Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Southern Prospective - Soapbox Time

This article was originally published on June 7, 2012 on my old blog

Recently, I've been engaged in conversations about the "north & south".  I'm not talking about the Civil War either! I don't like this subject, but will politely answer & comment. starts off politely anyway.  What makes these conversations intense is usually the opinions that are thrown into the mix. Very few people can carry on a conversation on the subject of differences of northern and southern people and produce only facts.

I'm from Tennessee - born & bred. I (like other people) am proud to be from the south. I would never say the south is the best, the end all-be all, or even the most preferred place to live, but it's home. I love it here, even though I can't breathe through my nose for the mass amounts of pollen and my car is constantly covered in a yellow film. Even though we have high taxes and very few people who correctly pronounce most of the English language. I still love it!!

East TN has become a melting pot of people from all over. Many folks from the western and northern states have moved here as well as people from other countries.  I'd venture to guess that the population is half native and half  "visitors". Many native folks here have never been too far from home and are not able to travel or are afraid to leave these mountains. I personally haven't traveled much, but I've been out of the state a few times. I've been very blessed to have met, worked with, and made friends a great deal of folks from all over the world while right here in Knoxville.

So, back to the "north & south" conversations...I commonly hear that:
  • Southern people are backwards.           Hmm, I try to visualize this so I don't take offense.
I can honestly reply that I've never seen a southerner with their head screwed on backwards. They usually walk in a forward moving motion and many have not only been successful in life, but have led this country as presidents, congressmen, and senators. (Okay, you may think I'm being too literal here, but really, I'm being persnickety.
  • Southern people are close minded.        Really? ...all southerners?? I am open to discovering why we are close minded. My rebuttal is that there are closed minded people everywhere, not just in the south. Some people here are incorrectly labeled as close minded because they are hesitant to repeat mistakes. What just happened there? Did I just present an open mind?
  • Southern people speak funny.           People from all over the world speak with different dialects and there are places where you will hear a very think southern drawl. Southern drawls vary also. The southern drawl of a Texan will vary from a Tennessean, just as a Georgia draw will vary from a Carolina draw.  Don't 'at make us special?
  • Southern people are uneducated.         This may be true with a passing generation of miners, farmers, and people that physically worked their fingers to the bone from youth through adulthood many years past, but school is not an option in the South. Somehow, we have several of the best schools in the country according to the president of the US. Besides, if we are so uneducated, why did you move your whole family here? You must be a bad parent if you truly thought that and enrolled your children in our schools!!
  • Southern people are racist/prejudice.        There are racist people everywhere, not just in the south. Not everyone in the south is a racist.  I'm not!! Racism is not just white against black or black against white. People are prejudice in all forms everywhere on this planet! People that claim to be above reproach on the subject, accepting all people are prejudice in some form. Okay...I'll admit...I have one prejudice: People from Ohio driving their RV through TN, changing lanes on the main Interstates right on top of other drivers, without looking or signally burn me up! But that's pretty much it :-) I don't dislike people from Ohio and actually have Ohio on my bucket list. One day, I'm going there with MY RV and I dare any of them to say anything or blow their horns, hee hee...not!
Rich against Poor
Sinners against Saints
Poor against Rich
Saints against Sinners
Baptist against Methodist 
Methodist against Baptist
Women against Men
Men against Women
Believer against Believer
Geeks against Goth
Skaters against Nerds
White against Mexicans
Mexicans against Whites
Black against Whites
White against Black
 Republican against Democrats
Democrats against Republicans
Non Alcoholics against Alcoholics
Drug addicts against the World
Lower Management against Upper Management
Upper Management against Lower Management
Customer Service against the Customers
Customers against the Stock Clerks
People against Mosquitoes - They just want to suck your blood :-(
Northern drivers against Southern Roadways
Southern drivers against more than 5 lanes of traffic

There are so many prejudices that they cannot all be listed. People harbor prejudices against one another for countless reasons and because a prejudice is chalked up to "opinion" it's acceptable in some circles to have those opinions. That doesn't make it right though. Let's move on now.
  • People from the South are Hillbillies.       Well, we do live in the mountains and hills. I don't care anymore, call us hillbilly if it makes your life better :-)
  • Southerners are stubborn.        Isn't that true everywhere you go? Surely this does not only apply to southerners.
  • People in the South walk around shirtless and barefoot.         Try to walk on asphalt barefoot and tell me how your feet feel. Kind of hot huh? Now, take off your shoes and walk on grass. Nice and cool huh? If you don't leave your yard, why do you need shoes? Men do work with their shirts off, but don't men in warmer climates do this? I saw people at the beach that were barefoot and shirtless. I even saw women that were topless and barefoot!  A person must wear shirt and shoes when in public though :-)
  • Southern men spit.        Northern men do too!
  • Southern women need to be rescued.          Really? You've watched waaaay too many daytime talk shows. There are women everywhere that dream of  being "rescued in life", not just in the South. There are also a great deal of women everywhere, not just in the south, that are hard-working and  independent, raising their family! They wouldn't dream of being rescued. I wasn't and am not looking to be rescued!!
  • Southern people are rude.          This one blows me away, seriously.  Why do people come from all over to be in the heart of our "southern hospitality" if we are so rude? Why did people in the northern and western states label us with "southern hospitality"? Why did they start saying that?  Who coined that phrase? IT WAS A NORTHERNER!
  • Southern women lie.         I'm pretty sure women and men every where lie. Not all women lie. I am sorry that you have that opinion. It's sad.
  • Southern men don't take responsibility for their children, stick around to raise them, or pay child support.              I searched on-line and discovered the 9 states that have the largest percentages of deadbeat dads with the largest arrears are: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Out of these 9 states, only 1 of these is a southern state. Click here for the case study analysis.
There are more statements about southern people I have heard lately.  I've not spoken to just one westerner or northerner.  Sadly, I have spoken to many. I don't bring the subject up, but somehow, it always ends up being brought into a conversation.

My thoughts are: People will always judge others by their own standards. If their opinions are that low of others, their opinions of themselves must be pretty low also.  It's sad :-(

No matter where you are from, have you had a short positive or negative experience you can share about people from the northern, western, or southern states? Personally, I have had wonderful experiences in every state I've ventured into :-) People have great hearts everywhere I've been and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people :-)

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