Friday, November 07, 2008

viva the south!

i've had enough. let me make this very clear. the majority of the residents of the states located south of the mason dixon line are NOT pining for the days of slavery and african-american persecution. and the very few who do are a dying breed. i had a conversation with a man at church recently that left me steaming. i had mentioned to this man, brother j for jerk, that i had truly enjoyed living in the South, that the people were kind and generous and that most people from the South are proud to be called southerners. i find this to be true regardless of race. however, brother j made a few remarks to me suggesting that the white people of the South were proud of their history for all the wrong reasons, that white southerns were proud of a murderous and oppressive history. i will never deny that terrible and unfair things happened in the South, i am not ignorant to the fact that some still go on today. but i will also note that many of the most severe race riots occured in detroit, chicago and saint louis. the entire country has been guilty of hatred and intolerance and we should all feel pain because of this.
however, i am not embarassed, as was suggested by brother j, that thomas's ancestors fought for the confederacy. that is who they were and what they believed and what they thought they should do. their beliefs are not my beliefs. their thoughts are not my thoughts and since they are long dead, i cannot fully comprehend the things they fought for.
i do not speak for all on this subject, i merely speak for myself as an adopted southerner. let me be perfectly clear, the South is full of interesting people and a complex history. and unfortunately people are still treated poorly because of race, class, handicap, sexual orientation and religion. this is true in mississippi and missouri and new york and utah. what is most alarming to me is the people who speak the most ill of the Southland and her people are people who have never been there for more than a weekend visit to stone mountain. the South is more than rednecks and trailer parks and the stars and bars. yes, there are plenty of these in the South. but there are so many wonderful things there too. there are wonderful universities, incredible traditions and some of the best people i have ever known. how many other regions of the US can boast of decoration day, when all the graves of ancestors are decorated and honored? i cannot force people to see what i see. some people are determined to see only ugly things.
and if i hear another person from UTAH make a racist remark about black people, i will punch them in the face. no matter where we are.


Emily C said...

amen sista!

i'm very proud to be a true southerner. my heart yearns to return and live there someday.

and when i think about the south, i think of the kind hearted down-to-earth people and good good food, and family traditions.

i miss it so much!!!

Will and Natalie Giddens said...

Heidi, you are AWESOME! And definitely an adopted Southerner. I'm always amazed at people's ignorance of the South. When I find out someone's from the Pacific Northwest, I don't automatically assume they like to hike mountains and wear Birkenstocks. If they're from California, I don't assume they love the beach and go surfing all the time. If they're from the Midwest, I don't assume their dad must be a farmer. So I wonder what it is about the South that people have so many misconceptions about it?

And you're right, most of those folks would rather die than step a pinkie toe below the Mason Dixon line (other than to vacation in Florida, of course). So weird.

But I'm grateful there are people like you out there, educating folks one Brother J at a time. :-)

Jessica said...

well, said. i especially like the punching bit. i am so tired lately of hearing stereotypical and MEAN remarks by church people (in particular at book club). i love that you love the south.

Paula said...

Amen. While out at school I had to defend the South many times because of people's misconceptions. I want Brother J to find a region of the United States that doesn't have a blemished past but at the same time also doesn't have great things to offer. I love the South and love there are people like you who love it too.

I also really want to be there when you punch a person in the face.

amanda said...

You go girl! Loved this post.
Some of our west-coast relatives make fun of the south and it is so annoying. Sometimes I feel like punching them in the face- but that could get awkward at future family reunions.

Angie said...

I've never lived in the South, but my good friend is from Georgia and she's one of the nicest people I know. I really think she would give me the shirt off her back if I asked for it, and I love that her kids call me Miss Angie.

Barry & Margo Swartz said...

Can I get an AMEN!!!

Thad said...

Well put Heidi. Enjoyed your post.