City residents dont necessarily live in Kansas
Choose all of the following that apply to you:
a) I find myself engaged in 30-minute conversations
explaining where I am from.
b) I get offended when people think I live in another
state but it happens a lot.
c) Im from a big and well-known city.
d) All of the above.
If you chose d, chances are youre
a resident of the Kansas City metropolitan area
a collection of cities, counties and suburbs that sprawls
across both sides of the Kansas-Missouri state line
and is home to more than 1.8 million people, including
more than 100 TCU students.
A resident of Kansas City, Mo., (fondly referred to
as KCMO by its residents), I have been asked
to clarify exactly what I mean by Kansas City
more times than I can count. I know many of my fellow
Kansas Citians share my frustration, and for all of
you out there who still dont understand what the
big deal is, consider reading this column to save us
some breath next time.
Were in college. We come from all kinds of different
places. Therefore, when we meet new people, we ask them,
Where are you from?
I dread this part.
Kansas City, I respond.
That is rarely a sufficient answer. Which Kansas
City are you from? my inquisitor inevitably asks.
One of my favorite confusing moments is when a friend
from El Paso, thinking I was from the farmlands of Kansas,
told me I just wasnt used to driving in a big
city like she was.
For all those of you who assume that Kansas City, one
of the countrys largest metro areas, is in Kansas,
this geography lesson is long overdue there is
a Kansas City, Kan., but it is a pretty small city and
is really just a part of the metro area that surrounds
Kansas City, Mo.
No other metro area in the entire United States is blessed
with two cities of the same name apparently,
when naming and renaming the city, nobody could
come up with anything better, according to a timeline
from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Now,
instead of being stuck with the longer City of
Kansas name, we have to spend a good chunk of
our college lives explaining to people exactly where
Many times, an unsuspecting victim, most likely just
trying to be nice and make conversation, is sucked into
listening to a dissertation on the citys geography.
Why does it really matter? Ive been
asked before. So people think youre from
Kansas. Who cares?
Think of it this way: Lets say Dallas and Fort
Worth were both named Texas City. Now, wed
still consider the metroplex one big area. If you lived
on the east side of Texas City, went on vacation and
someone asked you where you were from, youd say,
Texas City. This could mean you were from
Plano, Addison or Irving but youd just
say Texas City. The people from Burleson, Cleburne and
Hurst all say they are from Texas City, too. But theyre
from way over on the west side.
But if you were from Plano, and you said you were from
Texas City, and people thought that meant you were from
Fort Worth, dont you think you would make an effort
to set them straight? It makes sense that they think
that its all part of Texas City
but you dont want to be confused with someone
from clear over on the other side.
Kansas City, Mo., is the center of the Kansas City metro
area. One of the 40 largest cities in the country, KCMO
is home to the Chiefs, Royals and Blades. If youve
visited Kansas City youve probably been to the
Kansas City International Airport and the Country Club
Plaza both in Missouri. Ever heard the jazz song
Kansas City by Wilbur Harrison? Its
about the famous jazz district in Kansas City, Mo.
Lets not discount Kansas City, Kan. Consider it
one of the many small cities that surround Kansas City,
Mo., with slightly less than a third of the people in
Try to think of Kansas City as one big area. Think of
the state line as dividing that area in half. It doesnt
divide us into Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan.
it divides us into the Missouri and Kansas sides
of a big metropolitan area called plain old Kansas City.
People from Houston, Denver and Albuquerque dont
mention the state theyre from when they say their
home town and neither do we. Our city is just
as big. So next time you ask someone where they're from,
and they say Kansas City, you could probably save some
time if you just smile and say, Oh. OK.
Rhodes is a senior advertising/public relations
major from Kansas City, Mo.