More Than An Accent | Exercising Cultural Sophistication & Appreciation in 2016

January 28, 2016 | By | Comments (9)

Blog Post

Several weeks ago, I scheduled cocktails with a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend – a new New Yorker by way of Dallas who grew up in the United Kingdom.  Her unique background – Emma Watson meets Kacey Musgraves, if you will – and ability to insert words like “splendid” and “superb” into general conversation without sounding like a pompous prude – were immediately likeable. I wanted to be her best friend.

Once we’d discussed the higher points of British culture – specifically, Harry Potter and the Royal Family – I encouraged her to share stories from her European-turned-Southern-turned-Manhattan lifestyle.

“The first question strangers ask when they meet me,” she explained, her enunciation simultaneously unnerving and engaging. “Is, ‘What part of London are you from?’

“Americans seem to forget,” she continued. “That there’s an entire country of culture outside the confines of London.”

My new acquaintance from across the pond grew up drinking black tea for breakfast. She’s never voted for a President, she cheers for Manchester United, and she could essentially swim to France if she so fancied.  Despite our differences, I understand her dilemma. I, too, have been a victim of cultural ignorance.

Three years have passed since I ventured above the Mason-Dixon to hang my hat, but my drawl is still as in tact as my affinity for deviled eggs. Strangers laugh when I use the word, ‘y’all.’

“Are you from Texas?” they ask.

“No,” I proudly respond. “I’m from Georgia.”

“Oh! Atlanta?”

“No, actually I –”

“I love Savannah. It’s so pretty!”

“Yes, but –”

“Have you ever driven a pickup truck?”

“I have,” I finally interject. “But I’m not from Atlanta. Or Savannah. I’m from a small town in Northeast Georgia.”

My audience then loses interest in the hillbilly who didn’t grow up surrounded by Metropolitan intrigue or Spanish moss. They fail to realize that the American South is a captivating array of hospitality, geographical diversity, personality, and resilience.

If we’re from Alabama, we don’t necessarily “Roll Tide” – but we still believe in community and tradition. If we’re from Texas, horses aren’t our primary form of transportation – but most of us own a pair of well-worn western boots. Spending Sundays on a pew in the heart of the Bible Belt doesn’t mean we’re intolerant or ignorant; on the contrary, we worship eternal love and pray for global peace. We may own guns, but we’re not violent. We may talk slow, but we’re not ignorant.  We watch evening sunsets from a front porch rocking chair, but we’re not lazy.

Every person – Southern or otherwise – is more than an accent or a hometown or a stereotype. This year, strive to embrace the heritage, backgrounds, and values that shape our region, our nation, and our world.

COMMENTS

  1. Kathleen

    TC,
    Enjoyed your comments. Maybe you should be writing SL articles, too.🙂

    January 29, 2016 at 10:40 am
  2. Wayne Chancey

    Southern Living has been reinvigorated with youthful experience and energy, stylish writing and soulful expression! Looking forward to more of Macy’s Southern Living musings!

    January 29, 2016 at 8:30 am
  3. TC

    I really really liked your article! I am a Bible believing, God fearing, pistol toting Republican. I love America and I am from South Georgia, but like visiting New York City. I am a pick-up driving man. It is article’s like yours that make me realize just how Blessed I am! Thanks!

    January 28, 2016 at 11:08 pm
  4. Beverly Tost

    Amen and amen….I so agree with you. Good to see your writing in print! Your 5th grade teacher!

    January 28, 2016 at 5:49 pm
  5. Lizana

    So true. I left my home state of Texas in 1973, and have lived in the west ever since – namely Colorado, California, and Washington. I can’t hear it of course, but as soon as I start speaking others notice that I’m from the south. They often interrupt the conversation to ask which state. I guess it just goes to show “you can take the girl out of the south but…” Well, you know the rest.

    January 28, 2016 at 5:45 pm
  6. Maggie

    my question is what little town in Northeast Georgia? I live in Mount Airy Ga. I was once in Michigan and asked some people taking a picture “would ya’ll like me to take a picture of both of you?” They said, “you aren’t from around here are you?”

    January 28, 2016 at 5:10 pm
  7. Jan Tatum

    Loved it Macy! My little second grade ballerina, violin player, and poet has certainly become a great author. Your second grade teacher. Mrs. Tatum

    January 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm
  8. Madelyn

    Well said! As a native Atlantan living in Seattle, people jump to many conclusions about my opinions and upbringing.

    January 28, 2016 at 3:51 pm
  9. Linda

    I soo love this article as a transplanted southern belle having lived in TN, AL, NV, TX and finally CA, I totally identify

    January 28, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s