Taking the South Out of the Kids

By Al Benson Jr.

It seems to me that there is a deliberate attempt in many schools around the country to “take the South” out of Southern young people.

You can look at such things as courses at some colleges that are designed to help Southern students lose their “Southern accents.” A Southern accent is perceived by many as a terrible liability to making it in the “real world” and so the kids need to be encouraged to dispose of their Y’alls and all the rest of the language that makes the South such a colorful place to live and converse in. Do I consider this a form of discrimination? Absolutely!

Have the folks that are so anxious to rid the world of Southern accents ever taken the time to listen to someone from New Jersey talk? If not they should. Or someone from Maine or certain parts of Massachusetts? I grew up in the northeast and so had a golden opportunity to listen to a variety of accents there, and believe me, when push comes to shove, I will take a good Mississippi drawl anytime over what passes for the English language in Hoboken.

Some northeastern accents are verifiably horrendous, and yet no one bothers to sponsor courses in colleges that will enable New Jersey students rid themselves of their accents. I remember one time, years ago, I was riding with a friend from New Jersey (he spoke respectable English) and we chanced to give a ride to someone else from New Jersey. When he got into the car he noticed the New Jersey tags on my friend’s  car and he said “Is youse guys from Joisey?” At least that’s what it sounded like he said. Since most of it seemed to come through his nose I was never completely sure. I have often thought, since that time, that some of the folks from Jersey could use a college course or two to teach them a better brand of English, but there don’t seem to be any such around. Such courses only seem to exist for Southern kids. Besides which, you all is grammatically correct when referring to more than one person. “Youse guys” is not.

And it seems to be the object of many schools, even in the South, to make kids ashamed of being Southerners. The kids are harangued about the evils of slavery, as though the white South were the only place in the world that slavery ever existed. Well, I have news for some of these self-righteous Northern professors–you had slavery up there too, you just got rid of it a little earlier that’s all. There are places on the Internet where you can check out information about slavery in the North.

I realize there are many good Northern folks that have no idea that slavery ever existed in their part of the country, but all the original thirteen colonies had slavery at one time or another. Lots of New England ship owners got wealthy off the slave trade. If you want to read a little about it I would recommend The Myths of American Slavery by Walter D. Kennedy  (Pelican Publishing Co., Gretna, Louisiana 2003). Another bigger book comes to mind also, but this is an excellent place to start.

Young folks from other areas are taught to be proud of their heritage. Southern kids are taught to be ashamed of theirs. I’m sorry, but speaking as a Northerner who now lives in the South, that’s just not right.

The Southern kids have every bit as much right to be proud, and thankful, for their heritage as anyone else does. Slavery was not the sole product of evil Southerners and secession in 1861 was not treason, no matter how much some professors and uninformed newspaper columnists spout that it was. Those people that carry on about the South only seceding so she could keep her slaves do little except betray their abysmal lack of historical knowledge.

Sadly, many uninformed Christians go along with this foolishness. There is even a blog spot out there, run by someone who claims to be a Christian, which advertises a “Burn the Confederate Flag Day” for September 12th, to coincide with the upcoming Tea Party rallies. The Southern Heritage News & Views blog spot has noted that: “he manages to cram Confederate heritage, the Tea Party platform and racism into a single muddled object of his sophomoric jeering.” Yes, folks, thanks to our government school educations, there are some folks out there who honestly don’t know the difference. Actually, I’d like to see some Confederate flags out there at the Tea Party rallies, waving along side all those Gadsden flags. They do, after all, complement one another.

What we need, rather than cutting young folks off from their Southern heritage, are some schools that will teach it without apology. And we need informed Christian young people that will realize the biblical basis for their culture rather than back down at the false charge of “racism” because they’ve been taught not to “offend” anyone.

Content ©2010  Al Benson Jr.

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