It is not a derogortory term. It is used mainly by residents of lower Michigan and Wisconsin.
Yoopers make fun of Trolls. Trolls are from 'down below', referring to lower Michigan.
Yoopers come from above the bridge, referring to the Mackinac Bridge, which separates upper Michigan from lower Michigan.
Yoopers have a habit of saying 'youse guy's' or often putting 'eh' after a statement. ie; Hey,youse guys, we're proud to be yoopers, eh?.
Like other areas of the US, there is a regional dialect.
The dialect most associated with the Upper Peninsula is one with a strong Finnish influence. The reason the Finnish language seems to have had the most lasting impression on the dialect of the Upper Peninsula goes back to the mining boom. When Finnish immigrants first came to the Upper Peninsula.
"It is one of the prettiest places in the world".
---Henry Ford, 1920's---
Yooper: I don't fucking talk like that, and yes I do originate from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
troll: three feet, man!
troll: no school, man, it was sweet
yooper: you closed school for three feet of snow?!?!??!?
troll: you like excessive punctuation, don't you?
they shovel snow year-round
go skiing in -60*F weather without blinking an eye
recieve more than a foot of snow in order to get a snow day
incoorperate winter activities like snowmobiling and ice fishing into their everyday lives
say eh, you'se, and ya alot
generally don't care what others think
mining and logging were the first things that attracted people to the U.P., and they continue to do so today
wear plaid and orange...especially during hunting season
don't wear winter jackets until it gets under 0*F
sweat and freeze all in one day
go camping in igloos in the middle of winter
have only 3% of the population of Michigan
but 1/3 the land mass
almost everyone is of scandinavian decent...like Finnish or Swedish
think that the opening day of deer season (Nov. 15) is a 'national' holiday and school is off for at least 3 days
worship the Packers (NFL) from Green Bay
((our own state team, the Lions, we don't even like))
feel closer to Canada than to southern "Trolls" (people who live below the bridge)
((want to make a new state))
laugh at people who live less than 50 miles away than the bridge in "Troll-land" (down state) who have never been here (the U.P.)...or freak out when they come here
live in God's Country...and sorry, but if you've only driven through the souther part of the U.P., you haven't seen it here.
the biggest city is Marquette: population 22,000 people
are attatched to pasties and the simpilties of life
are never more than a few miles away from any lake, like Lake Superior (WHICH IS HUGE!)
and NEVER more than a mile away from any sort of water, like a stream
some don't know that there is a drinking age
drive 4 hours to Green Bay to the closest REAL mall
battle un-paved and un-snow-plowed roads
are known for being drug dealers, partiers, hill-billies and red-necks
are really great, kind and fun people.
Yooper: Ya, Imma Yooper, eh?