Why the South Gets a Bad Rap, and Shouldn’t.

Last week I stumbled upon an article about how horrid the south is and how it’s holding back our nation.

The person writing the article states that the south is preventing our nation from becoming like Great Britain, Australia or similar nations/countries. My initial response to that statement is – if you don’t like it here, Delta’s ready when you are. The response immediately after that is – thank the good Lord for the south!!

So, I have done some research and found some interesting information on the differences in the north and the south and why – as you’ll see – the south is just… better. Better than any other region in the country… No, really! :)

I have nothing against the north, midwest, west or any other place – or didn’t until this movement to remove all things “Dixie” from the country. But, that is my only issue with outsiders. It’s funny because 250+ years ago the south thought of the north as crass, rude, ill-mannered and hoity-toity. The north thought the south was ignorant, lazy, violent, bigoted and redneck. Now, all these years later, the south – for the most part – have softened their views of the Yanks. Sadly, the north still views the south the same as they did back then. They seem to believe that it’s still the 1950s in the south.

The land of cotton. Old times there are not forgotten… Historical lyrics in the song “Dixie”. A song that, incidentally, was reportedly Lincoln’s favorite song. Old times here aren’t forgotten. History, heritage, love of country. These are the things that make the south what it is.

Do the people in the north not like their history and heritage or not love the country? No, of course not. I’m sure they do – but it’s differn’t… Just as back in times before the Civil War, southerners are proud of their state. They’re proud to be Georgian, Alabaman, and Virginian almost as much as they’re proud to be American.

But, these days, we’re made to feel guilty for that pride. Pride in our history and love of our state equal hatred, bigotry and racism to those who just don’t get it. They want to change us… But why? The 2000 census reported that the south had a net increase of nearly 2 million new residents, while the liberal northeast had a net population of more than 1 million decrease. If it’s so bad and we should change, wonder why people from all over and moving to the south in record numbers…? Infiltration, I suppose. Psh.

The south outdoes every other region in population and economic growth. Northerners come down to get away from the crazy cold weather and big cities. It’s pretty rare that someone retires and moves to the north… Some come here wanting to change it. Others, like my husband, come here hoping it never changes. Sure, we may jokingly refer as the northerners as ‘yankees’ or even jab at them a bit, but it’s all in fun. We don’t mind the Yankees moving down here, marrying our kin, socializing with us… What we mind is when you go on and on about how you used to do it back home. Or worse, how it should be done here. If it’s so great back home – again, Delta’s ready when you are. We don’t care how you do things up there. Up there ain’t here.

Every other part of the country is on a mission to remove any and all things ‘southern’ from view and memory. Dixie, rebels, honor for the fallen Confederates? No no… Can’t have that. In fact, at Harvard there is a memorial for all their graduates who later died in a war. While it lists all the Union soldiers who died during the War of Northern Aggression, it does not list one single Confederate soldier. Some may defend that, saying that ‘technically’ the Confederates weren’t fighting for the country. I might buy historynature-ss-historynature-carving.ashxthat if the memorial didn’t list some graduates for fought in WW2 – for the Nazis.

The current movement is to remove the Confederate Battleflag from view, simply because some doofuses use it in a way that goes against everything it truly stands for. Even statues, monuments and making it illegal to put the battleflag on graves in memorandum. The most recent attack has been on Stone Mountain because likenesses of Lee, Davis and Jackson are carved in it.

The south gets a bad rap – in many ways.  The north seem to think it’s still pre-civil rights movement era down here. Which, going strictly by liberal media, it’s understandable. But the south isn’t racist or bigoted anymore than any other place. The sheer number of African Americans that are leaving the north and moving south is impressive. A census in 2010, compared with 2000, showed that the percentage of the black alone-or-in-combination population increased in the South, stayed about the same in the West, and decreased in the Northeast and the Midwest. Of all respondents who reported black in 2010, 55 percent lived in the South, 18 percent in the Midwest, 17 percent in the Northeast and 10 percent in the West. There were 317 counties where the black alone-or-in-combination population was 25.0 to 49.9 percent of the population, and only 17 of these counties were not in the South. Of these 17, 15 were in metropolitan areas.

It begs the question, if the south is so “racist” and “bigoted” – wonder why so many minorities, specifically African Americans, are moving south…?

Perhaps it’s because…

Southerners are some of the most friendly in the country. According to Conde Nast Traveler’s 2014 survey of travelers, southern cities took 8 of the 10 most friendliest cities. (The other 2 were in Wyoming and Colorado) The same survey revealed that 8 of the 10 unfriendliest are in the north. (California took the other 2 spots. One of the locations was Miami, which isn’t a southern state, regardless of location geographically speaking.)

Southerners tend to greet one another whether they know each other or not. There’s the whole “hand nod” in some of the less hustle and bustle areas (many drive with their hand draped over the top of the steering wheel, rather than ‘holding’ it, and as they pass someone on the road, they pick up their hand and give you a ‘nod’… This is usually in more rural areas…) and the mere “Hi” or “Hello” to those who walk past you in a mall or are sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office with you.

It took my husband, who is northern by birth – southern by heart, some time to get used to the friendliness down here. He told me once “I couldn’t figure out why so many southern women were attracted to me and flirting with me, until I realized that’s how they are to everyone… They’re not flirting, they’re just friendly!” (Bless his heart…) He has said that it’s not that common up north. Not to say that no one in the north is friendly. They are. I’ve met them! But it’s far less universal. In fact, when we’re up there visiting his family, they sneer at me or crinkle their brow when I randomly speak to them. Or talk to the cashiers in stores when they’re ringing me up.

There are those that say the south, in that way, is ‘fake’ and not really that friendly. What some call “putting on airs”, I call using manners even when you’d rather not… Even then, those that are genuine outnumber those that aren’t – and hey… Being nice or cordial to someone for a short amount of time, even when you don’t want to, is better than being rude. It’s called “manners”.

Southerners are also some of the most generous. According to the Generosity Index, eight of the top ten states that donate the highest amount of their income to charities are all southern states. The states that donate the least?  Yep, you guessed it – all north east states.

When looking at friendliness and generosity alone, perhaps we are ‘backward’ to the north. But we’re ‘backwards’ in all good ways.

In fact, ask Piedmont Airlines about it… Oh, right – you can’t…

In 1987, US Air (based on Pittsburgh) bought Piedmont Airlines (based in Winston-Salem). When it was purchased, the chairman announced “Warm Southern hospitality is going to be replaced with cool Northern efficiency.” That “cool Northern efficiency” ended up in bankruptcy. It’s former passengers quite flying with them because of the change in tone and manner…

We all know that those in the north think we’re backward, gun loving, racists – if they’d take a moment and listen to us when we try to talk, they’d know that’s not really so.

Yeah, we love our guns – but we believe in preparedness and protecting our own at all costs. Again, ‘protection’ is one of those things that gun-control advocates (mostly located in the north) want to place on those in service to the rest of us. Like the cops. We’re happy to have the cops do their jobs here, but we also know that when seconds count, the cops are minutes away. We are the first line in our own protection.

And the north wants to think us racist. Well, there are racists sprinkled among us, but there are those in the north too. In fact, according to a recent study, the most racist state in the country is Rhode Island. Overall, we’re far less racist than the north believe. I’ve run into more than one person whose opinions of the south changed once they moved there. I’ve been told that what is pushed as truth about the south in the north is based on a very small number of incidents and passed off as a majority.

When you look at former slave graveyards, where slaves buried their dead, in the south vs those in the north, you can begin to see a bit of a difference. Slavery in the north was far more cruel, as I mentioned in an earlier post, and proof can be seen in archaeological digs, but there’s more than that. Slave graveyards are still maintained and taken care of in the south. In the north, most have been built over and are, technically, no longer in existence.

The south, pre-Civil rights, was not a good place. Hard times for the black man were to be sure and it’s a horrible stain on the south, but we’ve come a long way since then and it wasn’t solely the south where these issues were. There were riots in all sorts of places – and, even then – there were white people who were good to the blacks. Better than some anyway. My grandparents were two of those such people. They had a wonderful black lady, named Dorothy, that would come to their house once a week to cook, clean, and just help my grandma in any way she needed. She was with them a LONG time – even after my grandmother died, Dorothy would still come and tend to my grandfather (who was legally blind at the time). She was the sweetest lady, had the best smell I’d ever smelled as a kid and made the BEST sweet tea I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. (But don’t tell my mom I said that… I tell her that hers is the best… 😉 )

My grandfather would sometimes throw out the “N” word. It was mostly as he got older and closer to senility. I can only recall it a few times, though it was a few times too many. I’ve yet to prove it, but I think that one of his parents was half black and ‘passed’ as white back in the day. I think that’s why he tossed that word out once in awhile in his old age – it was over compensation. But, I digress… One day he was in the other room, and I was in the kitchen with Dorothy, and he used that word. I knew Dorothy heard it because I did. It kinda made me sick to my stomach and Dorothy saw it in my face. She said “Your Dodie (that’s what I called him) is so silly, ain’t he?” and then went on to tell me how good a man he was. In a situation when she would have had every right to make a scene, she chose to – instead – make me feel better, and ensure my opinion of my grandfather remained good by focusing on all the good ways he treated her.

When he died, and they read the will, he left a significant amount of money to her. She truly was loved by them…

I digress… Where was I…? Oh, right…

The first women’s college was located in the south. Wesleyan College in Macon GA opened its doors in 1836. Women’s colleges in the north didn’t exist for many years after that. And after the War of Northern Aggression, more than 100 black schools and colleges were founded in the south. For most of the 19th and early 20th centuries, black graduates came from schools in the south.

Rock and Roll started in the south. Everyone knows that Elvis was from Tennessee, but all the early rock and rollers came from southern states with the exception of Bill Haley. He and his Comets were from Michigan, but their costumes portrayed them as southern. (Cause they knew where it was at!)

Hollywood originated in the south. Jacksonville Florida was where the first location for Hollywood was. Many early films were filmed there until around 1917. The southerners in and around Jacksonville were fed up with the shutting down of streets and the actors and their lack of manners. Around that same time, a movie was released that had been filmed in California, so Hollywood relocated.

The south, even though it’s made its share of mistakes, is a great place and doesn’t deserve the bad press it gets. One can never trust an article about the south that’s been written by a northerner – and sometimes, not even a southerner (if they’re a liberal). You just have to come and experience it for yourself.

Are we backwards? By the worlds standards? Probably. But along with that comes, mint juleps, front porch swings, sweet iced tea, reminiscing about the good ol’ days and a friendly wave or nod – even if you’re a Yankee.

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Posted in Conservative Response, Faith, Spirituality, Government/Politics, In the Headlines, Just Sayin'

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