By M.P. Cremer
Culture: the customs, arts, social institutions and achievements of a particular nation, people or other social group – remember this definition.
In recent years, culture has been a big topic. Cultural appropriation is a big issue online; respecting one another’s culture is highly preached; and laws are put into place protecting one’s cultural rights, beliefs and practices.
And these issues are things I agree with – we shouldn’t “steal” someone’s culture for our own personal gain, whether it be monetary or in one’s follower count on Instagram. We should respect the cultures which are different than our own; our cultural rights, beliefs and practices should not be taken away from us.
What I find interesting, is the fact so many cultures are protected in our country, yet for some odd reason, it seems agriculturists, cowboys, cattlemen and pretty much any other stereotypical Western person is fighting tooth and nail to gain those respects and protect our rights, beliefs and practices.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Here’s some little white country girl, complaining about people disrespecting her culture and she’s never had to deal with racial injustice, offensive cultural appropriation or truly any sort of inequality – and you’re right.
I, personally, have not had those experiences. I’m grateful I haven’t, and I’m really sorry others have. However, I have had to deal with cultural ignorance and blatant disrespect when it comes to my culture.
I see people get torn apart in Facebook groups for hunting to provide meat for their families. I read, time and time again, various protests, petitions and legislation fighting against certain aspects of Western culture, such as branding calves. I receive a large amount of hate almost every single time I post something online about many of our Western cultural beliefs and practices.
You know what I don’t see? One single complaint, criticism or even backhanded comment about other cultures partaking in traditions such as these.
When I first started out investigating the world of the anti-ags, I thought, ah, they don’t talk about those other cultures because they don’t see photos or videos about their practices.
But I was wrong, they do see it. They just don’t care.
See, in an anti-ag’s mind, it’s perfectly fine for people in parts of Africa, Asia, Europe and/or South America to raise livestock or hunt wildlife to feed their families, but when someone in North America does it, they no longer see these traditions and practices as something which should be protected, they see our culture as “uneducated, greedy, selfish and redneck.”
These claims and attacks on Western culture could not be further from the truth.
Uneducated? Agriculture is built on science and education.
Greedy? The average American farmer or rancher struggles to breakeven most of the time.
Selfish? Agriculturists are on the clock 24/7, 365 days a year, to not only feed their family but everyone else’s as well.
Redneck? Well, maybe sometimes, but the word “redneck” stems from the sunburn farmers and working-class people get on their necks from working in the sun all day – a symbol I see as a reflection of hard work. So yeah, I guess we are rednecks.
And amongst all these admirable attributes I just listed, the most fascinating thing to me about Western culture is it’s not bound to certain religions, races, genders, social statuses or locations. It’s a way of life, just like any other culture, and it deserves to be respected and appreciated.
We, American farmers and ranchers, are proud of our agri-CULTURE – and dang it, we should be.