© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Midwest is more than 'nice'

Ways To Subscribe
bicyclist
Carlos Moreno
/
KCUR 89.3

For some people born and raised in the middle of the country, it takes traveling to other parts of America to understand what Midwestern means. Others see the differences without ever leaving home.

When it comes to Midwestern "culture," residents like to point out what states in the region have in common.

The co-founder of social media's Midwest vs. Everybody, who prefers to remain anonymous, sees it as "a melting pot of different influences from people that have moved and come and gone and shared experiences." Calling Iowa home, he sees the audience for his content as one that's as much rural as Midwestern.

For illustrator Kevin Necessary, who's based in Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the major hallmarks of Midwestern culture is its "politeness." He attributes that partly to the slower pace of life in the Midwest and its sense of community.

Necessary also says "we don't want to hurt people's feelings " and cites the habit of "minding your own business."

But for Black author L.L. McKinney, the existence of people of color in the Midwest "just gets completely tossed out as if we don't exist."

Based in Johnson County, Kansas, she says that the niceness associated with the Midwest can be polite without accomplishing anything, leaving Black people to defend their very right to exist. As McKinney puts it, "nice is not always kind."

  • Elle McKinney, author who writes under the pen name L.L. McKinney
  • Kevin Necessary, illustrator for the newsletter Midwesterner
  • Bill, pseudonym for co-founder of social media's Midwest vs. Everybody
Stay Connected
When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Eleanor Nash is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date. You can reach her at enash@kcur.org
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.