Everyone has those dumb things they think are true that aren't actually true. And I don't mean subjective stuff like if the band Everclear is cool or not (I used to think they were cool when I was 13-17 and I was wrong. ). Or if it is the West's job to spread democracy in the Middle East or not. I mean things that are objectively true. For example, for a long time, my friend Rebecca thought it was possible to drive to Cuba from the United States. That is not true. No matter what your opinion is on the subject.
Rednecks: Not Recognized by the Census Bureau as an Ethnic Group.
When I was a little girl, for some reason I got the idea in my head that the term redneck was a derogatory term for a Native American. I think it might have some sort of conflation involving red skin, which is racist or at the very least racist-lite.
One day, I heard my father refer to one of his employee's husbands as a "huge redneck." I felt so disappointed. I thought, "Oh, no! I guess my dad is a racist!" and I slumped my head in shame. I eventually realized that redneck refers to white people (mostly) and it is okay to make fun of white people because they already are in charge of everything and therefore, are uncool by nature. Now I feel sort of uncomfortable using the term redneck because it seems classist. I am old and fancy enough to feel white guilt about white people. We might actually live post-racial America after all.
Apples and Oranges: One Fruit Is Superior to the Other
I have a really hard time with idioms despite being a native English speaker. I am very literal, which is a problem when dealing with culturally based phrases. I don't know why Marie Antoinette would want people to eat cake (or brioche or whatever). Kettles aren't black anymore and neither are most pots. And if you are rich enough to live in a glass house, you probably have good insurance, so go ahead and throw those rocks.
The one that was the worst for me was "It's like comparing apples to oranges." I literally had no idea what it even meant for years. My problem was that I just prefer oranges to apples. I could not imagine a universe where they'd be considered equal in value, yet incomparable. Given the choice between an apple and orange, I'll always choose the orange. Oranges are just better!
The Most Embarrassing: Lil' Kim.
Sigh. This went on until about a year ago and one of the most embarrassing things about me. Stupid Kim-Jong-il causes so many problems. Not just for his fellow country people and his southern neighbors, but for me. For years and years, I would hear about Kim Jong-il on TV and the radio, but I would always read about a very similar man named Kim Jong, the second. Orthography failed me. I was reading, Kim-Jong, the second because Il in too many typefaces looks like II. It also didn't help, that his dad or son or whatever (I really need to read the newspaper more often) is called Kim-Jong Un. In the rock tumbler that is my head, it just reinforced my idea that Kim-Jong was indeed the second Kim-Jong because "Un" has to be the first. Yes, I have a degree in linguistics and yes, for some reason, I thought that Korea would use an Romantic numeral to mark father and son. I feel so ashamed for me.