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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Antonio Anderson
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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

TIMES ARE CHANGING — FAFSA announced changes to its filing system in February.
Editorial — The "better" FAFSA
North Wind Editorial Board February 27, 2024

In Marquette, not everything is black and white

I was nervous when I first arrived at Northern Michigan University. As I was driving into town with my family, my dad started a hilarious game that was basically Where’s Waldo but with black people. When we saw a black person walking around the city, my dad would scream “My brotha” at the top of his lungs, entertaining my mother and stepmother. You see, externally I was laughing as well, but internally I was a little worried.

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Coming from Detroit, and being African American myself, I’ve found myself playing the same “I Spy” type game with other races in the city. So as you can imagine, I was worried that I may be entering a place I was not prepared for. Luckily, I was wrong.

Race has become a big topic recently with Ferguson and other events nationwide, which has, in turn, made some people believe that racial tensions are still prevalent even in this day and age. And though they are, to bring light to the situation, I am happy to say that in some places race is not an issue.

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I have been in the beautiful city of Marquette for four years now. Coming from Detroit, basically the opposite end of the social spectrum, I can honestly say that I am surprised at how quick my transition went. If you are not aware of the social differences between the modest city of Marquette and the fast paced city of Detroit, let me elaborate. According to census.gov, the now-depleted population of Detroit stands at about 700,000. Of those, 83 percent are African American.

In Marquette there is a relatively tiny population of about 22,000. Of that 22,000 there is an African American population of 4.4 percent.

There is a very significant difference in the numbers alone, not to mention cultural differences. I have memories of being in middle school with a chatty bunch of friends, and watching the principal bring in a new kid who was white and watching my fellow students peek over as if they had seen a shooting star.

I contrast that with being in a class here at NMU and being singled out for a question about Detroit, its diminishing population and financial state.

Let me mention that I have no problem with the latter experience; I actually find it somewhat flattering. But that big difference in my experiences is what I believe made me who I am today.

As I approach my graduation I can only thank NMU and the city of Marquette, for allowing me to have these experiences. I have never experienced any type of negative incidents regarding my race in Marquette and I don’t believe I ever will. I believe this is because Marquette, thanks to NMU, is a melting pot of sorts,  bringing people from different cities and states to converge on something that many take for granted—education. I have met people here that I went to high school with, but never saw before coming to NMU. I’ve also met beautiful people from all around the world, something I may have never experienced living in Detroit.

I think this is where NMU should pride itself. The fact that I was skeptical about coming here and basically proven wrong and made comfortable is why I will always love NMU.

This is a common sentiment for students that are from fast-paced cities like Chicago or Milwaukee that enjoy the slow, relaxed lifestyle that Marquette has to offer. It accepts people of many different cultures and backgrounds. And not only just to provide them with an education, but also to actually make them feel comfortable.

Renee Black, a senior graphic communications major, also acknowledged the positives of our city.

“Being at Northern takes you out of the busy urban lifestyle,” Black said. “For example, Marquette is a smaller town so there is less crime. We are minorities surrounded by other races but being here removes a lot of the worries of being in a major city like Detroit. It allows us to focus and have clarity.”

Diversity is an essential quality of NMU, but our school’s inviting nature is one in a million. This is why, although I come from a predominantly black city, I don’t consider Marquette a white city, despite the statistics; I consider it a gray city.

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