By Max Dropout

[audio: and_the_industrials_-_cant_stand_the_midwest.mp3]

Prior to setting foot in Ohio for the first time over a decade ago, I had no preconceived notions or prejudice toward the midwestern region of the United States, but looking back most of my thoughts today on what that state embodies are firmly rooted in that first road trip I made to the state as a teenager. A handful of us had several friends in the state whom we’d met through various means, by participating in zines or seeing bands over the years. The internet was just starting to bud as a means of DIY promotion and communication… and it was through this that many of us had become acquainted with a guy named Mike out in Ohio. A handful of us decided to take a trip to visit him one fall… I’m not really sure why I went, as neither of us were particularly fond of one another, but I was somehow goaded into tagging along. Mike held the great distinction amongst most of our acquaintences due to the fact that he was black, actually, and therefore he held a sort of mystique amongst my largely WASP-ish clique, whom for the most part had never had a conversation with a Black man or woman that wasn’t somehow inhibited by fear or guilt — and they still hadn’t as far as I was concerned. My friends weren’t so much color-blind as they were color BLINDED, and our good negro friend was by my estimation very much aware of his advantage. Continue reading

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