to hide your heritage when it’s met with such disdain. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but it’s just the way the world works. But it still bothers me.

Not to mention, all of the positive stereotypes一if that’s possible一are seemingly forgotten by other states. New Jerseyans can proudly boast to having the hands down best bagels, every good night ends at a diner and we know how to drive, well, not angrily .

The real problem isn’t the supposed “Armpit of America” as New Jersey is called, it’s the reflexive judgement some people have. Judging New Jersey because it’s a state unlike yours is the same as judging a person because they’re different than you, something that causes problems all around the world.

Just because it’s different, doesn’t make it worse or even better. It’s an issue that can’t easily be fixed, but that’s fine as us New Jerseyans are tough and can take it. We know who we are and, if you grow up in New Jersey, no one can take that from you.

After all, Urban dictionary says it best; “I am from New Jersey, and damn proud of it.”