Hillbillies, country bumpkins, rednecks, country hicks, the list goes on and on. These are just a few names us southern folk are labeled with. 35 of my 46 years were spent in the Carolina’s. The remaining 11 years have been spent trying to change the notion that all southerner’s are corn-fed, raised in the back of a barn, idiots.
Having people laugh when they hear me speak, saying, “your accent is so cute”. Cute? That is not what they are thinking at all. What they really mean is, “your accent makes you sound so stupid”. Southerner’s, you need to hear this, the rest of the country and, in fact, the rest of the world, believes the stereo type of us. By golly, they sure do y’all!
And if perception is reality, then ignorant southerner’s we are.
This stereo type is destined to grow. No matter how many well read, well-traveled, Ivy League graduates we produce, the redneck stereo type sells and sells BIG.
Whether it’s a dynasty of ducks, people roaming around a swamp for food, ax wielding men living in the woods, trailer parks at the beach, or a family whose child is named after something bees produce, cable TV has quickly learned that southern ignorance brings in record numbers of viewers.
Heck y’all, we even watch ’em ourselves!
This is nothing new. Poking fun at southerners has been successful on TV for as long as I can remember. Shows like, “The Beverly Hillbillies”, “Gomer Pyle” and “Hee Haw” come to mind. But there is a BIG difference between then and now. Back then, the shows were comedy’s with actors and not based on reality.
NOW, it’s the reality shows, with real people (though admittedly edited) depicting themselves. And cable viewers can’t get enough! In fact, one man, who is the king of his southern dynasty said something in an interview and it caused a NATIONAL scandal that people are still talking about to this day! More and more of these types of reality shows are continually popping up. Constantly skewing the view of what it’s really like to be from and live in the south.
I love the south. I was born and grew up in the south. I received a great education there and made many forever friends there. Most of my family is there. I encourage you all to visit the south. I guarantee you will enjoy our southern hospitality. In the south, you will encounter the warmest, most friendly people you will ever meet (think a modern-day “Andy Griffith” atmosphere). When you pass them on the street, they always smile and say, “Hey”. And, if you are in line somewhere, you can bet that while you wait, someone will drum up a conversation with you. The weather is probably the most popular subject. Whatever the case, you will be welcomed with open arms, in a way that is lovingly unique to the south.
So, how do we convey that while we are southern born and bred, we are not simple folk chasing shiny pennies? It seems to me, the first step is to stop watching reality shows that depict us in a negative light. If the high ratings go away, so do the shows.
Other than that, we use our voice. It’s a powerful instrument that us southerner’s are not afraid to use. Whether it’s with a group of people, through social media or even through a blog, we can effectively change people’s minds about the south, one person at a time.
Make no mistake. I am a very proud southerner. I can’t imagine being from anywhere else. I’m proud of who I am and who we are as a people.
And so, I will sing the praises of the good ole’ south until my last breath. Y’all are welcome anytime. I’ll leave the porch light on for ya. Just don’t expect to see me in a pimped out pick up truck with a shot-gun in the window and the confederate flag flying high.
The views in this blog are mine and mine alone. Am I right? Am I wrong? I look forward to your comments.