Southern and not responsible for my ancestors choices!

If I had a penny for every time I heard someone say that I would be filthy rich. The statement is true. But what if we changed that statement by adding something to it? What if we tacked on something meaningful at the end of it? Let’s just change the whole damn thing!

Hi. My name is Leah. While I am southern born and not responsible for my ancestors choices, I AM responsible for making a positive change in my community so long as I walk this earth. Doesn’t that sound SO much better?

Just because my ancestors were ignorant doesn’t mean I have to be. I owe a debt of gratitude to my mother for choosing NOT to carry on family traditions. It was not an easy choice for her because of the hell her family gave her. It was however, the only choice she could live with.

My mom had one of the worst childhoods you could imagine. There was one bright spot in an otherwise bleak life. Her name was Bertha. Bertha was the family’s “black” maid. She provided the only arms my mother felt loved in or safe in. I think my mother would have committed suicide before 18 if she hadn’t had Bertha. She loved my mother without strings or expectations. She loved my mother just because. Just because she did. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for that wonderful woman. My mother might not have been so quick to turn against her family’s beliefs if it weren’t for Bertha’s love.  I thank God for putting Bertha in my mom’s life.

I guess my grandmother was too good to do her own cooking and cleaning. Instead, she hired Bertha to do those chores that were beneath her. If you fear and hate a particular race, why in the world would you hire them to work in your home? I have never been able to understand that choice. In the end, it would be the greatest decision my grandmother ever made. In my opinion, anyway.

Just how deep did that fear run? Bertha had her own plate, bowl, silverware, glass and coffee cup. Again, I don’t understand. If you are frightened that this woman is harboring some secret disease, why bring her into your home? I will never understand.

My mother ate many meals with this nurturing woman. The only adult that actually cared about my mom’s thoughts, opinions and feelings. My mom was 12 and 13 years younger than her sisters. She wasn’t really welcome at their dinner table. Bertha welcomed mom with loving arms and a joyful smile. Bertha didn’t see skin color. She saw a child that she loved. No more. No less. What if we could all be like Bertha? What a wonderful world it would be!

Instead of walking around with your head held high and accepting no responsibility, why don’t you get off your tiptoes and accept that change is indeed your responsibility?

One more thing. If ever there were a flag that needed to be burnt, it is the rebel flag! I am so sick of hearing people talk about it being their heritage. Please. I bet 95% of the people that say that have no idea who created that flag or what he said about it. The only thing you are saying by waiving that monstrosity is that you are an ignorant white person and you are better than ever other race out there. If you really think God created all of us but only the white folks are any good, then you will most likely rot in hell!

A big thanks to my mom for teaching me about love and acceptance rather than fear and hate. Bertha, you were gone before my time but I pray that someday I will get to hug your neck and thank you in person. You were a much needed role model and hero to a tormented little girl.

15 thoughts on “Southern and not responsible for my ancestors choices!

    1. Thank you, Clemens. The South is very beautiful. It has a very ugly side as well. I pray that someday we will ALL be able to live with love in our hearts for all people. This is a very emotional subject for me. My mother was raped by a black man when I was fours old. Even though she came from a very prejudice family she was wise enough to see it for what it was. He was a bad man. NOT a bad black man. She hated his act of violence, not his race. She is my hero!

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  1. Leah, I loved your post here. It should not be a fresh perspective, but everyone’s perspective, and perhaps in time it will be. It’s a badly needed view that needs to be adopted, and by many in our government as well. The world in general is in turmoil because they can’t see that only seeing our differences means people are not looking deep enough. If we only see what’s on the surface then we miss getting to the heart of what matters. :O)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am new here. Blogging from Canada.

    I have never understood all this anger and hatred based on the pigment of skin. ANd by no means do we not see hate and racism here in Canada. Just last week I heard a coworker refer to an Indo-Canadaian man (a person whose relatives lived in India) as a “Paki” and a “Hindu”. And it just shows her own ignorance because not only was this man not from Pakistan but he was Sikh.
    All I know is we need to keep talking. We need to open up our hearts and minds. Will things ever change? I doubt it. But we can keep hoping.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Your story though terrible in part is largely of hope and determination. Despite coming from a family where there were the advantage of maids your mother chose not to carry on the roles of hate, fear and prejudice. You’ve taken on a role as your Mother’s champion and are following the beautiful example she set.
    I’m truly sorry for the pain you bear, I wish I could take it away for you.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and following me. It’s something of a surprise because there isn’t much serious about that blog, I’d have thought it more likely you’d have gone for my other one https://lorddavidprosser1.wordpress.com/2015/11/11/this-eleventh-day/
    But welcome to the family anyway.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You are so sweet. Thank you for wanting to take my pain away but even if there were a way, I wouldn’t let you. My pain is a wonderful gift. That pain is what made the person I am today! I am a woman full of love and compassion. That very pain is what allows me to appreciate joy and laughter. I have only just begun to scrath the surface of this sometimes painful but very often crazy journey mom and I have travelled thus far. We have even had one or two “Thelma and Louise” moments. Not illegal, just wild and crazy. Our relationship is much like Swiss cheese. A good bit of substance and a few holes in there to keep us on our toes.
      I am humbled and honored by the warm welcome and very kinds words I have received since starting this a few days ago.
      I will absolutely check out your other site! I will follow them both. Laughter does a body good. Oh,crud. That’s milk. Lol. Thank you again.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sounds like Bertha taught not just how to love but how to value love, too. Love is wonderful wherever you find it. And we all have wisdom that can support each other, whatever our colors, our place of birth or our culture. But I am not immune to the Southern charm. I lived in North Carolina for three years, and it was a blessing to me. I miss it still. It’s complicated, is what I came to understand.

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  5. I love yours and your mother’s memories Leah! Not love that these things happened of course, but love your outlook. Bertha must have endured a good bit also. It would be far too easy to get lost in so much hate, I am so glad that she was able to stay strong, and give your mother strength as well.

    As for the south, it is beautiful. There are so many good, loving people here. But there are still parts that hold to old, bigoted ideas. The confederate flag is everywhere down here. It’s so common I honestly don’t believe that everyone who flies it understands exactly what it represents (although many do). To the ones who don’t, it is something they have grown up with, attaching their own symbolism to it as being a flag of their geographic region. And in truth it is a flag of the region of the south, but it is not a flag suitable for honoring, it is remnant of a time that has long passed and needs to be put behind us. We need to unite and not divide, and flying a flag that represents a dark time in history does not unite us. Here, they allowed specialty confederate license plates. Recently they have been recalled, and the state is having trouble getting people to turn them in for more appropriate license plates. Reasons for not turning them in range from just straight bigotry to honoring ancestor’s who died fighting
    for the south. It will take some time for people to understand and accept. But a better way to honor your ancestors is by fighting hate, and not stirring it up.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my story! You are very welcome. I look forwad to immersing myself in your page! Now that I have started taking my life back, I will actually have time to read ALL the wonderful stories I am finding here. I have seen posts in which people are finding the couage to tell the world who they really are. It took everything in me to hit the “publish” button. In the end, I found the courage to publish it because if my words can help even just one person who has given their power away and wants it back but don’t know how to break the chains that bind.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to read this and comment. It means so much to me.

      Hugs,

      Leah

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Leah, this is Amy from lexitheschnauzer blog. Not quite sure how you found us, but I am glad you did, since it led me to your blog. You are a courageous woman, no longer a victim. I feel certain you are going to succeed in your new path and the best years of your life are ahead of you. Oh, and on the southern thing: I moved to TN from PA when I was in my late 20’s, to a small town. Everyone was so friendly to my face, but my back was covered with bites, if you know what I mean. And no one would hire me. I have now lived in Chattanooga and the surrounding area since 1984 and I love it here – the geography AND the people. Yep, would never move back North.

    I look forward to following your progress and wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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