Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Southern Heritage and Everything Changes

This post is made up of a few Facebook statuses I've made in the last few hours:

Listen, I'm proud of my Southern heritage.
I've been on the bayou at the crack of down, waiting for the fish to bite only to jump into the muddy waters when the sun was directly above my head. I've sat back and put down a cold one with friends and good conversation around a bonfire with the sounds of crickets as background music. I've hunted. I've even gigged for bullfrogs with a spotlight. I've used an outhouse on more than one occassion. I've drowned my sorrows in the bottle of Lynchburg's finest Tennessee Sour Mash while listening to Robert Johnson plucking his chords that sang the music of my soul.
I know that at times, I seem a bit uppity, but I know where I came from. I've lived it and there is no song, no symbol that can define those experiences.

Words and symbols change in meaning as cultures change and re-examine. For example, the word "awful" once meant "full of awe". In biblical times, a rainbow meant a reminder from God that he would never flood the world again and today it is widely accepted as a symbol that stands for same-sex equality.
The World Trade Center once stood as a symbol of America's power, wealth and influence. But with the actions of just 19 individuals, the WTC has become a symbol that means something else entirely....
By and large, you know your own heart and what certain words and symbols mean to you in spite of how society as a whole views them. Learn to accept that a meaning of a word or symbol can change in a society, but that doesn't mean your heart has to. Give respect and earn it in return. After all, if you can look in the mirror and be proud, what's the worry?

So let's be done with the Confederate flag because it no longer represents Southern Heritage to the rest of the world.  In fact, the many people that it has oppressed have always viewed it as a symbol of hatred. The world sees it today the same way.
Know who you are and don't be afraid to say you are proud of where you come from.  You can still stand up for that and say no to bigotry.

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