By: Jerry Barksdale
I’ve had a lot to worry about this year. Horn worms attacked my tomato plants, Japanese beetles ate my grapevines and groundhogs stole my okra. Messing with a Southerner’s okra and tomatoes is worse than someone cuss’n his dog or telling him he can’t date his cousin. Then there is global warming, paying my alimony on time, and resisting Russian mind control. It’s been a stressful year.
Now I have another worry – getting busted for culture theft. It’s a new offense hatched up by a pinhead college professor who can’t park his bicycle straight and, to quote Jerry Clower, whose education exceeds his intelligence.
It’s also called cultural misappropriation and occurs when someone of one culture adopts or uses elements of another culture. For example, a cornbread eating Southerner like myself eating a Mexican tortilla is considered cultural theft. It’s claimed to be a violation of the collective intellectual property rights of the originating culture. White folks calling their football team “Redskins” is definitely culture theft. Another example is mascot Oceola riding a horse at Florida State Seminoles football games or a non-Indian wearing a Mohawk haircut and white folks wearing dreadlocks and cornrow hairdos. Non-aboriginal people piercing their body and wearing what I call “booger catchers” (nose rings) is definitely cultural theft. Tattoos of Chinese or Japanese characters is also misappropriation.
In 2011, Prince William and Kate were busted in Canada for wearing cowboy hats and western shirts. “Tasteless,” said culture cops. Recently in Portland, Oregon, two white women were forced to shut down their burrito cart after traveling to Mexico and learning how to make a good burrito. They were accused of culture misappropriation. (Note to self: Portland is vying to become the wacko capital of the United States. Too much wacky- backy, I think).
In 2012, during the annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show where salivating men watched nearly naked women parade down the runway in skimpy underwear, a model wore an Indian headdress. She was accused of misappropriation by the culture cops and forced to apologize. I agree. It was inappropriate. Spike heels would have been ideal. Many men love to go shopping at Victoria Secret with their woman. Imagine this? “Darl’n, do you like this negligee?” she coos.
“Shucks no! I’d prefer, an Indian war bonnet.”
Ridiculous! I don’t want my woman looking like an Indian Chief in those situations. I’m biblical. I want her looking like Eve running around the Garden of Eden wearing a fig leaf.
In 2013, pop singer Katy Perry was busted by culture cops for wearing a geisha style outfit at the American Music Awards. “I didn’t know I did wrong,” she whimpered. Boohoo. Wimp. She’s probably from Portland.
There are well recognized customs, traditions, habits and foods that identify us as Southerners, and I don’t want outsiders stealing them. Already spineless, feckless, panty-waist politicians, who will soon be offering over their daughters in order to remain in office, are taking down our statues and destroying our Southern culture. We must remain vigilant and protect our culture.
If you see someone dressed in black with a $75.00 haircut and speaking in complete sentences and using two-syllable words while eating fried catfish and hushpuppies, they are probably from a foreign country like New York engaged in stealing our culture. We don’t talk that way.
If someone says “youse guys” while eating goat stew, poke sallet, fried okra, turnip greens, chitlins, scrambled hog brains, bologna on a cracker or moon pie and R.C. Cola, they are from New Jersey stealing our culture. That’s our food!
Someone wearing a brand new John Deere cap with no grease on the bill, sucking their teeth after a meal or mining ear wax with a toothpick is an imposter stealing our culture. (Warning! Mining ear wax with a toothpick is dangerous and shouldn’t be attempted by a non-Southerner). Saying “cotton pick’n right,” “doggone it” or “shucks” is even more offensive. That’s our lingo. Keep your mouth off it.
If they attempt to blow their nose with two fingers, they are misappropriating our culture. That is a highly technical maneuver perfected by Southerners over generations. It’s ours. Leave it alone.
Sometimes it’s difficult to identify an authentic Southerner from a pretender. Here are a few markers. If a man opens the door for a woman and says, “Morn’n, Ma’am,” he’s a genuine Southern redneck who hasn’t been told his behavior is considered sexist. If he calls you “hon,” he considers it a term of endearment. If a hound’s tooth hat is in the rear window of his car and a “Roll Tide” plate is on the front, he’s the real deal. If he says “yessum and no ma’am” to his elders, he is a Southerner, all right. If a woman attends church three times a week while packing a pistol in her purse, she is a Southern gal. If a woman gets diarrhea the night before the Iron Bowl, she’s a born and bred Auburn fan for sure. Southerners eat cornbread instead of “light” bread, and will ask a total stranger, “How you?” on the street, he’s Southern. If a person stands and places hand over heart when the National Anthem is playing, he’s definitely Southern. Wackos claim it’s racist to ask, “Where you from?” Southerners think they are just being friendly.
If you are unsure about their origin, ask a trick question: “Will a Alice Chandler (Allis Chalmer) outpull a John Deere? A real Southerners know that a John Deer can do anything better.
The acid test to determine if a man is authentic Southern is call him a redneck. He will laugh and say, “Yeah buddy, I got it honestly by working all day in the field chopping and picking cotton. It’s a mark of hard work.” Southerners have a sense of humor. It’s what sustained us during Reconstruction and the Great Depression. A non-Southerner will be offended and threaten to sue.
Call me redneck – it’s a mark of honor – make fun of my pickup or tractor, but don’t cuss my dog or tell me that my female cousin is ugly. And don’t tell me that cornbread crumbled in sweet milk isn’t good. That’s where the humor ends. Doggone it, get your cotton-picking hands off my culture.
By: Jerry Barksdale