Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who can be Southern?

Wade posted this article [] a while ago and I thought I’d comment on it a bit.

The article states:

“Southerners were parochial, had Southern accents, drank sweet tea for breakfast, got married 15 minutes after college graduation and named their kids Hunter and Caitlin. (She didn't mean rednecks, but the kind of educated types she was in a sorority with.)”

And while many Southerners do all of the things mentioned they also say that you have to hate Democrats, be Ultra-Christian, Conservative, hunt and own guns to be Southern. I just don’t buy it. I define myself as Southern, and not just “ethnically Southern” as the article states.

I don’t think you need another Southerner to define you as Southern like some nation looking for legitimacy. I believe if you believe you are a Southerner then you are one. I think that Southerners have an inherent D.I.Y. attitude that a lot of the geek culture has. It may mean something different, but it is there. Making their own wine. Raising their own food or trying to buy local all seem to be Southern qualities. Being nice and pleasant to be around and making others feel comfortable are also Southern qualities.

I’m in no place to argue one’s Southerness or to bestow the title on someone. If that were the case I’d revoke many a Southern I.D. card from those in what I consider uppity neighborhoods since many have bland city accents, are rude and not pleasant to be around, and have people that cut their yards or agree to be in a neighborhood that tells you whether or not you can park your cousin’s pontoon boat beside your house while his roof is repaired from the storm damage.

As many of you know, I’m not as Southern as I seem to be. I’ve never gone hunting. I prefer A/C to outdoors activities. I go swimming more often in a pool than the lake or ocean. I’ve never raised a successful garden. I don’t work well with my hands nor can I fix many things.

But do any of those things cheapen my Southernhood? I don’t think so. I could acquire new skills and learn to love the outdoors more but that doesn’t make me more Southern, does it? I think Southernhood is a state of mind. If you get to the South or grow up here and you want more than anything to get out then you aren’t a Southerner. You may be labeled that in New York but you and I both know you don’t feel like one and so you aren’t. We still love you but if you don’t want to be here we don’t want you here either.

Special thanks to Wade Kwon for this post. Without him tweeting the article I wouldn’t have made this post.

Your thoughts are always welcome in the comments.

Bookmark and Share