A Repository of Genealogical Artifacts, Personal Musings, and Southern Heritage Tidbits



Friday, June 15, 2012

Cultural Impoverishment


Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep … so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. Proverbs 6:10-11.

The loss of Southern culture is a tragic loss. The loss affects more than the outward physical signs and symbols of our heritage as Southern people. It goes much deeper. It gets down into the heart and up into the mind. It changes affections. It changes mindsets. It changes people.

Perhaps the loss is one of those uncontrollable and inevitable things in a changing social complex. Perhaps it is one of the factors that figure into the modern inflated costs of living that affect and manipulate direction in our lives. It is not at all out of line to include the idea that the loss of Southern culture is the foul fruit of a type of cultural genocide inherent in the ongoing ideals of Reconstruction.

It is both a matter of fact and an understatement to say that these are difficult economic and political times. We are all affected by the economic and political climates. Sadly, the honest forecasts for the future do not announce the prospects of coming fair weather where either of these fronts is concerned.

My impression is that the simmering cauldron of these times is seasoned with fear, anger, and frustration. Most that I meet and have to do with are so stretched out trying to keep up with the various and practically overwhelming dollars and cents aspects of the inflated costs of living that pitifully little time, emotion, and energy is left to invest in something as important as Southern heritage and its inherent historical culture.

Poverty? The word is most often thought of as applying to those without enough coppers in their purses to pay their way. The proverb is usually used to condemn the ills of sloth, idleness, and laziness. It certainly applies to this trinity of social ills. It is also being applied these days to a large contingency of good, honest, hard working folks whose hard earned sweat of the brow wages are insufficient to make ends meet with something left over.

Poverty, and the dependency mindset that it generates in those held captive by it, is difficult to overcome.

Poverty is not limited to the money purse. It has broader meaning and application. It is a word that I think rather appropriately describes the loss-condition that has gradually affected Southern culture since the war and the imposition of Reconstruction in the wake of the war.

This loss of cultural identity, I think, is a dire form of poverty.