It’s in the Nachos

bbq tofu nachos
Originally uploaded by p2son.

Northerns in the U.S.A. routinely slander the South, believing that Southerners are backwards, dull and bigoted. Actually those characteristics transcend geographical boundries.

Having spent a weekend in Memphis with members of the Queer Action Coaltion, as part of the protest of Love in Action’s capture of queer teens like blogger Zach, I feel hope for America.

Over vegan, BBQ tofu nachos, I met with fellow bloggers E.J. Friedman and Abby, and other progressive minded folks in Memphis.

We discussed inequality of all kinds and oppression of trans individuals, people of color, women and those with disabilities. Bright, creative, passionate, Morgan, Jenessa, Cale, Suzie, and the many others I met, grasp a broad picture of the kind of change that needs to happen in the US in order to make this a safe and fair place for all.

Whenever I mention to folks back home in Connecticut that I’m heading South for a show, they react wide-eyed, Are you scared?
I respond, “Do you mean, ‘Will I find a soy latte?’ kind of scared?”

They assume that I will get physically assaulted once I head down to the Delta.

It’s not like that. Progressive minded people exist everywhere, especially in the South. Religious intolerance and racism exist all over including in the North. Just visit Exodus’ site to find an “ex-gay” ministry in a state near you. They lie littered all over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Yes, Memphis is home to the now notorious Love in Action “ex-gay” program. But it has so much more going for it. Here you will find the MeDia Co-op, Holy Trinity Community Church,, and of course, RP Tracks with their AMAZING vegan BBQ tofu nachos!

This post has 8 Comments

  1. abbyladybug on June 27, 2005 at 9:17 pm

    Yay! This post warms my cockles. I went to Oberlin College, which, although it is in the Midwest, is FILLED with New Yorkers. It was the first time in my life that I wished I had a stronger Southern accent. I wanted them to expand their idea of what’s in the South. Yes, there’s bad stuff, but I’ve seem just as much of that in Indiana, California, London, etc. It’s all over the world: good and bad. Glad you brought your good down to see us. We are very lucky.

    I want to write a proper post about your performance. I enjoyed it so much. It’s just that this Tom Cruise person keeps sidetracking me with his silly proclamations!

    Be well. 😀

  2. Angel on June 28, 2005 at 12:38 am

    We surely enjoyed the show on Friday night. Keep on doing what you’re doing. A big message that needs to get out is that you can be gay and Christian too. So many kids (even adults) get the message they can’t be both, and decide they are irredeemable.

  3. Contemplative Activist on June 28, 2005 at 9:44 am

    Oh my, those nachos look yummy….Mmmmmmmmm

    We have such stereotypes of places. My friend wanted to come and visit me in Belfast a few summers ago, she was about 21 at the time. Her parents wouldn’t let her!

    Another of my friends did manage to come and visit but only after this coversation:

    Friend: Mum, I’m going to visit Northern Ireland
    Mum: No way!
    Friend: Why not?
    Mum: Haven’t you heard what its like over there
    Friend: Yes, and…
    Mum: You’re not going
    Friend: Yes I am, you’ve seen CA, does she have any bullet wounds? Any missing limbs? No, and she’s lived there all her life, I’m sure its safe
    Mum: I’m just not comfortable with it


    There are great people everywhere you go, and sometimes when we take the time to get to know people who we presume are ‘biggoted’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘backward’, we might find its just not the case.

  4. jenessa on June 28, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    someone once told me there is bigotry everywhere, and so i watched for hate to be waiting for me behind corners and hiding in shadows.

    and it does.

    like anything else, when its expected, it is mangagable. but when it catches you off guard: not so much.

    it is possible for there to exist just as much anger behind smiling eyes as there can be compassion behind a blank stare.

    and so the world proceeds with varying degrees of distaste disatisfaction discomfort and disagreement from mild to loathing and from covertly tucked within acts and intentions to written all across someone’s face (or their picket sign as the case may be, for better or for worse).

    one of the only guarantees is that what ever is in your own heart, be it love or hate or apathy, by virtue of sharing it with others, even if only occassionally, it will spread.

    and that the best way to share one’s gifts with another is to offer them, not by shoving them down anyones throat, as that may induce spiritual, emotional, and/or physical choking and/or vomiting. all of these are generally held to be unpleasant and their induction is impolite.

    also whether one believes in backwards southerners or southern hospitality and whether one’s generalizations about regions are manifest through refused visits or through systematic opression (think colonialsim: backwards heathens), is all a matter of scale.

  5. Elizabeth on June 28, 2005 at 9:23 pm

    Hi just surfing through your blog, catching up on the Zach story. My best co-worker actually ended up at the rally, but I was behind in my reading and wasn’t even aware of it until later. As a Yankee girl living in the South (currently Memphis), I’ve been exposed to a lot of intolerant attitudes that have in turns baffled, enraged, exasperated, irrtated and eventually just wearied me. Seeing the support flow in from all corners of the nation in response to Zach’s situation has warmed my heart and encouraged me to get back in the
    ring. When you live in an area where most people conform to the same beleifs and have no concept of anything outside of their own brainwashed value system, you tend to get tired of fighting it because you have to fight it all the time. I’m fired up now.
    But I have to ask one burning question:
    Were those BBQ tofu nachos from RP Tracks?
    If not, tell me where else in Memphis DOES have them.
    Love the blog
    See ya!

  6. Peterson Toscano on June 28, 2005 at 10:47 pm

    Yes, Elizabeth, you outed the Nachos, they are from RP Tracks.

  7. Ryan on June 30, 2005 at 5:57 pm

    Right on, dude! Might I add that I’m a raging liberal who loves living in the Northest…but, I’m actally born and raised a SOUTHERN Democrat. Huntington, WV was my town before Falwell swooped in and brainwashed everybody. It kinda sucks because WV really wants to be a blue state – ask anybody – but they love there guns! I just wish Dems would just say “keep your guns, we’ll take the bullets”.

  8. Anonymous on December 17, 2005 at 10:35 pm

    I lived in Memphis for a year and it sucked. I do love the bbq tofu nachos from RP tracks. I grew up in a small town in louisiana and as a fag I can tell you these “stereotypes” of southerners isnt nessecarily that off. After living on the west coast for two years, I find it very stupid of me to have put up with being called a fag, ect. everytime I went anywhere and every single day. It’s cute you think that way… try living anywhere in th south for a year! I bet you would change your tune.(except New Orleans, though you’ll get called names, it isnt as mean spirited, and you’ll be drunk) have fun.

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