Southern Legitimacy Statement:
Growing up, we never thought about being southern, probably because nobody ever called us that. Truth be told, everybody we knew was southern and since we never ventured outside the south, there was really no point in mentioning it.
Come to think of it, nobody ever called us children either, or kids, or god-forbid, young ones. We were young’uns and we were of the “seen and not heard” variety.
We were told what to do – “you just go right back and lick that calf over again,” and what not to do – “you better know better.”
We were told what to eat – “you’ll eat what’s on your plate or go hungry” – and what not to eat – “spit that out right now.”
We were told what to say – “yes sir and thank you ma’am,” – and what not to say, “are you sassing me?”
And in moments of frustration and warning, they were all rolled up into one of two admonitions. At home, it was “you better act like you’ve got some damn sense.” And before going out in public, it was “you better act like somebody” with the emphasis always on that second syllable.
And wouldn’t you know it? We learned to listen before we speak, to do things right the first time, to heed our consciences, to be grateful, and careful, and polite, and respectful.
Mostly though we learned that if you act like you’ve got some damn sense, southern or not, you’ll grow up to be somebody.Read more