Friday, September 4, 2009

Proud of Our Southern Heritage

Being in Europe is always interesting for anyone who enjoys history. My recent trip to Scotland was no different. You can find buildings and castles that have been around longer than the United States at every corner. It is fascinating to learn about the history that these people share as countries or ethnicities. In Scotland I visited Stirling Castle shown below. The Scots have been fighting the English on this very site for centuries.

The Scottish people are proud of their heritage. They fought very hard to keep their way of life in tact against constant onslaught. After hearing about much of their history and seeing the pride in my new Scottish friends eyes, I began to think about my heritage. I, like many Americans, am a blend of many different backgrounds. Much of our family history has been lost along the way. I don't really know my roots other than the southern ones.

I found many similarities among the Scottish people and us folks from the Southern United States. The English look down on the Scottish because of the way they talk. They are considered less educated because of their accents. It may surprise many of my readers from up north, but we Arkansans along with many other southerners experience the same thing. Our accents while sometimes considered entertaining are almost always considered a sign of low intelligence. When Arica moved to Missouri in high school she was constantly ridiculed for the way she talked. She eventually changed her dialect because of the constant pestering. She is of course proud of her Southern heritage, but what teenager wants to be ridiculed every day. That is what it can be like for Arkansans sometimes. For all those that look down upon us I want to let you know that we don't all marry our cousins, and some of us even have shoes.

There are plenty of Arkansas that speak a neutral dialect that could blend in easily in most regions of our country. I am not one of those people. I have a fairly thick southern drawl. I like it that way. I am proud of my roots. I have lived every day of my life in Arkansas, and I hope to always stay. I am proud that I fit most of the country stereotypes like owning guns and driving a four wheel drive. I hope Braden will always be proud of his home state and rural upbringing as well.

Braden will be growing up in a city rather than the country. Of course in Arkansas the country is never far away. I want him to learn about life in Arkansas. I want him to be a country boy like his grandpas and like me. I hope to teach him that you should always be proud of where you came from because that is part of who you are. While my heritage isn't as rich and lustrous as the Highlanders, it is still something to preserve. For that reason I will be handing down all my favorite country sayings to Braden. I will also be teaching him to hunt, fish, and clean his kills.

Of course I can't leave out what is probably the most important thing about being an Arkansan. As soon as Braden can talk I will start teaching him how to call the Hogs. Wooooooo Pig Sooie!


Baby News said...

Woooooo Pig Soooooie!

I moved to mid-Missouri from Southwest Arkansas in my junior year of high school. I was asked all the time if I dated my dad's brother and if my parents were cousins. Stupid. I did what Arica did. I changed the way I talked to fit in. I live in the Ozarks now, albeit a city in the Ozarks. I spend a lot of time with people from the country whose families have lived years for years upon years. I know families who all play musical instruments for bluegrass. And who call a violin a fiddle because what they play can only be played on a fiddle.

These people have accents not quite as deep as my friends down south, but every once in a while, if I'm hangin' out with them, you can hear the old drawl I used to carry.

Yay for teaching Braden to be proud of his roots. We hope to teach Ethan about Ozarks culture. He'll hunt before he's 10. He's already been in the woods and on the water. I'm with ya...100%

Dave said...

I've always dug the *authentic* Southern accent (not the Forrest Gump accent) and the *authentic* Scottish accent (not the Mike Myers accent).

Regarding intelligence: It's what you say, not the way you say it. Amen?

Daddy Files said...

It's funny but I never realized there was a southern hierarchy. To all of us northeast folks a southern drawl is a southern drawl and we don't draw dialectic distinctions.

But it could be worse. If I go somewhere (especially down south) people hear me talk and then automatically ask me if I "Pahk the cah in Havahd yahd." My first instinct is drop them but then I realize I'm down south and everyone has a gun! ;-)

Kids always rebel against their hometown at some point, but most of them come to realize they grew up in a great place and eventually they return to their roots. And I'm sure Braden will enjoy all those things you're going to share with him.

Just like Will is going to enjoy Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, Cape Cod beaches and camping trips.

And for it's worth, I've been a HUGE country music fan for years!

Staci said...

I was in the same boat as Arica. I moved from North Louisiana to Arizona when I was just out of high school. I was made to chance my dialect so that I could get a job because my accent made me sound "uneducated" and "untrustworthy". Now I sound like I could be from anywhere and miss my accent. It was a part of me and of who I am. Good for you for teaching Braden to be proud of his heritage.

PJ Mullen said...

When you do get Braden to call the Hogs you must post that video. That will be priceless. And I agree, preserving your heritage is very important. I'm a northern raised in the midatlantic and now living in the south. I've got nothing to pass on to him. I'm hoping my wife passes on her german heritage to him, as she is first generation German American.

WeaselMomma said...

I just have to mention that I have never seen Braden where shoes and when he talks I really have a hard time understanding what he is saying with his thick accent.

Momo Fali said...

Clearly, what you will teach him most is to have a sense of pride in who he is...and that doesn't come from being an Arkansan, it comes from being a good dad.

Melisa with one S said...

Funny: whenever I read your blog I "hear" it in my mind in a southern accent. :)

I happen to love the southern accent. In fact, when we visit our parents in Tennessee, I ALWAYS come back with the TN accent. (and I'm a Chicago native! haha) The southern accent comforts me for some reason.

But I'm a sucker for any sort of accent, if you want to get technical. How fun would life be if we all sounded the same?

Mike said...

My heritage is Spanish (from Spain) and Ukrainian (I have a Ukrainian last name). I could easily pass as Middle Eastern, Italian, Indian (dot not feather), or Hispanic becuase of my features and dark skin. I was born and raised in the Orient and speak several languages and dialects, but when I was in the military my friends were all from Arkansas. Naturally I picked up the southern drawl. The combination of my looks, languages I spoke and the drawl really messed with people I just met for the first time.

Alas I am a vocal chameleon and pick up local twangs from people I hang around really quickly. Sadly, I have lost the southern drawl since moving to the midwest. For my next trick I want to move to Australia and pick up their accent just to really mess with people's perceptions. Wouldn't that be a "beaudy" mate?:D

surprised mom said...

I happen to like the Southern drawl and think it's great you'll be teaching Braden to appreciate his Southern heritage. I can't wait to visit my Dad when he moves to Tennessee so I can just sit and listen to people talk.
A funny twist on accents . . . when I was young, fresh out of high school and in my first job downtown, I worked in an advertising agency. I placed ads all over the US. I was placing an ad in an Atlanta paper when the person on the other end of the phone said, "Can you PLEASE slow down! I can't understand a word you're saying!" Needless to say, that has stuck with me until today and I try to take a deep breath so I don't ramble on too fast.

ArkansasRain said...

I confess to being one of those Arkansans with a "distinctive voice." I don't wear shoes much, though, and I could not get any of my cousins to marry me!

Happy New Year from Arkansas!