March 21, 2007
Culture... and out-growing it
Originally published May 30, 2005
If you think there isn't a mountain dialect spoken in the hollows of Harlan County, Kentucky, you've never been there. That sound is still music to my ears, but the rest of my family and I stopped speaking it years ago. It works fine in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, but it doesn't make you sound very intelligent or capable when you speak it to someone who's never heard it before.
One of the first things I learned when I came to Savannah: practice ditching that hillbilly accent. It doesn't fit in around here. Learn to talk the way everybody else does. So, I did.
That's one of the reasons I laughed my ass off at the idea of "Ebonics" when some idiots were actually SERIOUS about promoting ghetto-dialect as a legitimate second language.
My thought was.... "Here kid--- you trying to get out of this sump and make something of yourself in life? Let me help. I'm going to tie this BIG ROCK around your foot and send you out there to hobble around. When you don't find a job, come hobbling back here and I'll tell you it was all Whitey's fault. It had nothing to do with the rock tied to your foot."
I like a lot of things about people I call "red-necks." They're good old boys, unsophisticated but friendly as hell, good beer-drinkers, hard-workers and honest. They take care of their kids and they don't beat up the wife. They like country music and NASCAR racing. They own guns and enjoy hunting. If they make a good kill, they'll drive by your house and offer you a fresh deer-haunch.
I DON'T like Poor White Trash. There is a HUGE difference between PWT and a red-neck. Poor White Trash won't work. They blame every problem they have on somebody else. They allow their kids to grow like wild grass. They live in a single-wide mobile home with a broken front door, a blue tarp over the roof and a $16,000 bass boat in the drive-way. The only reason they ever get dressed is to walk to the mailbox and see if the Welfare Check arrived yet.
Am I being racist when I say that I see the same difference in Black Culture today? Them that wants it goes and gets it--- and it's OUT THERE TO BE HAD!!! If doing that is considered to be "acting white," I must respectfully disagree. I call it ACTING CIVILIZED!!! And it works, too.
On the other hand, you have the black equalivant of PWT, and they display the same characteristics of sorriness, excuse-making and self-destructive behavior. My point is that it's not a racial thing, in MY humble opinion. Some people are just plain sorry.
Preaching to the sorry people that what they are doing is legitimate guarantees that sorry people will remain sorry. I don't see how doing that improves a sorry person's life. That crap just makes people who are NOT dead-ass sorry pay more in taxes.
If I sound harsh, I mean to be.
All content © Rob Smith