You might think it to be a stretch, but to me grits symbolize the changes that take place in an increasingly globalized world. Let me explain.
If you read my tagline, you’ll probably understand that I’m something of enigma. My family is from Minnesota, I was born in Missouri and grew up in the Carolinas. I’m something of a cultural half-breed. I’m not from the North. I’m not from the South. I don’t know if I should be eating Biscuits and Gravy or Hot Dish (Don’t know what that is? You’re not missing much).
And when I say anything here in South Carolina, people ask, “You’re not from around here, are you?” Contrasting that, however, are my relatives in Minnesota who perpetually comment on how Southern I sound. And if those same relatives ask what I had for dinner and I say “Barbeque,” they instantly assume I’m referring to a dish that resembles Sloppy Joes (If you don’t understand why this is strange, then you’re definitely not from around here). Thus, I am completely unsure of what to do with grits.
I think, though, that this kind of confusion is representative of the world in which we live. More and more people are living and working in places of which their ancestors could have hardly dreamed.
But that globalization results in a rather sticky situation: contact with new cultures. And with that contact comes confusion and change. How do we come to grips with a new culture? What happens when we return to our native culture? How will we be changed?
Well, often it provides us with a unique opportunity to view different cultures objectively. For instance, North is not better or worse than South – and vice versa (It’s controversial. I know). Also, it allows us to identify and communicate with people we could not otherwise understand or reach out to. My experiences are a prime example of this.
I can easily identify with the thoughts and feelings of both Northern and Southern cultures. When a Southerner laments about two inches of snow, I can either make fun of him or join him in buying tons of bread and milk. I can comfortably wear shorts when it is fifty degrees and a jacket when it is seventy. I’ll watch the Clemson game on Saturday and the Vikings game on Sunday. Are you a Lutheran? Then I can discuss theology with you. Baptist? No problem.
What if we started trying to understand other cultures instead of attacking them? Maybe we would be better equipped to reach out.
So where do I fit in? Oh, I don’t know. Probably anywhere that people say either “Ya’ll” or “O Ya.”
But there’s one thing that this Southern Raised Northerner is certain of:I definitely like grits.