Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yeah, I Talk With a Southern Draw...

I was born and raised in the South. From the minute I open my mouth to speak, there is no doubt that I am a southern girl. I don't, however, classify myself as a 'G.R.I.T.S' (girls raised in the south), mainly because I'm not one for stupid abbreviations. Anyway, most of the time I don't give my accent another thought in the world. It's just a part of who I am, and who I've always been. But, every once in a while I'll get paranoid about my southern accent.

It all started this morning when my doctor's office called me to tell me that she couldn't understand my last name and I didn't give my date birth on the message that I had left yesterday about my prescription. We wouldn't have this problem if you could actually talk to someone when you call a doctors office, pharmacy, etc. I get pretty tired of talking to machines. Anyway, that's another blog for another day. The lady on the other end of the phone had a northern accent, and I could barely understand a word she was saying. I was speaking clearly, and I knew that there was no other reason she couldn't understand me, other than the fact that she moved to the South and took a job without the understanding that she needed to be able to understand a Southern Accent. Thats not what got me paranoid though. What got me paranoid and uncomfortable was the fact of what kind of person she was picturing me as. If she couldn't understand what I was saying, then she was probably picturing me with no teeth, nappy hair, plaid shirt, and cut off blue jean shorts. That's definitely not me, nor anyone else I know, but if you asked anyone from another part of the country what they think of Southern people, that's what they would tell you.

I started getting a little upset, because my accent is the only thing Southern about me. I wouldn't say that I am redneck or trashy. I like to have nice things, and look nice. That's when I began thinking about who is to blame for this mental image of us Southern Folk from people all over the country. It's the Media's fault. Yes, I blame alot on the media, but this is legit. Think about when a news reporter interviews a resident who's house was torn apart by a tornado. They don't pick one of the most prominent members of the town, or someone of sophistication. They find the most redneck, trashiest, no teeth, greasy haired, person they can find! No wonder the whole Country thinks everyone from the South has no teeth, and can't speak right.

So, this is why I get paranoid sometimes about my accent. I don't want people to have this wrong mental image of me, and I especially don't want this nurse from my Doctor's Office creating this horrible, mental image of me. I'm proud of my Southern heritage, and for the most part I like my Southern accent. It sets me apart from everyone else.


MrsM said...

I love southern accents! A large portion of my family has them. We're originally from Georgia, and I was even born there, but I didn't live there long enough to have the cute accent. I just talk like a plain old west coaster. =(

Samantha said...

Most people tell me my accent is cute, but then there are those who find it annoying and are constantly asking me what I'm saying. That aggravates me. I could live on the West Coast. I have family in Santa Barbara. I always thought I could be a West Coast girl as well as a East Coast girl :)