The East Armuchee farm where I grew up, 1996
Bales of hay in the bottom field of Earl Jordan’s farm, East Armuchee Valley, Walker County, Georgia, 1996

Growing up in the rural south, people never ask, “Where are you from?” (unless you have an unfamiliar accent that automatically marks you as an outsider). It’s assumed that you are American and, more precisely, Southern. There’s no ethnic or national identity beyond that.

But living all my adult life in New York City–a virtual stew of world culture–people always ask you, “Where are you from?”

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