“What’s a Coastie?” asks a new song out of the University of Wisconsin. While the broadest possible answer is, simply, a person from one of the coasts (as opposed to an in-state Cheesehead), the more particular answer, as the song puts it, is an “East Coast Jewish honey.” The conceit is that the rapping duo is trying to woo a passing “Jewish American Princess,” who is “blowing daddy’s money” while wearing “North Face with the Uggs” (frankly, the lyrics are very seven years ago). The tune has become controversial, with many Jews who matriculate there (14% of the university’s roughly 30,000-strong undergraduate population is Jewish) taking offense. Madison faces more than the typical town-vs.-gown conflict; the in-state/out-of-state divide extends into the student body itself. And where there are outsiders of any kind, there are usually, and conspicuously, Jews.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.