to Redneck, or not too Redneck

by Madeline Laughs
Young collard plants growing in a container

Image via Wikipedia

I have a friend in California that thinks that because I live in North Carolina, I’m a chain smoking, fried food eating, rebel flag flying Redneck. She starts sentences with “People in the South…” and there’s usually some belittling description tacked on at the end.

She thinks we’re all pretty darn ignorant.  

Excuse me, but I want you to know that I am a short train ride away from one of the most culturally diverse, metropolitan cities in the world; New York City.

I do love collard greens doused in vinegar and I adore anything fried, but I am not fighting the war anymore. I might live below the Mason Dixon line, but there’s no rebel flag flying in my yard. I might drawl out some of my vowels when I speak, but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I guess if having an accent affects your brain in adverse ways, then everyone in England is just as slow as you think I am.

Since when did geography determine your intelligence?

This stereotypical cataloging of people has lost it’s steam over the years. With travel and transience on the rise, people are moving and shaking in more places than the zip codes where they were born. But hey! If you want to pigeonhole me, go ahead.

I am proud to be a North Carolinian!

Do I have a problem with friendly neighbors? Am I annoyed when I get invited to more than one Pig Pickin’ in a week?  Does it upset me that rather than applauding in a sedate manner after a performance, some audience members like to express their happiness with a “WOOOOOOOOHOOOO!”? Do I think it’s wrong when a community comes together to help one of it’s members that might be down on their luck instead of looking the other way?

No, because it’s the Southern Way.

Southern folks are some of the happiest people I know. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather, the landscape or the food, but they know how to live a good life. Even folks that weren’t born here, race to move here before they die.

Southerners aren’t the narrow-minded, uneducated, barefoot, Bible-thumpin’, overweight rednecks of days past. We do have a history steeped in opinions that differed slightly from the rest of the world, but that’s because everything that you take for granted in California was all won for you here on the bloody backs of the Southerner.

That’s right.

We were here long before California.

The oldest city in America is within a 2 hour drive from my house, Bath, NC. Bath is right down the street from the nation’s original Washington, the first town to be named after a President. And while we’re talking about Washington, NC, guess who grew up there? The father of motion pictures, Cecil B. DeMille. Isn’t film making one of California’s biggest claims to fame? Well, it wouldn’t have happened for you without North Carolina.

While you’re busy flapping your jaws about ignorant Southerners, try to remember where your freedom of speech originated. In case you didn’t know, Washington, DC also sits well below the Mason Dixon line.

While you’re still trying to figure out what makes you so much smarter, or greener or more culturally diverse, I’ll be sitting on my veranda sipping a tall, cool glass of sweet tea and thanking my lucky stars that in my ancestry is the solid backbone of a good Southern family.

I’m made of some good stuff.

3 Comments

Filed under All kinds of Advice

3 responses to “to Redneck, or not too Redneck

  1. Regyna Longlank

    I was born in the North, grew to adulthood in the South, and have chosen the Wild West as my home. They say you should Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. My time in the south, the deep south, and so far south they consider it New England again taught me what manners are, and gave me a real yardstick to measure that against, both my own and others. Not many of us live up to that yardstick, north, south, east or west as far as I can tell but if you add it all up the expectations are clear. The ability to slip a knife in while you smile in someone’s face, however, is universal. Some folks are just better at it than others. I come from a line of Berzerkers. We are more the scream in your face type, but I do admire that slow, southern charm. Be it Louisiana or Los Angeles, it’s all LA to me.

    Like

    • “The ability to slip a knife in while you smile in someone’s face, however, is universal. Some folks are just better at it than others. ”

      This is so true, so, so true! It is something I will never be good at. I’m kind of proud of that shortcoming. :)

      Like

  2. Pingback: With NFL job in flux, Randy Moss gravitates to NASCAR – USA Today | nascarbiz.com

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