ENG 106 I
2 October 2003
Yankees and Rednecks
Lee University is a very diverse campus. Not only do we have international students, but there are almost an equal number of students from the North and from the South. It is truly amazing how different people from the same country can be so different. At the same time, the fact that we are so different from one another gives us a unique opportunity to learn about and how to live with people who are not like ourselves. Since my arrival at Lee, I have heard many conversations about just how different the people from the North are than the people from the South. I find the topic interesting myself.
The first and most obvious difference between Northerners and Southerners is the way we talk. I never realized how thick of a southern accent I had until I moved here. My roommate is from Detroit, Michigan, and the girls next door are from Ohio and New Hampshire. I am from Nashville; I sound like a country bumpkin in comparison to them. For instance, instead of saying ?I want a soda,? I would say, ?I want a coke.? It doesn?t matter whether I am talking about Mello Yello or Dr. Pepper, I will still call it a coke. This really seems to irritate northern people. I saw this guy with a shirt on the other day that said ?It?s not Pop, it?s Coke!? Personally, I thought it was a great shirt. Another I say is ?y?all.? The word ?y?all? is useful. I don?t have to say ?you all? or ?you guys;? it?s just shorter. I also say, ?I?m fixin? to? instead of ?I will.? I?m not exactly sure where that saying originated, but northern folks think it?s hilarious. In the South, we pronounce our vowels differently than people in the north. An example of that would be the city name Lafayette. I would pronounce it La-fay-ette, while someone up north would probably say La-fe-ette. Southern people also pronounce ?ville? on the end of a city name as ?vul.? I am thankful that I do not have as much of a southern drawl as some people I have met; my roommate would antagonize me more than she already does.
Another difference between northern folks and southern folks is our cuisine. I enjoy eating grits for breakfast. I have met several Northerners who haven?t the foggiest idea what grits are. They eat oatmeal and Cream of Wheat, which to me is tragic. Southerners also eat vegetables that northerners have never tasted, like okra. My roommate ate dinner in the cafeteria one night and saw fried okra on the menu. Having never heard of okra, she decided to taste it. Her comment to me was, ?How do you people eat that stuff?? I noticed differences in taste in my own family. My Dad?s parents are from Indiana; they eat meats like Polish sausage, porterhouse steaks, Boston butt, bratwurst, and liverwurst. My mom?s parents are native Tennesseans; they eat country-fried steak, ham hocks, neck bones, and catfish. We also have restaurant chains that they don?t have north of the Mason-Dixon Line. In Tennessee people enjoy dining at Sonic, Steak n? Shake, and last but certainly not least, Krystal. Northerners may think that White Castle is the same thing, but they are sadly mistaken. The Krystal hamburger is one of the ingenious culinary wonders that originated in Tennessee, along with Moonpies, R.C. Cola, and Goo Goo Clusters.
There are other differences besides food and dialect. Southerners talk more slowly, walk more slowly, and even drive more slowly, as a whole, than Northerners. In the South, we don?t talk about the weather as much. Southerners are also more likely to be friendly or give a smile. Southerners also seem more prone to gossiping. The reason for that is because they can put someone down while sounding nice. For example, ?She chopped up her husband with a chainsaw, bless her heart.? Nothing sounds as cruel-hearted when one says ?Bless their heart? at the end of it. Southerners are also not afraid to make fun of themselves. A prime example of that are the redneck jokes told by Jeff Foxworthy. I don?t think there is a Southerner alive who doesn?t find them humorous.
We have been and continue to be blessed as a nation because we are a melting pot of cultures. It doesn?t matter where in the United States someone is from, there will be diversity in his or her city. Our campus is also blessed to have students from all over the U.S. and around the world. God made us all in his image, yet we are unique. We have different passions and different talents that He has given us. I believe we were placed here, at Lee University, by God for ?such a time as this”; we have been given the chance to befriend and grow with people with different cultures from our own. We should make the most of our opportunities to do so.