Saturday, February 10, 2018

Pine nut pickers? Sorghum lappers? It's black and white...

"We must bear in mind postmodernism's deep and ambivalent fascination with difference — sexual difference, cultural difference, racial difference, and above all, ethnic difference," - Stuart Hall.

What is it that makes people scared of others that are not the same as them? Why is it that certain people think their culture, or race, is superior to another? Why can't we all just love one another?

Southern Utah might seem like a place where there would not be problems with culture clash between white pioneer settlers in the 1900s. I mean, it was just a bunch settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the occasional passer-by, right? Enter the pine nut pickers and the sorghum lappers. In Iron County, where Cedar City is, it was a tradition when the weather was just right to go out west and pick pine nuts, much like the Native Americans had been doing for centuries. In St. George, in Washington County, one of the largest crops in the early pioneer days was sorghum.

Apparently those in Iron County thought they are better, so they called their southern neighbors sorghum lappers, and vice versa for the pine nut pickers. Now while these sound cute today, the mention of them only fifty years ago could result in a bloody nose. For more information, read the link below.

Southern Utah's version of the Mason/Dixon line: Pine nut pickers versus sorghum lappers


So people from Cedar City thought all people did in the south was eat and drink syrup, and they thought we lived solely off pine nuts. This is the problem we still face today when defining black culture, Asian culture, or anybody that is producing media about any culture that is not the producers own. For, how much can we truly know what it is to be another culture or race? Unless we go "Black Like Me," which is a fantastic read, but also very troubling and sad.


Being from southern Utah I have very limited social engagement with people possessing a different skin color than mine, but I did live in Boulder, Colorado for three years, which is a very diverse city. So it is interesting when Cashmore asks, "is there such a ting as genuine black culture?" Well, the same could be asked of white culture. White culture in Cedar City is very different than in Burdett, Arkansas, where people with thick southern accents told me I sounded funny.

So what do you think, is the culture, any culture, that we see represented in popular culture close to reality?

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