I have lived in Tennessee since I was five. I am an educated individual who knows how to speak English correctly, without an accent. I attended one of the best public schools in the nation. And yes, it is located in Tennessee. I care about social justice issues. And I AM TENNESSEAN. As a Tennessean, I am sick and tired of the stereotypes of my great state. I am sick and tired of hearing that my friends and neighbors are rednecks with little intelligence. As a college student studying in the Northeast, someone recently told me that they were sorry I lived in Tennessee. Am I sorry? NO. These misconceptions about the state are formed by men and women who are themselves ignorant. Such ignorance reflects a lack of respect and real world education. Such ignorance perpetuates misunderstanding. Misunderstanding leads to greater global issues.
Instead, we should recognize Tennessee for its great contributions in ALL genres of music, for its beauty, and for its hospitality. We should respect it for its leading hospitals and for its historic value. This is Tennessee. Similarly, to curb the affects of ignorance we must recognize all states and nations for their great contributions as well.
From the ABC show Grey's Anatomy:
George: A southern accent doesn't make you stupid.