Southern Prospective – soap box time!

Recently, I’ve been engaged in conversations about the “north & south”.  I don’t like this subject, but will politely answer & comment. Well…it 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 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 travelled 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.

  • 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 draw. Southern draws vary also. The southern draw 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. But 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.
  • 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 north and western states label us with “southern hospitality?” Why did they start saying that?  Who coined that phrase? 
  • 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 2 of those are southern states. 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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  1. I enjoy you because of your entire efforts on this blog. My mum enjoys getting into internet research and it is obvious why. A number of us notice all regarding the dynamic ways you convey simple tips and hints via this web blog and even boost contribution from other individuals on that theme while our favorite simple princess is actually being taught a great deal. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. You’re the one doing a great job.

  2. Thank you for your wonderful defense of the South. My family is from the South, but I was born in Indiana. Now I’m a Tennessean by choice and couldn’t be prouder.

  3. Well, I was born and reared (yes, we were taught that crops and animals were “raised”) in East Tennessee, with a mother who was a real stickler for grammar and spelling. The thing that I noticed especially about this post was the word “draw” when referring to the dialects of the South. The word you were looking for, I believe, is “drawl,” and you are quite correct that it will vary from state to state, and here in TN, from east to west! I also notice that people in other sections of our great nation have their own idiosyncrasies in pronunciation, so that is not a major problem for me. I have visited many areas of our wonderful USA, and I have found one thing that’s uniform: If you are polite and courteous with other people, you will find that returned to you in full measure. Also, if you find someone without a smile, and you give him/her one of yours, you will most likely get it back with some enthusiasm. I won’t even go into the prejudice issue, except to say that I was a sophomore at Clinton High School in 1958, when our school was blown up by bigots who did not think our school should be integrated. Those people did not bother to ask the students how they felt, or they would have learned that most of us “kids” were fine with having the black students joining us. Prejudice works in many ways….I have been overweight all my life, and if you don’t think people are prejudiced against fat folks, then I need to have a long heart-to-heart talk with you! Ok, that’s all I’ll say for now. Thanks for the opportunity to respond!

    • Thank you Glenda. I’ve been to the Green McAdoo School. I didn’t know you attended. You were a part of significant history in east TN!
      I too was over weight for many years. You’re right, people are prejudice about weight. I experienced that prejudice also as a child & young adult, or felt like I did.
      I agree with you’re smile theory 🙂 It’s always worked for me too!
      Thank you for making so many wonderful points.

  4. As a yankee transplanted to the South, I can tell you that there are some of these stereotypes that have a basis in reality. Like all stereotypes, though, they could be applied to people anywhere.
    The media certainly doesn’t help( just think Jerry Springer and COPS) when the people from the South they feature seem to have all of the stereotypes rolled into one!
    The education system in most Southern states leaves a lot to be desired (I’m talking about elementary and secondary school) as sports, poor funding and the “good ol boy” network seem to come before the education of the children. We continue to poor money down a well instead of focusing on fixing the problems, and wonder why nothing gets resolved. On the flip side of that, education is what you make of it! I don’t have to look any farther than my own home for that. All three of my kids were educated in the South, and so far two have had scholarships to some of the most prestigious schools in the country!

    I have also been on the opposite side of this as a Northerner. I can tell you from experience that the insults hurled at me from the gracious South have been just as harsh as the ones they claimed to be hurt by.

    The moral of my little story here,is that people can be hurtful, biased and rude in all areas, in every country and every walk of life. We tend to fear and ridicule things we don’t understand and in order to cope with the fear, make that which we fear somehow less than us. Very few have progressed to the point that they are able to recognize what is going on, and then in turn DO something about it.

    I love you bunches, because you DO something about it <3

    • Thank you 🙂 You are sooooooooooo correct about all those stereo types being brought together on shows like Springer. I guess people want to see and hear that stuff though because they stay on the air 🙁
      I have heard southerners say some very bad things about northerners also. It angers me deeply when I do…and I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut when I hear that garbage.
      There is no North & South any longer. As I heard a newly transplanted Northerner say: We are all American. Why draw lines?
      Thank you honey. I love you too 🙂

  5. I was born a yankee. Lived half my life in Massachusetts, and half here in East Tennessee. There are pros and cons (in my opinion) to both parts of the country. I still think of New England as home, but I can provide more for my children here than I ever could up there. I have been blessed to be able to experience and learn from both cultures in my life, and hope to impart the best parts of both worlds on my children. 🙂

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