Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Civil War Ended in 1865 and Yes I had to Google the date

It all started the summer after my 10th grade year. I went to World Changers in Memphis. Because my home church is Southern Baptist, all of the church camps/mission trips we take tend to be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. It wasn't uncommon for our youth to receive comments about our "Northern" accents because we were surrounded by Southerners, but one girl took it to a new level. The first day there, I opened my mouth during our Bible study and she said, with her thick Southern drawl, "Oh my God. I didn't know there would be any Yankees here! Who let you come?" or something to that affect. I don't think I've ever been more offended in my life! I seriously thought she was taking it back to Civil war days and saying our country is still divided. Throughout the rest of the week she continued to make comments about me being a "Yankee" and how come I was allowed to come to their church camp?

Then, as I have become more involved in social media- namely blogging and twitter, I have seen numerous things come out of the mouths of Southern ladies that I KNOW aren't meant to be off-putting or condescending, but are truly hurtful if you're not from the South. Now, I'm not talking about taking pride in where you're from, because I certainly pride myself on being from my small town in the country, and I think I was so blessed to grow up where I did. I'm talking about sweeping generalities about people in general that aren't necessarily true. There have been little things that people have tweeted or blogged about that have made me feel like some Southerners truly feel like they're superior to others, but I know they really don't.

I've seen different comments on twitter that have sort of hurt my feelings, but I've tried to let it go as myself being overly sensitive, but then last night I was looking on Pinterest and stumbled on lots of my friends pinning these "Southern Belle Secrets" and while some were really cute, like #107 "Our parents are always mama and daddy, never mom and dad." some are offensive or seem kind of elitist to me. Like, "You believe if you can be ready to leave the house in less than thirty minutes, you probably shouldn't be leaving at all." I mean, seriously? I wouldn't take that comment seriously, but then I see girls tweeting about how they saw someone at Wal-Mart wearing their pajamas and OMG that's the worst thing EVAR! Or, someone dared to put their child in jeans before their first birthday!? They must be TRASH!

Now please, if you're my friend and you remotely think I'm talking about you, PLEASE don't jump to the defensive, because here's the thing- I'm TOTALLY OKAY with having a different opinion than you. It's okay if you don't want to put your child in a pair of jeans while they're still a baby, but my point is, PLEASE don't judge those who do things differently from you, and if you're not judging them, be careful about how you say things.

Another thing I've grown up hearing about is "Southern Hospitality" and "Southern Gentleman". Well, let me tell you, I encountered some of the most rude boys I've ever seen when I was visiting my sister in Georgia. More than once I was struggling to carry too many things at a store or juggle the kids when a man let the door slam in my face. Then, when I flew back to Kansas City and had my hands full, no one offered to help me in Georgia, or after my layover in Texas, but some sweet guy from Kansas City held Deacon for me while I broke down my stroller on the jetway.

I guess what I'm saying is that I no more want to be judged as being impolite or inhospitable because I live in the North as you want to be called racist for living in the South. I just wish that sometimes people would think about things they have said or do say and how it might make other people feel. I know I'm totally guilty of this too, and that's part of why I wanted to write this post. I'm not writing it to make anyone feel bad, or to get any apologies, and I REALLY hope writing it doesn't make anyone angry. My point is that when you say things, it is so important to think about how other people will receive it. I'm a very opinionated person, and I'm okay with expressing my opinions, but it is so important to do it in a way that isn't judgmental or condescending.

Feel free to respectfully discuss this in the comments- I will respond to any I receive. :)

20 comments:

  1. I don't think you can attach any stigma to people in any geographical area. Know what I mean? I mean, you'll have rude people in the South and fabulous people in the North.

    Bottom line, it doesn't matter where you live, just be nice! LOL

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  2. Wait.. Carter shouldn't wear jeans before his first birthday? STOP THE PRESSES. I think there is nothing sweeter than a baby in blue jeans. But, then again, I'm from the north. What do I know?

    I'M KIDDING.. Haha.. This is a great post, Kodi and I think you have a great, respectful viewpoint! I went to an all-girls high school which I think has certainly helped to toughen my exterior.. because I pay no mind to going to Walmart in my black dance pants and old high school T-shirts! :) Who the heck has time to get all dolled up for errand-running?

    Does it help that I at least wear my pearl earrings at all times? :) Hugs!

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  3. Well, you know that I have debated with you on some things before. I respect differing opinions and I know that you do too. Seriously, I don't the whole jeans before you are 1 year old thing...never heard that one! :) BUT, I agree that there are nice and rude people everywhere. I think it is FINE to blog about whatever you want and when things are said that hurt your feelings, you should say something about it. I am from the South but if I say something that offends someone, by golly, I want to know! You are precious and I appreciate you so much!! :)

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  4. I think this is a great post - a reminder to all of us that generalities can sometimes hurt people's feelings even if that's not the intention at all and that we all need to be more conscientious about how we say/type/pin things! :)

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  5. I'm from the South {as you know :)} but I know well and good that there are lots of rude people here. And everywhere for that matter. And there are lots of gentlemen here too, and in the North.

    I think those phrases were coined back in the day when social graces were more often extended than they are now, unfortunately. People {seem to be} more self centered these days.

    I agree with you. I think sometimes people can sound clique-y {geographically speaking}, even when they don't mean to. And because I'm sure they didn't mean it the way it sounded, I just forget about it ;)

    You're a sweetheart and I love being your Twitter friend!

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  6. Oh yeah, and just for the record, I go to Walmart in my pj's sans makeup ALL THE TIME and I put A in her first pair of jeans at about 5 weeks and I have always lived in the south! :)

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  7. Ha! I have felt this way MORE than once! I have been baffled over the past few years by the "we're SO superior in all we do!" attitude. Maybe some really DON'T mean it? But I think a lot just say or think they don't mean it. After a while, it just gets old and I believe people don't say things they don't really mean repeatedly.

    Mostly, I'm from an area that has ALL walks of life and have grown up to be respectful of EVERYONE including the lesbians with dreds walking down the street with all of their piercings and tats AND the family of mullets in Wal Mart! :o)

    I don't undertsand the pounds of make up, super expensive elaborate clothes (for adults AND children alike) or the apparent need of a facade of 'everything is peachy!' that I tend to sense through most Southern blogs I have read. However, there are certainly just as many blogs that portray a perfect white picket fence life from the North too, I'm sure. I just haven't run accross as many. And honestly? I choose to read them. So if it bothers me that much, its my own dang fault. It always cracks me up when I see trolls commenting because who do they think they're hurting? Sure the comment may sting but the joke is on whoever continues to read something that drives them nuts! Right?

    On the flip side, I am envious of a lot of the tradition and pride Southerners have. That is something that (IMO) is lost when you come from somewhere where everyone is accepted for their own beliefs, lifestyles, etc.

    Well, that got long. :) Thanks for this post. And I tried to DM you but I guess you don't follow me anymore, ha! So I suppose you haven't seen my replies to your tweets recently either! Ha! ;o)

    Anyway, I agree with you that we all have our own opinions and we derserve to be respected and owe it to our society to respect others!

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  8. I loved this post! It really does seem like some of the Southereners I've come across think they're better than people from other parts of the country. I totally agree with you there. I'm proud of you for writing what you feel! co

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  9. Girl, you are so right. I'm totally guilty of making a Yankee comment now and then...all in jest, of course...and I am proud of where I come from...BUT the elitist attitude that I see sometimes is not the image that a Southern Belle should project. Being a "Southern Belle", you should be gracious, compassionate, and in my opinion, always project a Christian-like attitude. Sadly, it's been twisted into being judgmental and haughty. I think a few people in the blog world latched onto this weird ultra-Southern attitude and feel the need to promote it ad nauseum. It doesn't matter if you dress your boys in jeans or searsucker suits...they will be PRECIOUS either way!!!

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  10. I'm from the south, born and raised, and I wasn't offended by this post in the least! I don't think you should ever be nervous to blog about something that's on your mind & heart - afterall, this is YOUR blog, right?

    I'm also from Georgia and while you said you weren't looking for apologies, I do feel like I should apologize that you had a less-than-desirable experience while here. Unfortunately, not all of the gentleman in the south are helpful, polite, etc. But then again, that's everywhere.

    I do, without a doubt, LOVE living in the south. I take pride in it. Does that mean I'm better than someone living in the north? No. I've never felt that way, though I'm sure some do - just like someone living in the north may think they're better than southerners. This will be an ongoing thing, unfortunately.

    I'm glad you blogged how you were feeling and if I ever make a comment that offends you, please know it's not intended (& please let me know!). I truly believe that many of the "southern comments" are just pride and not meant to make a stab.

    Also? I must be in the dark about the No Blue Jeans Before One rule. My Kynlee Grace has been in them since she was a newborn :). I think it's toooo cute & I don't think that makes me a redneck, or anyone else who choses to dress their baby in them, for that matter.

    Great post!

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  11. Great post! I'm always nervous about writing blogs that might have a tad bit of controversy or maybe not have "mainstream opinions."

    As a Southerner, I can only speak for myself but I think what can be perceived sometimes as a "better than you" attitude in some Southerners is really just pride in our Southern heritage. Now I'm not saying there aren't Southerners who are stuck up brats but I feel pretty certain that isn't just a Southern thing. :-)

    I enjoy reading blogs written by people from all over the country because I think the differences are fascinating. I do, however, agree with you as to the importance of carefully weighing what we say and how we say things so as not to offend other people (again, I don't think that is a principle that should just apply to Southerners but to everyone :).

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  12. I think this was a very well written post. As someone who was born and raised for 18 years in the south and now having living in the north for 7 years I can say I have seen both sides and have been judged on both sides. When we moved up north we got some attitude about being from the south and almost like we should be dumb. And then when I would go back down to my hometown to visit I would get attitude about living in the north now. Huh? I'm still the same person! We all should be valued as human beings regardless of where we were born and where we live. I will say that IN GENERAL I feel southerners are more polite and laid back and northerners are more tell you like it is and fast paced. But that's just my experience. And I would say neither of those are wrong. In general we are a product of where we are raised. But we shouldn't look down and judge someone just because of the state they were born in. And the jeans before one? I love my baby in jeans. So call me trashy, but I think it's adorable. :)

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  13. Sounds like someone doesn't like Blue Eyed Bride...Don't worry, we don't think you're trashy- we KNOW it.

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  14. Okay so first of all I feel like I should apologize for those slack ass boys in Savannah. Unfortunately there are A LOT of them there. So boo. Don't let that sway you on the town! It's really great!

    Then.... those statements and such about never leaving the house not being "done" or without your pearls on and such is OLD SCHOOL Southern. Truthfully, I love hearing it because it makes me think of old ladies in hair parlors sipping sweet tea. But it's not the way things are today. I feel like the girls that harp on those things are trying too hard. Everyone goes to Wal-Mart in their pajamas. Let's be real. I'm VERY proud to be from the South and I keep swearing I'll never leave because once upon a time it did stand apart for it's manners and hospitality and stuff. But in this day and age, manners are pretty few and far between everywhere!

    As far as the jeans on babies, well I actually think jeans are cute on babies, but don't think E owns a pair.. hmmm. But no judgment. You dress your kid how you want to and I'll dress mine like I want to. People who judge are insecure. End scene.

    Also, while living in Missouri I met some of the NICEST people I've ever met. And some of the rudest here in South Carolina. Sometimes people rock, sometimes they suck. Where they live has nothing to do with that. That's their raising ;)

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  15. I would also add (geez talk much?!) that most Southerners now don't think less of people from up North and our comments (while might say different) really just express the way we want to live. We want to write thank you's and dress our babies in big bows and smocking and so we talk about it a lot. I know me personally, that doesn't mean I look down on those who don't, just that I'm proud that I do. Does that make sense?

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  16. So I grew up in Florida and well that isn't Southern. My dad grew up in Brooklyn, NY and my mom is from Massachesetts.

    I moved to Alabama over 10 years ago and I still get the "You aren't from around here are ya?" and "You are a yankee huh?" questions all the time. And you are right they are hurtful.

    I had a lady at church tell me last week that said "you sure do dress your son casual for church." I had to laugh so I wouldnt cry. I thought he lookd cute in the Polo romper but apparently not! I dont have $70 to purchase smocked outfits on a whim. Caden is 4 months old and I am not trying to impress anyone by what he wears.

    Ok, Ok, I could go on for years. I hear ya girl! The South is quite a special place to live for more reasons than one! LOL!

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  17. As a general rule, Southerners like to tease people about being from "the North." One of my husband's sister's husband {did you get that?!} grew up in CT. And their grandparents give him such a hard time about being a Yankee. Not because they dislike him or still think it's the 1800s, but because they like to tease. I've found that's about the norm in the South. And, yeah, we all know there are jerks in the world - Southern ones included. And I don't think airports really count as having visited the south. How many actual Southerners do you think are in DFW or ATL? Most of them are probably catching flights home to somewhere else. That said, IN GENERAL I've found that people in the South are 100 times more hospitable than in "the North" or even out West. One of a few reasons I don't like living in Hawaii is because few people are really hospitable. As in, I don't have a conversation with the checker at WalMart or a random person I meet while in line. Going home is always refreshing in that sense, though. I know that most of the people I run into are going to be cordial - at least to my face - and they half expect to have a conversation with someone they bump into. THAT'S what I miss. Oh, and being able to order sweet tea when I go to dinner. Lol!

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  18. Great post Kodi! I totally get what you're saying and bottom line is...to each their own, no judgment necessary. And for the record? Pretty sure I go to Wal-Mart in my "pj's" on a weekly basis - ha! :) Just keepin' it real, my friend. Just keepin' it real.

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  19. I love this. Good for you for poutting this out there and saying something. What is the deal w/babes not wearing jeans before one? KP had NEWBORN jeans, gasp! the horror!

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  20. Wow I can't even image calling someone a Yankee.. That is just so well ridiculous and something probably my Great Great grandparents said.. People can be rude from all over..

    I must be a terrible southerner I put my babies in jeans.. LOL And oh my word overalls.. Call the PRESS!! I don't even understand that one..

    I think people just are way over the top in everything these days.. It's in everything.. Oh I'm better than her because I bit a bullet and didn't get a epidural and I had my baby on a tree stump in the middle of no where and no one around but Bambi's Mom.. It's like seriously life is not a competition.. We all have to life the way the Lord wants and in a way that makes us happy not because your neighbor is doing something.. Hang in there!!

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