I'm starting to feel like mine is the only American family not under the thrall of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. My 7-year-old said, "Holla for a dolla" the other day, and from the sour look that came over my husband's face, you'd have thought she said, "There is no more bacon left in America."
OK, maybe we aren't the only ones, but we are one of those families that's turned off TLC to save our child from the sad Southern stereotypes that June Shannon and her family buy into. We've turned it off for one simple reason: we are trying to raise a child who is proud of her Southern heritage.
And let's face it: nothing America is seeing from Honey Boo Boo exactly screams "pride," now does it? Not the foul ketchup and butter mixture Mama June serves up as a meal. Not the tween who lacks basic table manners.
That's not the Southern living my husband was raised in. It's not behavior my in-laws, who also happen to live in Georgia, would accept from their child.
This is where Honey Boo Boo has come to do more harm than good for America. The picture of a lazy, stupid Southerner that people like my husband and his parents have tried hard to kick in the rear end has come out on our television screens courtesy of a family of people who make very clear that they just don't care what people think of them. Fine. June Shannon doesn't care that her children will likely never be able to find jobs in a professional setting because they lack basic life skills.
But what about all the parents who do care?
Some will call me a snob, but I do. I DO care. I care what my daughter eats and how my daughter addresses people. And along with all of that, I care about my daughter's heritage. We live in the Northeast, where I was born and raised. But my husband was born in the Deep South (seriously, Southern Mississippi), and aside from his wife and child, all of his "kin" live in the South. My husband and daughter identify with being Southern in much the same way that I identify myself as being German and a New Yorker.
We say y'all without it being ironic in my house. We eat fried chicken (well, my husband and kid do ... I'm the weird Yankee vegetarian). We worship at the altar of the church known as college football (go Hokies!).
The Southern culture is alive and well in our Northern home, and I don't want my daughter to be pigeon-holed because of it, to be made to be ashamed because she shares blood with people who live beneath the Mason Dixon line.
So we avoid Honey Boo Boo in our house. I can only hope others decide to do the same. Kids like my daughter are depending on you.
Be brutally honest with yourself: do you see the Honey Boo Boo family as true representations of Southern culture? Would you want your child associated with it?
Image via TLC