First, let me start off by telling you where I’m from. I am from a small town in Florida; a town full of middle-class Southerners, where everyone knows everyone so if you die, you die famous. My hometown doesn’t have a mall or a movie theater, but it has tons of gas stations that are all owned by same jerk, a super Walmart in which you can go to and see everyone you know in one shopping trip, and plenty of fast food places that you’ll get sick of really quick. Surprisingly enough, despite the lack of cultural diversity, there are four Chinese restaurants. I remember in high school, there were relatively an equal amount of Caucasian and African-American students and very few Asians. I was friends with the Asians and I remember one guy calling himself the “token Asian” because he was the only Asian in his class of 70 people.
Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get out and experience the world. If you’ve read my biography and my first post, you would have learned that I love diversity. So my hometown just wasn’t it for me. I left to go to college in Pensacola. Now, Pensacola isn’t as multicultural as maybe, Chicago is. But there is a pretty good mix of people here. I’ve met people with all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities, which has been awesome for me.
So, after those experiences, going home is awkward. First of all, there is nowhere near by for me to get sushi. There are possibilities of hearing racist jokes, as sad as that makes me to say that. There are way less Asians and less educated people, since educated people don’t usually stay there, because there really isn’t much for them in my hometown.
The thing is, I was raised in the South and some of the stereotypes are true. For instance, my manners rock. I always say “ma’am” and “sir” and when I’m in public with my friends talking freely with them and swearing, as soon as I see a child, my swearing stops. I am not appalled at the idea of people hunting or having deer heads on their living room walls, since I’ve seen it so many times. I don’t believe in gun control, because I know so many people who have guns for protection purposes (i.e., my stepdad. Guns are all over my house). I know what hot weather is like, really hot, humid weather. It’s awful, by the way. I know that when people say, “bless your heart”, it’s not meant to be nice. I am also extremely loyal to my family, despite how different I turned out from their core beliefs and views. I am the black sheep of my family and always have been. I’ve had so many arguments with them about religion, politics, things no one even wants to talk about but I’ve been taught family first, no matter what because that’s what they’ve shown me all these years. Even though they don’t understand me. Bless them. And lastly, I know that Christianity is SUCH an important aspect of the South. If you’re not a Christian, people look at you funny. I know this by experience, unfortunately.
People from bigger cities tend to think Southerners are stupid. Not always true. They may not have went to college, but most of them are common sense smart. They know the true meaning of hard, physically intense work, which is a great thing to know. They love with all of their heart and will stand by you until the end. On a Black Friday, they are very helpful, cooperative, and you can expect friendly conversation while you’re waiting in line for an hour.
I’m not trying to stereotype Southerners, obviously not all Southerners are like this (i.e., me). I hold some of those qualities just because I can’t escape them even if I wanted to, but I have the desire to move from the South and experience everything this world has to offer. However, I will always love the South. It’s where I’m from. It’s a part of me and everything I am.