What is a “townie?”

In this age, racism, sexism and classism, among other –isms, are not tolerated by an overwhelming majority of the population. Yet, on a college campus—the forefront of progressive thinking where inclusion and diversity are staples of the environment— we are discriminating against an entire sect of people.

I’m talking about townies. An incredible amount of Ferris State students discriminate against townies for no reason other than it’s what is popular to do. Argue or rationalize that fact however you may, but it is fact.

The hypocrisy of the situation is astounding. How can we preach non-discrimination on campus when many students are regularly and openly hostile towards townies?

A person is considered a townie when they are from Big Rapids, the area surrounding Ferris State University. They are typically described as old, poor, white rednecks that are methed out of their gourds and spend the majority of their time yelling at their children and complaining about college students.

What is this stereotype based on? Perhaps just one negative experience, or is it nothing but false, poor attempts at humor that have become widespread for no good reason? It is simply not true that a person’s hometown dictates exactly how he acts, looks or how much money he makes.

Discrimination is defined as, “the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class or category to which that person or thing is perceived to belong to rather than on individual merit.”

Admit it or not, unfavorable opinions of townies run rampant on this campus among students.

Are people that were raised in Big Rapids but attend Ferris State also townies? In that case, the status of one’s education would be the only distinguishing factor between townies and students living in Big Rapids. What of Ferris alumni that loved the area so much that they settled in Big Rapids after completing their degree? Are they considered townies?

Both the term “townie” and the connotation of the term, are belittling to an entire group of people and are simply not based in truth.

College students are the ones invading Big Rapids in order to attend the school that lies within its borders. Big Rapids was founded in 1855, which was 29 years before Ferris State University came to exist.

Discriminating against an entire class of people is not acceptable. Speaking ill of townies is just that—discrimination.

For an opposing take on townies, click here to read an opinion piece by News Editor Angela Graf.