I mean, the rise of the song of the south…
It hurts my heart when people make fun of “The South” or “The North” for that matter. In this year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle for Williamsburg, the issues of the war come back to haunt us, further causing folks to take very divisive and sometimes near violent stances.
What is alarming to me is that many folks take the stance that if you aren’t fully and abashedly disavowing and renouncing your southern roots, then you are a redneck, ignorant pig who loves slavery. There is no middle ground for some people.
The reality is that just because people were in The North didn’t necessarily mean they were anti-slavery and all the people in The South aren’t racist pigs. If you were to truly even read half of what Thomas Jefferson wrote about slaves you’d understand where most white folks were coming from, and only history shows that nearly all white people regardless of where you were from were crazy ignorant, no matter how “educated” they were or whether or not they were slave owners.
Fast forward and you realize that we all have something to be ashamed of, but it will beg the question why. I know people who hate being German for the simple fact that the Holocaust happened.
This is where I highly recommend The Reader, a novel by a German who struggles with his identity as a German through what I consider a brilliant metaphor relationships between the two main characters. The scandal of course is that the characters are a 30-something woman and a 15-year-old boy and so I know I just lost about 80% of you. The point of the metaphor is that an entire generation is represented within the two characters both figuratively and somewhat literally. The boy tries to work out how he feels about the generation before him and their role in the war and the Jews. The woman tries to defend her ignorance, as represented by both her actual illiteracy and her attitude in general about reality. In some ways, in her trial as a war criminal, the entire country is on trial, desperately looking for answers and trying to make sense of why.
(This said, we here at robinjester dot wordpress dot com cannot in good conscience recommend the novel or the subsequent film with Kate Winslet for just anyone. there is a TON of the SEX. like a VERY FULL TON of The SEX. just FYI.)
The human experience is painful across the board. (Um, I’m no longer referring to sex. ahem…) You don’t have to study history for very long to know the evils and the depths people will go to for any number of reasons, in the name of freedom or religion. And the truth is that if you don’t loathe *some*thing about your heritage, you probably are in denial or just plain lame.
But the flip side of heritage is that there are great things about ethnic groups and their cultures that we can’t ditch with the baby in the bath water. Which is what most folks try to do. Like we’ve swung so far the other way into political correctness that we are ashamed of EVERYthing practically… even our humanity. Like gosh those animals sure have it right, don’t they? They’re just so organized and courteous and balanced and… oh shoot look! That alligator just ripped that hippo’s leg off!
In recent years, there’s a trend about idealizing the Indians slash Native Americans slash no-we-want-to-be-called-Indians even-though-we-know-we-were-misnamed-by-ignorant-white-dudes. I mean people my age still have this image of an Indian crying because of all the pollution and some jerk throwing trash out his window that hits the Indian dude’s feet. Maybe he was just saying “hey get off the highway, Mr. Village Person!”
My point is that we are able to associate entire groups of people with their positive traits and because history is written by the winner, the loser can accuse the winner of slanting everything to their side and the pendulum swings the other way to villainize whoever was romanticized most recently. And speaking of slanting, let’s not even discuss Asians and the fact that “Asia” is like HUGE. Like a TON of space. A very full ton of the space.
and this… just for fun…