One of the first things people (usually) ask me when they meet me, "Where are you from?" As soon as I tell them North Carolina, they smile and say something along the lines of: I definitely knew you weren't from here because of that accent! I do have a strong southern accent (thanks Mom from Alabama), according to most people. I'm hoping it goes away one day!
There's really only one problem with having a southern accent: the generalizations that come along with it.
When people hear a southern accent, a few things might run through people's minds (according to people I've asked):
- charming, friendly
- sweet tea, fried chicken, biscuits
- southern baptist or very religious
- homophobic or anti-gay
- probably not very accepting of others
- racist or scared of diversity
For example, one of my neighbors was having people over and she told me she didn't know if I would want to come. I asked her why and she said two of her gay friends were coming. I was shocked she would assume I had a problem with anyone gay. When we talked about it she revealed the sentiments above saying because I was southern, she thought I was anti-gay. Well you all know me by now, that couldn't be further from the truth.
I am thankful my views have opened conversations when people learn more about me. I'm happy to break down generalizations about being southern! Although I do try to be friendly and I LOVE sweet tea and biscuits, I'm not religious, I'm a democrat and I'm very accepting of everyone I meet (or at least I try to be). We're all different; there is no normal.
So, the next time you meet someone from the south, north, west... don't automatically assume they fit the regional stereotypes. Get to know the person before the assumptions begin.