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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

I'm Nikeela, and I'm determined to ruin this blog. Seriously. Okay, not seriously.

I suppose I could discuss something super serious that a lot of people care about for my first post. However, I'd rather write about something that will hopefully induce a giggle and a bit of consideration. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Namely, it is about the place that I love to bits and call my home. Alabama. The 22nd state admitted to the union, as of December 14, 1819, Alabama is a beautiful place. We have the mountains and the beach. We have lakes and rivers, forests and wildlife. It is also a place that is widely considered one of the most ignorant, backwards, bible-beating, hate-filled places in the world.

Part of my family is from a tiny cow town in Texas. Here are things that they probably would have found surprising about life in Alabama a little more than ten years ago:

1) We do not live in a shack in the middle of a cotton field. There are actually houses and development and such.
2) We are not constantly in danger of getting lynched or having a cross burned in our yard.
3) Not as many people as you think in Alabama are riding around in a huge, jacked up truck and waving a confederate flags.
4) Having a Wal-Mart Supercenter in your town is nothing to brag about. In fact, it's pretty ho-hum.

I'm not sure that those things would still be so unbelievable now. You never really know what people outside of your community are thinking unless you go ask, though. I'm not sure why life being “normal” seemed more of a possibility in rural Texas than in one of the largest metropolitan areas in Alabama. That concept doesn't surprise me or shock me as much as it did then. Some of the reasons that I believe people have these notions about Alabamians are also some of the reasons why I believe that Alabama is a pretty sweet place to live, and why I would have to be offered a ridiculous sum of money to move north of the Mason-Dixon Line. So why do I love this state that so many people see as backwards? Why do I love these people around me who are widely viewed as ignorant?

I love this place and these people because there are no illusions about who anyone is. We are able to all have diametrically opposed views on any and everything AND still coexist beautifully (the majority of the time). We don't like to offend anyone, but we WILL if we have to. We are intelligent, innovative, driven, and will hold the door open for you if you come into a building behind us. We’re relaxed and easy going, we sprint to where the air conditioning is in the summer, and we will smile and offer tea to people who demean us.

This is not because we’re lazy or docile. It is not because we are too stupid to know when we are being insulted. It is not because we are too gracious to comment. It is because we are laughing. We are laughing because you're silly enough to generalize southerners. There are not two boxes that we all fit into. We have just as many variations as any other place in the nation. It's amazing how people who are supposedly more intelligent than the typical southerner can make this mistake over and over.

But hey... we can't all be southern!

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