carafnparrish asked: 2. If you really thing the majority of arguing in the south for the confederacy was about slavery your yankee public education is showing. The north free traded slaves just as much as the south opted to and Mr. Lincoln was not anti-savery. He said so himself. The majority of the southern choice to attempt to split from the union was tariff related.
I’m aware that the secession of the south was not entirely related to slavery. But it is kind of the elephant in the room. When a 16-year-old gets his first truck and slaps a Confederate Flag sticker on the rear windshield, he certainly isn’t thinking about tariffs. And for all I know, he may not be thinking about slavery either. But if he’s thinking about rebellion, he either doesn’t consider or knows very well that the rebellion from which the flag was born was produced by a system that outright stated, under the guise of God’s will, that one human being could be inferior to another due to the color of their skin. It’s all about context. It’s the same reason why if an individual puts an Ichthys on their bumper, they should be aware that they are communicating a belief that Christianity is being oppressed. Context is necessary, because without it, important symbols become desaturated and consumerist, or their true meaning is skewed entirely. They become the Che Guevara t-shirt, or the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster. All this is entirely subjective, of course, but when I see a Confederate Flag being flown in one of the northernmost areas of the U.S., I know the individual flying it isn’t thinking about tariffs.
carafnparrish asked: You might want to spend less time concerning yourself with what others think of you and more with the words you choose to describe others. To put this in a simple enough terminology to be spoken from one redneck to one yooper, "what susie says of sally says more about susie than it does about sally." Stop slinging around titles, Yankee. ;)
The term “redneck” was the best comparison I could make for how the idea of “Yooper” culture is viewed by those who are within it. I’m not using it as a stereotype, but rather as an example and comparison. I understand there are people who live within the “redneck” culture who don’t embrace the stereotypes, just as I understand that there are people within the “Yooper” culture who don’t embrace it, the point of the essay. Similar to the conception of “redneck” culture, I used the comparison that those who truly fit the profile aren’t phased by these conceptions, and in fact embrace them. Though I don’t have much experience within the true “redneck” culture, it seems to me that its members don’t mind outsiders’ views of their culture. It wasn’t by accident that Larry the Cable Guy made $13 million last year, or why my Facebook feed and the news were gummed up with protests about Phil Robertson’s firing from A&E. I don’t use “redneck” as a derogatory term, just as I don’t use “Yooper” as a derogatory term. I use it as a comparison for cultures that I don’t see myself as a member of, but have respect for their members’ love and commitment to themselves.
carafnparrish asked: 3. That being said as a southern who has been exploring the UP for a few months now for every one confederate flag I've seen three adult hula hoops. Hunting and a low population density is a far cry from being an explanation for any "redneck," as you so eloquently stated it, stereotype. I had never even heard of a yooper until I arrived here and have yet to hear it used in a derogatory fashion in the UP.
Again, it’s not a derogatory term in the sense of a racist slur, but an label that implies a person’s behavior and values. I don’t think it’s used in a sense that one calling another one is making them the “lesser”, but rather someone who’s “different” from themselves. Similar to “redneck”, I don’t see “Yooper” as a term of hate, I’m just saying that it isn’t that difficult to find aspects of the culture that those who don’t embrace it would find troubling. And hunting and sparse population aren’t being redneck tendencies for me, they’re elements of the Upper Peninsula that I think contribute to its ecosystem. Along with winters that are too cold and summers that are too hot, an overwhelmingly Republican political view (at least in the 2012 election), and so many meth labs (http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/about/search.aspx?q=meth+lab).
Ultimately, the essay was about my relationship with a label I find troubling, so to examine it, I had to use a label that some may find troubling. I meant no offense, I simply went with an association that the audience would hopefully understand.