Letter From the Editor: Learning How to “New England”

Savannah Brooks ’26

Managing Editor

It is no secret: here at Trinity, we are among the New England Elite, whether we like it or not. As a Marylander, I always like to say that my coming here was my “Lady Bird” moment — you know, “I want to go where culture is, like New York, or at least Connecticut or New Hampshire, where writers live in the woods!” After spending almost two years here, however, the grandiosity of New England has changed my view not just on Connecticut, but on America as a whole.

Don’t get me wrong; I adore Hartford. Whenever asked, I always say that it is my favorite thing about going to Trinity. The food, the theater and, yes, the culture, makes every stiff interaction with an Elite worth it. But the good old hilltop we live on is a completely different beast than Hartford itself. Within my first few weeks, I learned to keep my head down and not to smile at strangers. I also learned that I had to sharpen my diction, particularly when telling people I was from “Maryland,” not “Murlin.” This cultural shock was completely unexpected to me; growing up, I had always been so sure I was decidedly Northern. Maryland is a solidly blue state, after all — you only see Confederate flags if you go up into the panhandle (ironic, isn’t it? You have to travel northward to see examples of so-called “Southern pride”). Any non-Marylanders reading this (so, most of you) may be surprised to learn that the state’s allegiance is a constant argument between residents; nobody seems to have an answer on whether we are Northern or Southern. We fought with the North in the Civil War, but we are geographically South (below the Mason- Dixon Line).

I’ll spare you the history lesson. The point is, my time at Trinity has caused me to completely reconsider how Northern I really am. So often, I hear from those educated in New England and New York schools that the South is just a political hellfire that they would never touch with their red- heeled Louboutins. The South is a lost cause, the South is only full of white trash rednecks who would not hesitate to spit in the face of a New England Elite. While I am not from the Deep South, which is what most people are referring to when they mention the South, I can tell you that you are not helping the Black, brown, poor and LGBTQ+ Southerners when you pass off entire populations (the South, after all, has the highest concentration of Black residents in the country) as undeserving of your time and energy. It is incredibly easy to post on your Instagram story that the entire state of Missouri should be condemned for its recent abortion ban when you do not have to face the redlining, gerrymandering and educational issues that the incredibly strong and passionate Missourian activists are fighting to change. You can look down upon the people who are actually impacted by these discriminatory practices from your hilltop and say: “Well, their life would be much better if only they moved here.” But none of these help you become a better activist, nor do they help the people fighting for a better life in Missouri.

Facing these attitudes across Trinity’s campus has made me realize that, in truth, America is not nearly as divided as we seem to be. All across the country, from Seattle to Montgomery to Trinity, we are plagued with the same affliction: believing we are better than the person sitting across the table from us. Our history does not define us, nor should it contribute to any feelings of elitism. The South has long histories of racism and bigotry, yes; but that does not exclude New England of its own past.

To the Southern and Midwestern Bantams (because, truly, I cannot even begin to give advice to anyone from the West Coast or abroad), I hope that, instead of learning how to “New England” like I once imagined I would, you embrace your hometown heritage (as long as it is non-traitorous) and bring a bit of your spark to the Elite who so desperately need it. Who cares if you use the wrong fork for your salad at a fancy dinner? What does it matter if nobody knows what you are talking about when you say someone is “SOL” or if you say “wooter” instead of “water?” You don’t need to assimilate. New England can always benefit from a little more “y’all” and a little less elitism.

-SNB

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