24 January 2009

A Conscious Double Standard

On the way home from Washington DC, yesterday, I found myself telling a Midwesterner that, while it was okay for me to make fun of the South, I wouldn’t tolerate it from him or others who didn’t know what they were talking about. 

I realized this came up several times in the past week, so I’ll address it.

I’ve talked about being a Georgia girl with Jonae. We’re typically nice, warm, and take care of people. If we don’t like somebody, bless their hearts/God love ‘em, we’re still cordial and accommodating. We can’t hide our emotions. We care probably too much and, as typical of the South, have large and loving families. 

I can’t help that, on one side, my grandparents’ first date was the Gone With the Wind premiere and the others met because he sold her dad moonshine. I make damn good cornbread in my grandmother’s cast iron skillet and have never picked up a date at a family reunion. Surprisingly enough, our schools do have running water, and I even wear shoes sometimes. While we have some of the lowest SAT scores, it’s partly because we make everyone take it. We’re in the teens when ranking AP scores by state. Really. I couldn’t make that up. 

We’re by no means perfect. We’re still a red state, barely turning purple. I’m not saying the South will rise again and I’m not about to lecture on the War of Northern Aggression or anything. I have every intention of moving away and will be among the first to make fun of my state. Lots of Georgians are dumb and some are racist. Same with lots of Americans, though. We have a higher concentration of them, sure, but my aunt makes sweet tea that converts even Northerners to liking sweet tea. So don’t write us all off. Otherwise, you’d have no Otis Redding or Sarah Langley. 

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