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What is your opinion of the South?
February 19, 2008
9:12 am
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I grew up in the south and have seen many changes. The other day on a blog site I go to there was a discussion of Interacial Marriage. One poster took it as an opportunity to completely pound on the south. I tried to defend my region of the country and she started personally attacking me, telling me I didn't know what I was talking about. She had travelled extensively through the south and it made her cry to see the big houses in Charleston and the slave quarters next to it. Basically she said we were still stuck in the past and still were segregated and suppressed our black brothers and sisters. Then she started talking about the Confederate Battle flag and likened it to a Swastika. She also said we still celebrated Confederate Memorial Day which when I thought back I hadn't really heard of since fourth grade.
When I was growing up I felt inferior because I was from the south. Whenever there was a southerner on a tv show they had an exagerated accent and was usually a backstabbing tramp. Her personal attack on me brought so many of these feeling back to the surface. I had to leave the south to truly appreciate it.
My question is this, how do the rest of you think of us? From my travels I have found people to be open-minded, predujiced, backward, forward thinking, etc in ALL areas of the country.
I am just trying to understand why we are still regarded with such contempt. Thanks. I know this really doesn't have much to do with emotional growth except for me. Her attack made me feel inferior.

Bitsy

February 19, 2008
9:39 am
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soofoo
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I have found that US Southerners tend to be more polite than Northerners. I appreciate Southern hospitality.

That having been said, if I were black, I would be very nervous about traveling in the South. I don't know if this fear would be justified or not. It might be from what I've read and seen in the media, and it might not be accurate.

I think that the stereotype of the ignorant, drunken, dirty, stupid, inbred southerner is cruel and inaccurate and that the media ought to stop perpetuating that nonsense.

I think it probably started as a weapon against segregation and racism. A way to stand up to a giant power. But eventually it becomes an abuse of its own. And people join in just because they want someone to kick around. The oppressor becomes the oppressed and the whole thing starts over again.

I guess that's the dark side of human nature.

I hope this was supportive. Love to you.

February 19, 2008
10:15 am
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Celtic1
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Bitsy,

Any sterotyping offends me!

I think the person who attacked you needs to take a look at him/herself.

If I were you I wouldn't give that person a second thought. Obviously it is narrowed minded and out of touch.

Celtic

February 19, 2008
10:28 am
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sdesigns
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Hi Bitsy: I haven't been to the south since I was in high school. My parents took us out of school and we took a 6 week vacation thru the U.S. to visit historical sites.

The South made a huge impression on me, some good, some bad. I am from southern California so it was all so different.

I remember driving into towns where they still had negro Elks Clubs, etc. Things were still actually defined that way. Entering new towns were mostly thru the poor black sections first. Of course my father liked to take back roads and I remember driving thru tobacco growing areas that had large black families sitting on the porch of their old wood homes complete with a lazy dog. It was like being in a time warp.

We also visited a lot of antebellum homes, including the one where Gone With the Wind was filmed. I remember the scenery being absolutely beautiful. But the slave shacks were present and that really made me think. The sites of the Civil war battlefields were beautiful- so lush and green.

Being young I don't really rememeber how the people were. I guess I didn't interact with them much because I was with my parents. We only had one black student at my high school so seeing that many black people was different for me too.

I remember going into a cafe and seeing a black girl about the same age as me wearing the very same outfit I had on. We both sort of just looked at each for awhile, I didn't know what to think. Guess we both shopped at Kmart.

I am sure it is different there now, more built up and progressive. It is an area where the history has some ugly sides.

But that certainly doesn't mean that anyone coming from the area is any different than anyone else.

Hey, coming from So Cal ain't no picnic either sometimes. There are a lot of generalities made about us too! Doesn't mean they are true.

SD

February 19, 2008
10:56 am
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red blonde
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I don't know what to say, actually. I am a northerner who now resides in the south...I have lived in the south once before. I have found prejudices every where that I have lived and I traveled. And I once traveled around the country for almost 18 months in an RV staying here and there for a couple of weeks or months. The only place I didn't travel was the upper New England states. I think there are just a hell of a lot of N's out there...people who are not happy with where they live, with what they are doing, or within themselves and take it out on anything and anyone to make themselves look and feel better.

I am currently living in the 'Grand Strand' area.

I have always found the people of the South to be ALOT more friendlier than the people I grew up with and in my travels.

February 19, 2008
11:28 am
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truthBtold
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I remember one time Quincy Jones saying of all of his world travels that people are people.

You run into cheap people, generous people, mean people, kind people all over the world.

But - I will say since living in the south (Atlanta) for 20 something years (grew up in Miami) that the diet here is not healthy at all!

Fried chicken, gravy and biscuits, fried okra, fried tomatos, country-fried steak, country fried chicken with white gravy...dee-lish - but not healthy at all....just take a look at one of Paula Dean's show on the Food Network and you can see for yourself 😉

February 19, 2008
12:01 pm
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Hi Bitsy
My daughter works for Teach for America in Helena, Arkansas, on the Delta. She loves the South. I visited her last year and was very drawn to the Blues, the food, the cotton fields and the people. We have poverty here in Pa also, the houses are just styled differently. We went to several towns, and noted the Black main street and the White main street - things like that. It wasn't critical or prejudiced in a negative way - just an observation that that was how it is there. I am looking forward to visiting her again in March, and she says when her contract with Teach for America is up she plans to stay and work for the same school district.
My son lives in North Carolina (Rocky Mount) - moved last year from Atlanta. He loved Atlanta and is trying to get transferred back there. I went there also - we went to Margaret Mitchell's (Gone With the Wind) house - enjoyed it also.
The only thing I don't care for in the south is the humidity - other than that I love it and its people.

February 19, 2008
12:38 pm
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fantas
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Bitsy,

I think this person you dealt with was unfair to judge you that way. Their reaction is more about their attitude than yours.

I have been to the south as a person of color. I also lived in the North Western part of US (washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon). In general, people in the South were more hospitable, kind,and generous in the South than in the North. There are more signs of racial segregation in the South than up North.

In both places, I have found that a person of color has to be very careful which places they frequent outside of the big cities. There are stores, restaurants,and other places of business where a person of color gets very poor service and some you get none at all. Dealing with the police as a person of color in all of America is an extremely anxiety provoking issue.

I think the South will for a good part of this century deal with the results and effects of slavery. Hopefully people will all unite one day and not allow something as insignificant as skin pigmentation determine our social relationships.

February 19, 2008
4:30 pm
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Thank you all for your responses. I hope I have never jumped to conclusions about people just based on skin color.

Bitsy

February 19, 2008
5:27 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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I agree with celtic.
Stereotyping is wrong. I have lived in the South most of my life. with a few years in NJ and other places. People are people. skin color doesn't matter.
the only difference I have seen is that southern people tend to use Ma'am and sir a lot more.

February 19, 2008
5:39 pm
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bonni
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I love the South. Stereotypes, not so much. I love grits and fried chicken, though not together. I love our drawl and pace, but not all the time. I love the architecture and weather and trees.

I have traveled a modest amount and have found something to love about every region I have visited. The south is my home though.

bonni

February 19, 2008
6:54 pm
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truthBtold
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Personally - I have had a helluva time myself trying to disprove this whole stereo-type mentality of "white trailer-trash" since I have lived in a mobile home park for most of my adult life.

Twenty something plus years now.

I consider myself anything BUT white trailer-trash.......yet the stereo-types (and thoughtless jokes)continue.

Just how many "white-trailer-trash" folks you know of can not only quote Einstein and understand the whole E=mc2 time-space-relative theory and/or the various musings and emotional depth of Shakespeare?????

Not many - I assure you.

Still - what I've got is bought and paid for!

Grant it - times were really much better some 10-15 years ago.

You remember those times....hell, back in "the day" as I have now come to refer to it has been given a back-seat when there was a time where my vocation commanded a decent wage and company car etc, etc has NOW been relagated to a job that won't even pay me NOT EVEN the same wage...matter of fact as back then - but has the audacity to offer me a position of making 2 dollars LESS per hour than when I even started out in this field 20 years ago!!!!!

Ross Perot was the only one back then whom had enough BALLS to say that NAFTA - point blank - would not be for this country.

(And don't forget that it was good ole Bill Clinton that signed this whole NAFTA mess to begin with!!!!)

And what was it I heard on the news just the other day....that GM had this wide-spread sweep to finally want to ditch all of these "over-paid" workers in a plan that consisted of workers that are now willing to do (eventually) the same jobs at HALF the rate without benefits!!!!!!!

Wanna talk about 3rd world country politics? Don't have to look far because those same tactics are now being employed in THIS country every fricking day!!!!!!

I am almost to the point of becoming an ex-pat of this fricking greedy-ass country and moving my american buns elsewhere!!!!!!!

No longer can I "Pledge Allegience To The Flag" because the American Flag - to me - has pretty much cashed in its ancient jewels for just a night out on the town!!!!!!!

Bottom fricking line!!!!!!!!

I am almost ashamed to be called an American what with the current "leaders" at the helm these last 20 plus years or so!!!!!!!

And George Bush is just an absolute JOKE!!!!!!!!!

Some bull-headed neo-christian that thinks that "evil-doers" are anything but a step away from his own fricking mirror!!!!!!!

This country is FUCKED!!!!!!!!

I am almost ashamed anymore to say that I am an American.

Greedy-ass bull-shit.

And you wanna know somethin' else what? It's NOT just Bush....it's the you sons-of-a-bitches-mindless-americans that make shows such as "The Apprentice" propel itself into a 6th season....just salivating for that one moment of public humilitation from somebody when this son-of-a-bitch finally says...."You're FIRED."

What a fucking crock???????

Is THIS what this country stands for?

You know - it's interesting. I was just watching this whole PBS special about the origins of particular genres of TV and this whole "game show" "talk show" fiasco - and you know what I discovered?

Back then....in the mid to late 1950's - a guy named Authur Godfrey (whom had a very popular hit show)LIVE on TV....he actually did the misfortune of firing someone LIVE and the TV audience and the country back then as a whole went absolutely bisserk!

"They" could not understand why someone would want to humiliate someone on TV like that and his ratings eventually plummented to the point where he could no longer cast a show.

Contrast THAT to this Donald Trump crap of actually wanting to watch someone "being fired" and you'll catch my drift on just how deep we have allowed ourselves to sink in terms of what makes or breaks TV ratings....and our own moral compass.

Shameful!!!!!!!

What a bunch of mindless cattle!!!!!!

We get what we deserve if this is what we obviously hold sacred.

Damn fricking shame is all!!!!!!!

Have we no critical thinking to the ACCUMULATING advertisements that are forever lunged down our throats each and every day.....maybe every 15 seconds without question????

Billboards....TV.....Radio....

Evidently....NOT!!!!!!!

We get what we deserve as a nation when we choose to bury our heads in the sand!!!!!!!

What a sad state of affairs.

"Distraction" can just take us so far. After that....it's REPO man or EVICTITION CREW that we have to eventually face...and who is to blame when the bullet hits the bone?

Take a good fucking look in the mirror and you'll find the answer, my disillusioned friend!!!!!!

You have had valid hints and probable protocol all along.....YOU just chose to ignore them.

Bottom fricking-fracking line!!!!!!!

February 19, 2008
7:13 pm
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thewall
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wow. I feel like someone just blasted this thread.

Anyway, all I was gonna say was I love the south and have chosen to celebrate my 20th anniv in Savannah in April. I love the food, I love the laid back atmosphere, I love the friendliness. I love the beauty. I Love it!!!

February 19, 2008
7:20 pm
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truthBtold
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thewall,

Yeah - I admit. I got a litle carried away.

Savannah IS one of the few places that I have visited in the south where "inter-mixed" couples are never given a second look.

Quite rare, actually.

But nonetheless - extremely refreshing!!!!!!

February 19, 2008
8:23 pm
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bonni
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TBT,
not really sure how all that relates to the South. did you mean to post to the lib threads?

I myself am white and grew up in trailers and am proud to call myself white trailer trash. I rarely quote shakespeare, though I've been caught reading it for fun. I have to admit I prefer the earthier Ben Jonson. I am familiar with Einstein's theory. So, I must be among the few you mention. what's wrong with being white trailer trash? If I had to choose between wealth and intelligence, I'd choose intelligence every time.

bonni

February 19, 2008
9:10 pm
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thewall
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Trash is such a degrading word. I would never use it to describe anyone. I would hope no one would be comfortable using it when describing themselves.

White, ok, living in a trailor, ok, but just bc you live in a trailor doesnt make you trash.

February 19, 2008
9:30 pm
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unforgiven1
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Take a good fucking look in the mirror and you'll find the answer, my disillusioned friend!!!!!!

I think YOU need to take a look in the mirror, dude, dudette, or whatever/whoever you are.

I'm still in the game, and the last time I looked, it wasn't over.

February 19, 2008
9:51 pm
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red blonde
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I agree with with thewall!

February 19, 2008
10:03 pm
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chelonia mydas
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Hi Bitsy,

I didn't have time to read all the posts here, but thought I would add my $.02 as someone who has lived on both US coasts, Hawaii, the midwest, the mountain states, the south and on both the Mexico/US and Canada/US boarders there are great folks and buttholes everywhere. There is a higer rate of prejudice in any location that lacks opportunity for integration and open experiences.

I did find my time in rural South Carolina, rural Montana, rural Washington, rural Kansas, and rural East Texas to be some of the places that were less tolerant of anyone with differences (race, religion, sexual orientation, vegetarian etc). While the big cities still had intolerance, there were just more people so you could better choose your group of friends. Also in the rural areas people frequently were concerned about your life for lack of better things to do.

I find that the pace of life on the Mexico border, in the deep South and in Hawaii is a bit slower. I think it has more to do with climate than culture. Anyone who has experienced this kind of oppressive humid kind of hot would appreciate the physical need to go slower (and imagine what it must have been like when there wasn't AC). I also think that back when people relied on farming, up north the growing seasons are so much shorter that you HAD to move quick and put in long days or you wouldn't have food to get through the winter... so over time those in norther climates adjusted to a quicker pace and those in southern climates adjusted to a slower pace. It has nothing to do with race or where you are born.

I say, be proud of who you are, be proud of where you are from. There is wonder and glory in all places just as there are negative aspects too. It is up to us as individuals which side we choose to focus our energy on.

I think the sterotypes of the racial issues of the south stem from the civil war. Many folks are still carrying ideas passed to them from their parents, grandparents, great grandparents on through the generations and some of these people influence the media. This is where we get tv shows and movies that depict the south in these sterotypical ways. Unless we as a society evaluate these ideas, and decide to make the effort to base our thoughts on actual events and experiences, we will continue these false sterotypes.

OK- I'm done 🙂

February 19, 2008
10:13 pm
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bonni
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"trash" in this context denotes that which has been thrown away from general society. I can pretend all day to be part of the mainstream, but the fact is that I am part of the lower middle class, which is, in fact, thrown away from general society. Whatever its connotation to you, the word is apt.

I am a part of society that is marginalized and tossed aside. We don't have enough significant economic power to impact decision making at a level that benefits us, unlike the upper middle class and ultra wealthy who hold a disproportionate share of economic and political power.

I may be well educated now and I may make a reasonable income, but at my core, I will always be part of the segment of society that is thrown away. Trash is the word for that which is thrown away. It is not a curse word or vulgar, like the f-word. It is the truth, however ugly you think it is, like my teeth before I saved up to have them fixed. Pretending they weren't pretty didn't make them pretty. Facing the fact and accepting it and taking action changed the teeth, but none of that will take away the scars of enduring adolescence with hideous teeth, other people's ill fitting clothes (my boy cousins) and the other things that go along with being poor. I don't want to erase my scars, they are part of who I am.

bonni

February 19, 2008
10:20 pm
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MsGuided
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go slower...i like that!

The south moves slower because of climate and they relax.

We all should relax more.
...and yea I agree with Chelonia about racial acceptance and intelligence being linked to opportunities and lack thereof, and the passing of traditional values onto the young.
Our leaders need to pay attention to rural industry ( farm based, and small manufacturing ) and not just inject the best support into specific parts of the cities.
Money needs to be injected into the poor areas to create a more positive environment for business and community.

February 19, 2008
11:06 pm
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marypoppins
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I've been in Texas for over 17 years, but I don't consider myself a southerner. I consider myself a world citizen. I've lived abroad, in Europe and in Asia, and I've been teaching international students for nearly 20 years. There is more that unites us than divides us, and it's a waste of time to focus on the negative. I try to be grateful for what I have and for what I've learned. Living in another country and learning another language, being a guest in another country, is an experience that changes you forever. Those who hold on to prejudices and are quick to judge one another are either ignorant or afraid or both. I just hope I have the opportunity to explore more of the world before I die.

Mary

February 19, 2008
11:46 pm
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James Bond
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Though born and raised in the Northeast of the U.S. I've been through the South and had no problem with it at all. In fact, I think the South is the most interesting part of the Country because it's the only part that knows occupation, as it did in the Civil War.
I also think that Political Correctness aside no other demographic has been more put upon that poor Whites, in the US in general and the South in particular.
The only thing I don't agree about your post is your concern that it has nothing to do with emotional growth. You better believe it does. The ones attacking the South know it does, that's why they attack it.
I think they are pious and foolish. There's certainly nothing in the behavior of those to the North that I've seen that impresses me on a moral or intellectual level. Morally they are self-righteous and Intellectually they are pretentious, even shallow.
Personally I am from a large family, very poor, and feel NO guilt about Slavery or the Holocaust at all. None.
And this is why Political Correctness is so viscious and destructive. In my view, not one White person, but especially those struggling against Abuse and Neglect and Codepedency and all the rest, who already have their plates full, should waste ONE minute of their life buying into this whole Orthodoxy of Guilt.
Name ONE Civilization that was built on a foundation of Defensiveness and Guilt? One.
I believe that everyone, North or South, in the US, who is brave enough to face their demons and overcome the devastating effects of a troubled background, should focus on their recovery and practice those principles in all their affairs. That's it. That means they should be able to say, in the words of John Bradshaw, "I am NOT responsible for the suffering of this world. I have a right to my own life."
This is what Political Correctness wants to prevent, even destroy, ie; the notion that we are not responsible for the suffering of this world and have a right to our own lives.
It is heartbreaking, and maddening, and infuriating to see so many people cower, bow, and scrape, to the Thought-Police and their bogus arguments based entirely on false-guilt. They are like the people in recovery who suffer from False Memory Syndrome.
But more important. All people in the Recovery movements, all of them, say, with reason, that their work, and ours, can ONLY work in a Democracy. Or "Deep Democracy" as they say. And this means that everyone in Recovery from Abuse, Neglect, Addiction, Codependency, etc has to face the fact that Deep Democracy and Political Correctness are incompatible. They can NOT be reconciled with each other. Today we live in a Politically Correct Multi-Culti Police State that is NOT bringing us together, it is tearing us apart. It creates a system of Sacred Cows and Scapegoats and the South, and Southerners, and Whites and Poor Whites are the Scapegoats. I did not come this far to back down from them. I have a right to my own life and so do you Bitsy.
I am not a Christian, but there is NO coincidence, in terms of History, that Democracy came out of Christianity and that the Recovery movements from AA to ACOA to Family Systems Psychology, came out of a Democracy. We're not even allowed to acknowledge this, let alone be proud of it. How healthy is that?
In short, Political Correctness is the enemy of Deep Democracy. There is NO "easy, softer way" to put it.
So don't waste one more second feeling bad, guilty or inferior Bitsy. You, and each of us here, and even the sick and suffering people deluded by a sense of entitlement owing to past suffering or their Codependent enablers, are unique and unrepeatable.
Life is short and you only get one. Let's not waste it. My recovery is precious to me, it allows me to love myself and love others as well. Do you think I am going to give it to some hostile PC conformist with a chip on their shoulder because their ancestors suffered you're crazy. What do you think they are going to do with it? Well, we already know the answer to that question. And so do you Bitsy.
No, your post was great and had everything to do with emotional growth. I for one am glad you posted. All the best.

February 20, 2008
12:36 am
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Hey Bitsy

I've moved around in a little in my life and lived in the Midwest, South, West. I came back here.

I've never lived in the North, but I know people from there, and I think they have preconceptions about ethnicity and raceand geography just like Southerners do. It's inevitable. For instance, I think Yankees are rude, because they don't say sir and ma'am. When I lived in Phoenix, I was astonished at the ignorance about the South.

Did I wear shoes to school? Was school in a one-room schoolhouse? Did my daddy have to go out and kill dinner? Did we have indoor plumbing? Mercifulgod, I wasn't Laura Ingalls Wilder!!

I like it here because the people are friendlier and more hospitable than the other places I have lived. They are gracious. When they say,"y'all come to dinner sometime" they mean it. They're in less of a hurry. I like it here because there is a strong sense of community and family in these towns and folks take care of each other. The spaces are more wide open and the quiet is really really quiet.

Yeah, it's kinda backwards - 50 years behind the times, but so what? We got cell phones and computers!! We do our horse tradin on ebay and close the deals on our cell phones. If that means that people still wave from their trucks when they pass you on the road, is that so bad? If that means folks still garden and put up their produce, is that so bad? If that means that men still hold doors for ladies and help them put their groceries in the car, then all the bettter, IMO. It means that when there is bad weather, neighbors brave it to come check on you and make sure you have power and food. It means if I have car trouble, I know I can ask one of my neighbors for a ride, and I will get it.

I'm proud of being Southern. I'm proud of my Native ancestry and I'm proud of my white ancestry. My people survived under crushing reconstruction under an oppressive government after the Civil War. Nothing could take them down! Not loss of livelihood, personal freedoms, nothing. They were stubborn and they survived. We grow our own teachers, doctors, lawyers- all sorts down here.

Racism? Yes, there are still residual attitudes, but they are fading away.

And-you can't beat the biscuits and gravy!!

February 20, 2008
12:47 am
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bevdee
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James Bond-

Great post. You simply must meet Ladeska.

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