Are you from the south? Do you have generational southern roots? Are you in search of ways to represent where you came from and to share your heritage? Look no further. Next time you're thinking of breaking out your confederate flag belt or hat or t-shirt or tattoo or bumper sticker or actual flag, consider one of these non-racist options.
1. Research your geneaology.
I was required to do this for a history class in high school and I was able to trace my family all the way back to 1500s Scotland. Learn the most that you can about where you're from.
2. Visit the graves of your ancestors.
Unless every single generation of your family has lived and died in the same small town, it's likely that you have family members scattered across the south. Grab your siblings or cousins or curious friends and take a road trip to pay your respects.
3. Find out your state song and sing it every chance you get.
Or play it on guitar, piano, harmonica... It may get annoying for your Northern or international friends, but hey. At least you're sharing your culture.
4. Cook a classic family recipe and share it with friends who come from different backgrounds.
Everyone likes food. There's nothing offensive about it.
5. Ask about and listen to the stories of your older family members.
Take an intentional trip out to visit your extended family who may be unable to come visit you. It'll mean the world to them.
6. Learn about a famous historical, political or celebrity from your home state.
7. Go bird-watching for your state bird.
Yellowhammers, where y'at?
8. Start a garden of your state flower.
This is a beautiful and therapeutic way to get outside and sweat a little (it's the South, so that's a given).
9. Enhance your new flower garden to facilitate your state butterfly.
Milkweed is the staple for monarch butterflies, Alabama's state bird. I've seen milkweed gardens turned butterfly havens that come alive with orange and black wings in the spring.
10. If you have Native American lineage, consider the implications and research the tribe's culture.
In Alabama, the Poarch Creek Indians host a pow-wow on a local reservation during Thanksgiving each year. The event is open to the public and visitors can witness the cultural dress, dance and celebration.
11. Go to a football game or a rodeo.
You can't get much more Southern than that.