This song makes me remember a boy I fell in love with the summer it was released. He loved it and blasted it on his car stereo as we roared down gravel roads threading through Iowa corn fields.

Neither of us had ever thought about the implications of “southern culture,” about how romanticizing the Confederacy celebrates slave holding and racism.

And this remains a huge American problem. We tend not to think. We tend to close our eyes instead of examining ourselves and our culture with critical attention.

Mason Dixon Line. I knew what it meant that summer. I knew what it separated. But I had no problems belting out the lyrics along with another white boy who just thought the song was sexy and romantic.

When I hear the song, I can’t help thinking about the glorious summer of new love.

Which makes facing up to racism difficult.

Facing up to our cultural racism is tough for many. But it’s so critical.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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