Lost Culture, Shamed Out Of Existence

How sad it is that the culture and heritage has been lost in the USA of a core population that once was the catalyst that set the colony free and among the few who dared adventure into the unsettled for no reason other than it was out there.

I'm a mutt like so many other Americans.  The whole of humanity courses through my genes.  My collective cultural memory though is American Scots-Irish of Piedmont and Western North Carolina.  Most notably that core group known commonly in vernacular as "poor white trash" from "the wrong side of the tracks"; now suffering several generation's attempt to save us from ourselves.  I'm guilty too - I toed the company line all these years.  Went to their schools and university, worked in their corporations, learned their language, and ate their food.  Their doctors damn near killed me.

My granddaddy made moonshine.  Grandma tended chickens.  They didn't work "a real job" - at least not one that meets the standards of the common work ethic - unless they had to, preferring to "lay around the shack" when possible.  It was indeed a "shack" as it'd be a long stretch to call that a house.  Great Uncle Dink lived in one of those shacks too; grew fifty acres of corn out there.  Self-sufficient peoples that didn't need a single thing from anyone else.  They'd share the last of the shine or chicken with a stranger though and not think a second about it...

For a whole century society called "my people" ignorant, uneducated, dirty, uncouth, immoral, Godless, and the like - we were the dregs of society beneath even the most contemptible.  Society tried to "save" us from ourselves by showing us their better way to live.  Their greed driven, materialistic, and selfish way.  They convinced us to learn their language, to work in their mills and mines, to trade our land for their city, to embrace their morals, and to even hate our own music.  But they lied to us and then trapped us in a different sort of poverty that we can't overcome. 

I've begun learning to recapture my culture.  After fighting for fifty years to be what is someone else's cultural ideal - I've realized that it's just not in my genes to be them anymore than it's in theirs to be us.  I'm taking my culture back!  "I'll speak my Southern English just as natural as can be..." and "I ain't gonna work on the railroad, ain't gonna work on the farm.  I'll lay around the shack 'til the mail train comes back, rollin' in my sweet baby's arms." ♪♫♪

The grits are done, gotta go.  Y'all come back now...

[ps: this is my story, in part, and your story may differ.  That's a cool thing about we American Scots-Irish, we're just about as mixed as that stray mutt down the road.]

JohnnyQDoe JohnnyQDoe
2 Responses Mar 12, 2012

very interesting story did u know that alot of us presidentshad ulster scot roots many from northern ireland

I know the feeling mate! I live in Australia, my grandparents imigrated from england and scottland they put us all in a ghetto type area to struggle it out, anyway I feel I have no culture and the one that is pushed on us is barbie q's and beer and as far as chuck a shrimp on the barbie goes no one Ive ever met has done so its just a myth made up on the crocodile dundee film that was popular in the eighty's and not only do we have no culture but we destroyed the indiginous culture of the aboriginals that were here before white settlement they hate us for that too. very similar situation to the native Indians in your country, so limbo is it. now Ive got to go wrestle a crocadile lol