We Southerners who leave the South are a conflicted bunch. I recently tried to capture my mixed feelings about my “sweet sunny South” homeland in a song. Here’s the chorus:
Yeah, it’s another song about the South, y’all–
Tryin’ to sort my feelings out once and for all.
How can someone feel so in and out of place?
That sweet, sunny South where I first saw the light,
If she’s my ol’ mama, I’m a teenager in flight.
Do I want to hug her neck…or slap her face?
That conflict has been raging stronger than ever this past couple of weeks, as these two feelings battle within me:
- I am SO DADGUM PROUD (as Coach Williams would say) of my Carolina Tarheels, playing their way into the National Championship game!
- I am so ashamed of the North Carolinian voters, who elected the representatives who passed HB2, a.k.a. the “Bathroom Law,” which requires people to use the bathroom assigned to whichever gender they were born with.
Luckily, the law is encountering an enormous backlash. I doubt something so discriminatory will stand for long. But just the fact that my fellow Tarheels thought it was a good idea to pass a law so mean-spirited and divisive makes me sad. So much for the “New South.”
I’m wearing my Carolina Blue as I write this–earrings and all. I’ll be cheering my head off tonight, and I’ll be almost as proud if our guys lose than if they win. But what would make me the proudest? If my former fellow citizens reject this law with all their physical might. I want to get back to feeling like hugging their necks instead of slapping their faces.