Here are a couple of responses to the name callers who speak from ignorance by one of Americas great men of letters (most of whom were Southerners if I recall correctly...Twain, Faulkner, Williams). I will freely admit that I could not better their efforts in defending Southerners, but I try. There is one particularly poignant definition by Lewis that I cannot find right now, but it is worth finding. I believe one can find it in his book "My Daddy was a Pistol, and I'm a Son of s Gun". Lewis eulogized his grandfather as a redneck, and not the derogatory term in common use by some bigoted northerners who view southerners as ignorant incestuous idiots (the same ones who refer to everything between New York and LA
as flyover territory), but as a man who made his living with his hands, served his country, worked with his head bowed down all day in the worst heat and humidity out there so that his neck seemed to be always sunburned, had callouses on his hands from the muleskinning, and scars on his knuckle from picking cotton; then made it to church on SUnday to deliver his sermon (he was a pastor) and raised his children, and cared for his grandchildren, and lived a full and good life. THis is the definition of a true "redneck" and it is a sorry thing to misuse the term. The same people who use this perjoratively would be immediately offended if anyone used anti-ethnic group slurs against any other group.
GIve these a read, and Iwill post the last if I can find it on-line.
(W/kind permission of Lewis Grizzard (I asked him if it was alright, and he said Hell Yes, boy!)
"Bubba Bashers" Use Stereotype That Doesn't Fit
For years, I have attempted to enlighten those individuals who hold biased and ill-based opinions about the name "Bubba." Most think men named Bubba are nothing more than ignorant swine who wear caps with the names of heavy equipment dealers on the front, shoot anything that moves, listen to music about doing bodily harm to hippies and put beer on their grits.
There may be Bubbas who fit the above description, but there are plenty who don't.
I once wrote of a man college-educated, with no tobacco juice stains on his teeth, whose family had always referred to him as Bubba. "I got that name," he explained, "because my baby sister couldn't say brother. She called me Bubba."
The man's problem was that he had taken a job with some sort of high-tech corporation, and his boss insisted he drop the name "Bubba" because he thought clients wouldn't respect a man with such a name. Our Bubba refused to use any other name, however, and became quite successful with his new company and wound up with his former boss's job. The former boss now refers to his old employee as "Mr. Bubba."
Anyway, I happened to pick up a back issue of Southern magazine recently, and on the very front cover were the following words: "Bubba! You don't have to be dumb, mean, fat, slow, white or male to be one!" I turned to page 37 and began to read: "Of all the Southern stereotypes," the story began, "the one that answers to 'Bubba' is probably the least flattering." The article went on to do portraits of eight Bubbas. Do any of the following fit the typical "Bubba stereotype"?
Keith "Bubba" Taniguche: lawyer, Austin, Texas. Full-blooded Japanese. Into Zen.
John "Bubba" Trotman: state director of the U.S.D.A in Alabama. On people moving into his state, he says: "At first, they say, 'Alabama, that's Tobacco Road.' Then you can't blow them out of here with a cannon!”
James "Bubba" Armstrong: surgeon, Tampa, Florida. Careful poking fun at anybody who knows his way around a scalpel.
Paul "Bubba" Meiner: owns a barbecue joint in Winter Park, Florida. Nice Lady.
Bernard "Bubba" Meng: state administrator for U.S. Senator Ernest Hollings. Columbia, South Carolina. He's "Little Bubba." Dad was "Big, etc."
Kyle "Bubba" Patrick: elementary school student, Auburntown, Tennessee. He wants to be a basketball player when he grows up.
One more thing: The University of Georgia veterinary school produced the state's first test-tube calf, a Holstein bull, weighing 100 pounds. They named him Bubba. What else?
and here is one apropos to our mutual interests:
"If y'all don't like Dixie, Delta is ready"(when you are)
By Lewis Grizzard
I don't care what they do to the Georgia state flag. They can put a big peach on the thing as far as I'm concerned. They can put Deion Sanders' smiling face on it.
And let it be known that the opponents of the flag, with its reminiscence of the Confederate banner, will bring down that flag.
One way or the other, color it red, white, blue and gone. It's politically incorrect and all the things that are deemed such have no future in this country.
We elected Hillary Rodham Clinton and the ban on the gays in the military will be lifted. It's a done deal. Like it or not, the Georgia state flag has no chance either.
The issue on my mind is white Southerners like myself.
They don't like us. They don't trust us. They want to tell us why we're wrong. They want to tell us how we should change.
They is practically every s.o.b. who isn't one of us.
I read a piece on the op-ed page of the Constitution written by somebody who in the jargon of my past "ain't from around here."
He wrote white Southerners are always looking back and that we should look forward. He said that about me.
I'm looking back? I live in one of the most progressive cities in the world. We built a subway to make Yankees feel at home.
And I live in a region the rest of the country can't wait to move to.
A friend, also a native Southerner, who shares my anger about the constant belittling of our kind and our place in this world, put it this way: "Nobody is going into an Atlanta bar tonight celebrating because they've just been transferred to New Jersey."
I was having lunch at an Atlanta golf club recently. I was talking with friends.
A man sitting at another table heard me speaking and asked, "Where are you all from?" He was mocking me. He was mocking my Southern accent. He was sitting in Atlanta, Ga., and was making fun of the way I speak.
He was from Toledo. He had been transferred to Atlanta. If I hadn't have been 46 years old, skinny and a basic coward with a bad heart, I'd have punched him. I did, however, give him a severe verbal dressing down.
I was in my doctor's office in Atlanta. One of the women who works there, a transplanted Northerner, asked how I
pronounced the world "siren."
I said I pronounced it "si-reen." I was half kidding, but that is the way I heard the word pronounced when I was a child.
The woman laughed and said, "You Southerners really crack me up. You have a language all your own."
Yeah we do. If you don't like it, go back home and stick your head in a snow bank.
They want to tell us how to speak, how to live, what to eat, what to think and they also want to tell us how they used to do it
back in Buffalo.
Buffalo? What was the score? A hundred and ten to Zip.
The man writing on the op-ed page was writing about that bumper sticker that shows the old Confederate soldier and he's saying, "FERGIT HELL!" I don't go around sulking about the fact the South lost the Civil War. But I am aware that once upon a long time ago, a group of Americans saw fit to rebel against what they thought was an overbearing federal government. There is no record anywhere that indicates anybody in my family living in 1861 owned slaves. As a matter of fact, I come from a long line of sharecroppers, horse thieves and used car dealers. But a few of them fought anyway -- not to keep their slaves, because they didn't have any. I guess they simply thought it was the right thing to do at the time.
Whatever the reason, there was a citizenry that once saw fit to fight and die and I come from all that, and I look at those people as brave and gallant, and a frightful force until their hearts and their lands were burnt away.
I will never turn my back on that heritage.
But know this: I'm a white man and I'm a Southerner. And I'm sick of being told what is wrong with me from outside critics, and I'm tired of being stereotyped as a refugee from "God's Little Acre."
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, and I'll probably have to say it a thousand times again.
Delta may be hurting financially, but it's still ready to take you back to Toledo when you are ready to go.
-- Published Feb. 5, 1993
Amazing how some things don't change.