Living in the south and being an accidental racist

I live in the south. I watch Duck Dynasty, I wear camouflage, and I own at least one article of clothing with a Confederate Flag on the front. We sit on porches, and we say “ain’t” and “y’all.” We drink sweet tea and eat lots of fried food.

Yes, we have all of our teeth. I have no intentions of marrying one of my cousins. We can read and write quite well. I have a college education. We’re not all ignorant “rednecks.”

Now, on to the important thing. Am I racist for wearing that t-shirt with a Confederate flag? I don’t believe so. It’s a part of my heritage. The flag does not, and never has, represented racism. It was made to represent states rights. A slave never sailed into the United States under the Confederate flag. They all came in under the American flag, so one isn’t more racist than the other. (Just my thoughts.)

I love the south. I live in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s the cradle of the Confederacy and the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. The people who live here don’t realize it, but Montgomery is rich in culture. I grew up in a town where the First White House of the Confederacy and the Rosa Parks Museum are within walking distance of one another, which isn’t something that very many people get to experience. Our generation did not write history. I never owned a slave, and neither did my parents or my grandparents. Maybe it really is time to put the past in the past.

The song “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J sums up my experience of living in the south perfectly. It’s taken a bunch of heat but I feel like it opens up great conversation, especially when the topic is so taboo.

Listen to it, and let me know what you think!

6 thoughts on “Living in the south and being an accidental racist

  1. Brave topic! Holy cow. I love the song but can see where it would ruffle feathers. It reminds me of a documentary on Netflix called “Forgiving Mehngella” or something like that regarding Jewish forgiveness of Nazi’s…one person can’t issue a blanket statement for so many touched by the ugliness.

    Now, as for the confederate flag…I am not from the south, so I don’t know the exact intricacies of what the flag means to y’all. I see one and honestly I am floored. I don’t understand the attachment to the flag (and hanging on to it seems so antiquated to me). My mind DOES go way beyond pride and rebellion and see it as a symbol of anger and rage…so why keep showing it, I always wonder? I might be wrong, but that’s what it conjures up for me.

    • I can definitely see how it would ruffle feathers, as well, but talking about racism is a step to ending it.

      As for the confederate flag… I don’t expect people do understand who are not from the south. The best way that I can equate it is to look at it this way. You know how white people who aren’t irish wear green because they’re like .001% irish every St Patrick’s Day? It’s a way to show “heritage” when you really don’t have one. I know black people who wear confederate flags. It’s not a sign of racism, it’s a sign of history and culture. Some people who aren’t from the south misinterpret is as racism.

  2. We are all racists in the eyes of those who want you to be… no matter what you do or say if someone wants to they will find some way of making you out as a racist… ask me I’m a non racist South African but because my skin is white I’m considered a racist… go figure..

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