I recently stumbled across a thread on Facebook that made my blood boil. People taking jabs at what they were calling rednecks, and our seemingly backwards way of living. As a South Carolina native and resident, that word does not sit well with me, and is just as derogatory as the “N” word. Yet, here were hundreds of likes and shares poking fun at a culture that few can understand.
What Constitutes Southern America?
The southern United States is comprised of a number of states starting at North Carolina, through south Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. It also heads westward, including Alabama and Texas, yet for some reason the stigma jumps over Mississippi and Louisiana. These are the states most often referred to when another American points a finger and says redneck.
What Does a Redneck Really Look Like?
The term redneck comes from a time when the average Southern American man spent his days minding his crops. He would wear a shirt of course, but his neck was constantly red from the sun, hence the term. To me, that would be a stand-up way for a man to be making a living, and not really fodder for ridicule, but that’s just me.
The term today seems to refer to a group of people who tote shotguns, drink cheap beer and live in trailers. Now I am sure that there are similar people occupying the northern states, but since these are found in the dreaded south, where a man is not afraid to defend his rights he is ridiculed.
This negativity towards Southern America seems to have gotten worse since certain shows have aired. Most families I know do not behave the way Honey Boo Boo’s does, and every bearded man I know would not be caught dead without first putting on his beard balm. Those boys from Duck Dynasty have done a number on the world’s impression of our culture, and should be made to shave their ungroomed beards as punishment.
To Change the Impression
I don’t appreciate being considered to be ignorant just because of where I happened to be born. Sure my drawl is slow and deliberate, but have you ever heard a New Yorker talk? Now that’s a lesson in bad accents. We shouldn’t change our culture in order to reverse the stigma of being southern, but we can represent ourselves in a better manner. It is in our actions that many still believe that the south is backwards.
I am proud of my heritage and want my kids to be proud to. I am building a legacy in my Southern home, with its wide porches and white picket fences. Join me in throwing the stereotypes aside, and allowing the world to see us as a small sector of the country rich in culture and intelligence.