I am a 50 + year old white southern male. Now with that very simple description here are some things you might infer about me;
- I like to fish and hunt.- I don’t, I hate the way deer meat taste and I love Bambi.
- I own a pick-up truck. – I do, with a Coexist and Free Tibet sticker on it.
- I honor the confederate flag. – I don’t, the honor was drained 60 years ago.
- I like to drink beer. – I do, craft beers I might add.
- I wear cowboy boots. – I don’t, birkenstocks or flip-flops.
- I follow NASCAR. – I do, when Tony Stewart retires I won’t.
- I am still fighting the civil war. – I don’t, we lost, it wasn’t even close.
- I love college football. – I do, but my wife loves it more.
- I am a Southern Baptist. – Have you read my blog?
- I talk with a slow drawl. – I do, you will want to finish my sentences.
I bristle at times at how the typical white southern male is stereotyped in the media or in the movies. I have neither a mullet cut, a dirty confederate flag baseball cap, cut-off blue jeans, wife beater tank-top, or a jaw full of chewing tobacco. Oh, and I have all of my teeth.
If I didn’t open my mouth you would have no idea I was southern. But the minute I did, when you heard the first y’all or ma’am slip through my lips you would know and then the wheels would begin turning.
I say on my Who I am page that I am “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God”. I embrace my Southern heritage. My ancestors were not slave owners, they were hard-working, resilient people from England, Ireland and Scotland that scratched a living in the hard earth to provide and survive. Were they racist? Hard to know, but given the time and place, probably. Does that heritage make me a racist? In your mind it may, but my parents created a different mindset, a different heritage within our family.
I have carried that same mindset a generation further and added an additional “category”, the LGBT community. My wife and I have stressed the need for acceptance and tolerance with our children, that the term “love your neighbor” cast a much wider net than many in our society accept, practice or believe. This position has isolated us in our Red state. It has even isolated us in our own neighborhood making for, at times, very uncomfortable dinner party conversation.
Yes I am a white southern male, proud of my heritage and trying to create a new one of acceptance, compassion and love. I hope other sons of the south will have the courage to join me and yes you can still kill Bambi’s mom and dad if you need too.