If southerners resent being thought of as being backwards and uncultured then they have to do something about things like Nancy Smithson’s ROAD KILL COOK-OFF. Yes, I think you heard me correctly. This is an annual cook off where the “main ingredient of each dish must be an animal commonly found dead on the side of the road.” In the state of Virginia where this is held the state legislature even passed a law three years ago allowing motorists to keep anything they “hit” on the highway. Talk about being responsible to your constituents, in the north, people go to federally regulated grocery stores for a meal. In West Virginia, taking a drive along the long and winding roads if the Monongahela National Forest is damn near the same thing to these Hillbillies. They know the meat is fresh, hell, they ran over that “sonavabitch” themselves.
The cook-off began nine years ago because Marlinton, a declining lumber town of 1,100 near the Virginia border, was eager to draw visitors to its scenic highland setting. Marlinton daringly decided to capitalize on the stereotype that rural Southerners - especially mountaineers - are more apt to eat the kind of varmints Granny used to cook on "The Beverly Hillbillies."
Black people have done the same thing in terms of trying to make money off of their own stereotypes regardless of how negative. It might not be smart but it is making them rich. Hell, rappers do it everyday. Hiding behind the bullshit of being “street reporters” they write songs that emphasize and glorify the most immoral, and downright trifling within the culture for one reason and one reason only. That image of themselves sells records. What happens more often then not is eventually you get the paradox of whether or not art imitates life, or life imitates art because so many people start to emulate the stereotype it gets lost as to which came first, or to what degree did that situation exist before it became magnified by the popularity and allure of the image. That is the only reason how I can explain children from otherwise good homes, black and white, living in affluent neighborhoods are walking, talking and acting like they come from broken homes, with no access to education, scraping to survive on the mean streets of some multi-million dollar neighborhood in upstate New York. And apparently, it is bad to act like a stuttering tongue tied slow moving side kick in a movie but it is completely acceptable to portray yourself as a street hood, who doesn’t take care of his children, beats his girlfriend, and sells and traffics large amounts of cocaine because he needs to survive like while he was growing up he never heard of people learning to read and getting a job. Apparently “going platinum” is worth the cost of legitimizing the racialization of poverty, gangs, drug use, violence, capital murder, and obscenity of extreme materialism.
You see we haven’t gotten to the point yet where we can make fun of southerners being backwards because too many people still believe in their hearts that they are. For far too many people it isn’t a stereotype it is the TRUTH. And the same goes for the black community. We are not that far removed from Good times that you can trust that the image that you portray is seen as just being an image and not the image of the black community. Just because black people can tell the difference between Tupac walking past them on the street and some University of Michigan grad student doesn’t mean the rest of the people in this country can. I know until I forget about this story, when I go down south it is strictly can foods for me.