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southern pride
July 31, 2003 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Don't bump into a Southerner Paul Robinson on the ancient code of insult and revenge that is still prevalent in the American South
posted by konolia (92 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
" One Republican actually announced that ‘the South is the poorest, meanest, least productive and most miserable part of creation, and therefore ought to be continually teased and taunted and reproached and reviled’."

It's amazing how much things have changed. Now Republicans love the South.

However, it is still the poorest, meanest, least productive and most miserable part of creation, and therefore ought to be continually teased and taunted and reproached and reviled.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:36 AM on July 31, 2003


Then why do y'all insist on moving down here? Tired of shoveling snow?
posted by alumshubby at 11:46 AM on July 31, 2003


Also, don't get out of your canoe when on their rivers.

As for the article, the study doesn't impress me. I have a persistent predjudice against Southerners (I'm being frank, not bragging or baiting), and yet tying a combatitive reaction from being bumped and insulted to a region's history seems speculative at best. The article's more about the South's allegedly more-violent past than the results of the study. Basically, a passing mention of a study becomes an excuse to write about how awful southerners are.

The connection to George W. is crap, too. He was born and educated here in New England by an almost steretypically New England father. His southern-ness is an affectation and he doesn't warrant mention in the article.

As an aside, I'd love to know how New Englanders reacted. They probably just hurried away because someone they didn't know was addressing them.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:47 AM on July 31, 2003


For some reason when I first saw the post I thought it said Don't bump into a Southerner Paul Robeson and thought that in his lifetime Paul Robeson would have a lot more problems than Paul Robinson had he bumped into a certain subset of southerners.
posted by m@ at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2003


Most southerners trace roots within a very few generations to the north, while at the beginning of the 20th century the south began to drain northward as manufacturing jobs opened up in the "rust belt." Any "old south" mentality is a complete crock, this study has ignored actual history in favor of pseudo-history and mythology.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2003


His southern-ness is an affectation

He's NOT southern: he's Texan.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2003


Give me a break. I have met just as many assholes here in the northeast, ready to knock your teeth in over the smallest thing as I did in the 26 years I spent living and growing up in the south.

However, it is still the poorest, meanest, least productive and most miserable part of creation, and therefore ought to be continually teased and taunted and reproached and reviled.

Geez. I'm sure everyone from the south appreciates that.
posted by auzten at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2003


auzten: I speak for no one but myself, but I imagine that Crash was being less than totally serious..

I could maybe make a habit of this?
posted by trharlan at 12:01 PM on July 31, 2003


i agree that there are just as many assholes up north as down south...but they aren't as beligerant, on the whole...you can't count new yorkers of philadelphians, though...they are pretty bad.

but it's the reasoning, too...southerners are old fashioned and want to fight CONSTANTLY. my brother in law and his friends are stereotypical...it's awful.

and somebody has to explain to me how republicans took over the south. how is it the average uneducated southerner (on average they ARE uneducated) would rather be lead by a rich guy who doesn't care about them, but hates blacks and gays, instead of a tolerant rich guy who looks out for the poor? the answer's easy: status quo. the average southerner doesn't want to think things can be any different than they are currently, and doesn't want to look out for other people.

bah, ignore me, i'm trolling...i just hate the south and have to vent
posted by taumeson at 12:01 PM on July 31, 2003


Any "old south" mentality is a complete crock

Pollomacho: That's interesting; it makes complete sense on paper (as it were) but totally contradicts my experience. Living down here most of my life, compared with my time in the Great Lakes and Northeast, there is something different about folks down here. And I write this as a New Jersey native who moved to SC in early childhood. My dad used to joke that it was the heat causing long-term brain damage. I think it's long-term psychological fallout from the Civil War.
posted by alumshubby at 12:01 PM on July 31, 2003


I was born and raised in the south before moving northwards when I was 13, and I'd argue it the other way around. Southern tempers, I've found, are often far harder to raise to a boil, while their northern counterparts are quicker to rile. People just seem to be easier going in the south; perhaps they may be more likely to use physical force when their patience is exhausted, but I've never seen an area with more people so overly prideful and sensitive to "gettin' respect" than up here. "You disrespectin' me?" -- that's not the sort of thing a southerner even cares about, unless their posing as their northern (or western) hip-hop idols.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:02 PM on July 31, 2003


auzten, we Southerners are used to being looked down on by Northerners. We don't like it.

But I don't feel too bad-as my Westerner husband points out, the root of all evil is Back Easterners.
posted by konolia at 12:04 PM on July 31, 2003


As for Bush's Southern/Texan roots, I shall quote Mary Doria Russell, "Real Texans never use 'summer' as a verb."
posted by stet at 12:05 PM on July 31, 2003


And, I give you the token Simpsons reference that must appear in each and every Mefi thread:

Homer: Oh that's it. You insulted my honour! I demand satisfaction. I challenge you to a duel!
Moe: A duel? Isn't that a little extreme? Here, here, have a free beer.
Homer: Really? But you've never given anyone a free beer.
Moe: Yeah, aint never been slapped with no duelling glove either.

posted by thanotopsis at 12:05 PM on July 31, 2003


However, it is still the poorest, meanest, least productive and most miserable part of creation, and therefore ought to be continually teased and taunted and reproached and reviled.

That's fine.

We hope everyone feels that way.

Please stay away in droves.

Have a good day.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:06 PM on July 31, 2003


I think the explanation for the Southern conservative vote swinging from Dems to GOPs is that Southrons feel the Democratic party started to abandon them around the mid-sixties with all the civil-rights stuff. The GOP purports to be the party of conservative values (mmmyeahright) while the Dems seem interested in every other threatened niche group except for disenfranchised poor Southern whites. ("Purports" and "seems" because to me they're basically two sides of the same plugged nickel.)
posted by alumshubby at 12:07 PM on July 31, 2003


and somebody has to explain to me how republicans took over the south

I wish. I'm a Republican party hack and Republicans are an endangered species here. If you want to actually vote for a local politician, you have to do it in a Democratic Primary, as there are either no Republicans running or the ones that are don't have the proverbial snowball's chance.

But these are conservative Democrats, and when national elections come, party lines go out the window.
posted by konolia at 12:09 PM on July 31, 2003


However, it is still the poorest, meanest, least productive and most miserable part of creation, and therefore ought to be continually teased and taunted and reproached and reviled.

This in response to an article on a southern code of insult and revenge. It's hard to find that kind of humor.

southerners are old fashioned and want to fight CONSTANTLY. my brother in law and his friends are stereotypical...it's awful.

I'm southern and never been in a fight. Just maybe your brother in law and friends are that way because of other circumstances and not because of where they were born.

Perhaps its a mistake to let your brother in law and friends represent an entire region of the united states.
posted by justgary at 12:13 PM on July 31, 2003


The study that starts off the article:

Visit an American university, bump into random students in the corridor and loudly call each one ‘asshole’.

I don't think it's a temper thing, I think it's a space thing. Further south you really have to go out of your way to do this. Up north (northeast, okay?) they probably figure you're just part of the background noise.
posted by furiousthought at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2003


As an aside, I'd love to know how New Englanders reacted

Isn't the standard line "I once saw a Yankee who was so mad, he actually scowled and spat!!!"

One should also note that the same thing means different things in different places. If I bump into you and call you an asshole in NYC, that's just a friendly greeting*. In Charlotte, it means something different. What they're taking for differences if sensitivity are in part differences in connotation.

*I for real and no-shit was in the car for this exchange on the Jersey Turnpike:
Tollbooth Dude: blah blah blah
Driver: Thanks. Have a nice day.
TBD: Yeah, fuck you.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:23 PM on July 31, 2003


However, it is still the poorest, meanest, least productive and most miserable part of creation, and therefore ought to be continually teased and taunted and reproached and reviled.

While the statement from the 19th century Republican may have been true at the time, the existence of Detroit prevents me from agreeing with you about the south's current claim to the title.
posted by deanc at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2003


Gee- I fail to see how bumping into someone on purpose and loudly calling them an asshole would get a negative response.

Ps- I don't value the opinion of anyone who can't spell the word honor.

Preach on, Ynoxas.
posted by puddsharp at 12:27 PM on July 31, 2003


Most southerners trace roots within a very few generations to the north, while at the beginning of the 20th century the south began to drain northward as manufacturing jobs opened up in the "rust belt." Any "old south" mentality is a complete crock, this study has ignored actual history in favor of pseudo-history and mythology.


If by "most," you mean a few, and if by " a few generations," you mean 10 or 12..... I'll agree with you. I'm not sure where this information comes from, but I would love for you to link it for me. As for southern mentality... it may not exist today as it did 100 years ago, but it does exist.
Before the Civil War, the South modeled their lives on an enhanced "Victorian-pseudo-Romantic-Chivalric Code" ( my own way of describing it, mind you) system of ethics and morality... the Man being the head of the household in charge of economic matters, and the female in charge of domestic and morality issues. Slaves fell under the responsibility of the male, as they were considered property.
After the Civil War, as the economic base in the South fell through, the males still clung to this chivalric way of life.... and desperately tried to stabilize their lives, and continue to maintain the Southern way of life which had previously given them success. This mentality was largely responsible for the Slave Codes, the Black Codes, the Jim Crow laws, and every other law/code passed in order to suppress the former slaves and maintain the social standards of the time.
Although not practiced in the same way, that traditional sense of values is still visible within the Southern states.
If you don't feel that there is a "Southern Mentality,"..... well, perhaps you're not a true Southern.
posted by bradth27 at 12:30 PM on July 31, 2003


Thank you Mr. Curley!! The idea that George W. is southern or Texan is the biggest load of crap. He went to Phillips Academy for high school and continued his very non-southern education from there. And he played baseball, for christ's sake.

About the study, I think furiousthought is onto something. My experience if that people in the south are often more polite, so the expectation is for polite behavior. If I were in West Texas and someone bumped into me and called me an asshole, it would get my back up more than if I were in NYC and someone did the same.
posted by lobakgo at 12:39 PM on July 31, 2003


pollomacho, do you live / have you lived down here in the South?
posted by alumshubby at 12:40 PM on July 31, 2003


how is it the average uneducated southerner (on average they ARE uneducated)

Then I think a lot of southern folks have moved to the lovely Fall River/Taunton, Massachusetts, area where I live, because I ain't never seen so many dipshits. I grew up in SC, and I must say, in comparison, Mass is ass.
posted by alou73 at 12:40 PM on July 31, 2003


and somebody has to explain to me how republicans took over the south

It all started back when Strom Thurman "succeeded" from the Democrats in '48, and started the Southern Democratic party (Dixicrats) because he was upset that Truman went soft on some of the Jim Crowe laws, and granted basic citizenship to the Blacks (14th Amendment in 1946). So Thurman ran on a segregationist platform, and promptly got his ass kicked by Truman. Dewey, the republican candidate at the time, was predicted to win the election because it was thought that Thurman would take votes away from Truman, and the press went to far as to print up a headline reading "DEWEY BEATS TRUMAN", and ran it the day after the election.

But he didn't. Truman ended up winning by 3.5 percent. It's thought that many were scared away from voting for a independant canidate (there were two in this election), and stuck to either Republican or Democrat. Truman, being a popular war-time president, was re-elected easily.

This kicked off 20 years of progressive democratic rule until Nixon gained office. During this time Truman, Eisenhower (well, actually he really didn't do a hell of a lot for racial rights), Kennedy (Ditto) and especially LBJ were in office, the Jim Crowe laws were repealed, Blacks were given the vote, and civil rights laws were enacted. Many southern traditionalists jumped ship and joined the Republican Party, which was a hell of a lot less progressive about civil rights, and tended to be more religious than the Democratic Party.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:41 PM on July 31, 2003


Also, don't get out of your canoe when on their rivers.

After I got done chuckling at the obligatory Deliverance reference, I recollected: Last time we made the mistake of getting out of the canoe in the wrong place on the river, several friendly folks from Atlanta offered us some white wine from one of those cartons wth a bag inside. We stayed a while, "visiting" (talking), swatting the odd mosquito or two, and eating some Brie on crackers...no shotguns, squealing or sodomy involved.
posted by alumshubby at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2003


Then I think a lot of southern folks have moved to the lovely Fall River/Taunton, Massachusetts, area where I live, because I ain't never seen so many dipshits. I grew up in SC, and I must say, in comparison, Mass is ass

That's because Fall River is the grimiest place in Southern Massachusetts. It's the Massachusetts version of Central Falls, RI. Get your ass out of there, and move down to Providence or up to Boston.

No one likes Fall River. The only good thing to come out of Fall River is Emeril.
posted by SweetJesus at 12:48 PM on July 31, 2003


This article is a pretty damn horrid affair. I'll have to add Paul Robinson to my list of columnists who can't make logical conclusions. Lower educational standards and more extreme closed moral standards are a better reasoning of higher southerner aggression than the sensationalistic "OHMYGOD SCARY CELTS AND CIVIL WAR WOUNDS!" racist drivel he tries to pull off. A educated southerner raised in a balanced setting would act the same as a northerner raised in the same setting.
posted by Darke at 12:53 PM on July 31, 2003


because he was upset that Truman went soft on some of the Jim Crowe laws, and granted basic citizenship to the Blacks (14th Amendment in 1946).

Morgan v. Virginia, perhaps? The 14th Ammendment passed in 1866.
In 1846, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in interstate bus travel was unconstitutional.
And as for Kennedy... Kennedy never did JackCrap for the black population. He said a whole lot of stuff.... but he backed away from almost all of it. Johnson was probably the most sympathetic to the cause.
posted by bradth27 at 12:53 PM on July 31, 2003


Come on. No sodomy? For real?

Does not compute.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:54 PM on July 31, 2003


In 1846, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in interstate bus travel was unconstitutional.

oops. 1946, that is.
posted by bradth27 at 12:56 PM on July 31, 2003


If by "most," you mean a few, and if by " a few generations," you mean 10 or 12..... I'll agree with you.

No, by most I mean most, a majority. By a few generations I mean, they themselves moved there, their parents or grandparents. The tiny percentage of antebellum southerners who owned giant plantations may have had some form of faux-chivalric aristocracy bull shit going on, but the fact is most southerners, and by that I mean a vast majority, were either small farmers, share croppers, worked in the limited industry or were slaves, despite what may be depicted in films like Gone With The Wind, and very few decendants of those very few plantation owners actually still live in the South. With the growth of manufacturing in the Northern cities and the building of the railroads Southerners flocked north in droves, particularly the African American ones. After WWII with the rusting of the rust belt and the new south industrial rebuilding, new jobs opened up in the south and northerners headed for the new jobs in the south (bringing their northern problems with them). Particularly notable would be the auto workers who filled the Nissan, BMW, Mercedes and Saturn plants across the south.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:00 PM on July 31, 2003


Oh, I'd like to add: Raised in the Blackbelt of Alabama, High School in Sewanee, TN (home of the University of the South), college in Mississippi, I now live in DC, desegregated 1965.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:06 PM on July 31, 2003


Get your ass out of there, and move down to Providence or up to Boston.

Trust me, SweetJesus, I have been praying for deliverance.
posted by alou73 at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2003


Morgan v. Virginia, perhaps? The 14th Amendment passed in 1866.

Fuck, you're right about that. I don't know why I put that in. What I should have said, before my train of thought went haywire, is that Truman was beginning to get "soft" on Civil Rights, which caused Thurman to form the Dixicrats.

I misread 1946 for 1964 in this book I have next to me. The civil rights act was passed in 1964 by LBJ, not 1946 by Truman. I tossed the 14th amendment in there because before the Poll Tax and literacy test were repealed, the 14th Amendment didn't mean jack shit.

And as for Kennedy... Kennedy never did JackCrap for the black population. He said a whole lot of stuff.... but he backed away from almost all of it. Johnson was probably the most sympathetic to the cause

Yeah, I said that. Kennedy was too pre-occupied with the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, and trying to look strong on Communism in Vietnam. It's thought, however, that if Kennedy ever made it to a second term, he would have been very progressive with Civil Rights.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2003


Pollomacho-
I will agree that a large majority of the South consisted of the "average man," and that the depiction of the South as one big plantation is largely a myth.
However, I still don't see how that points toward your comment on most Southerners being just that by only a few generations. What, the poor people don't count in population statistics? Who the hell stayed around and rebuilt the Southern states from the ground up?Yes, many whites - as well as blacks - went North, but a vast majority stayed right where they were at.
posted by bradth27 at 1:08 PM on July 31, 2003


It's thought, however, that if Kennedy ever made it to a second term, he would have been very progressive with Civil Rights.

A lot of historians would argue with you on that- if you ask someone lately. We DID say that for a while - but now, looking back... it's pretty clear that Kennedy could not have cared less, and had no intentions of rocking the boat one way or the other. I don't think he would have succeeded in doing much at all, to tell you the truth.
20 years ago, Kennedy was taught in the history books as a man who cared about the "black problem" and wanted to do something about it.... Today, we can look back and wonder what the hell started all of that.

I think a lot of it has to do with having a cap busted on his ass.
posted by bradth27 at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2003


Southern tempers, I've found, are often far harder to raise to a boil, while their northern counterparts are quicker to rile.

I think Civil_Disobedient has it exactly right.

If I bump into you and call you an asshole in NYC, that's just a friendly greeting

I always smile when I hear my first "Asshole!" on returning to NYC; it can be said in an infinite variety of shadings and volume, but it always says "home" to me.

On preview:
It's thought, however, that if Kennedy ever made it to a second term, he would have been very progressive with Civil Rights.

Yeah, "it's thought" by the same people who think that he would have ended our involvement in Vietnam, cured cancer, and solved world poverty. When will we tire of Kennedy-worship?
posted by languagehat at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2003


The South is pretty miserable, outside of such pretty girls and William Faulkner.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:20 PM on July 31, 2003


It is true that many people stayed and somewhat rebuilt the south, but it remained vastly underdeveloped until the mid 1900's. TVA, the US highway system, the development of effective air conditioning and the lack of unions spurred the giant growth and the creation of the "New South." Mississippi didn't build its first paved road until 1915! There was very little progress, development or building in the south until after WWII. The myth of the south and the reality are quite different.

With all that said though, I think the question remains, you would have question what would make a southerner want to be in Michigan in the first place?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:24 PM on July 31, 2003


The South is pretty miserable, outside of such pretty girls and William Faulkner.

And blues music, great food, great athletes, great beaches.

Other than that, pretty miserable.
posted by justgary at 1:25 PM on July 31, 2003


A lot of historians would argue with you on that- if you ask someone lately. We DID say that for a while - but now, looking back... it's pretty clear that Kennedy could not have cared less, and had no intentions of rocking the boat one way or the other. I don't think he would have succeeded in doing much at all, to tell you the truth.

Yeah, "it's thought" by the same people who think that he would have ended our involvement in Vietnam, cured cancer, and solved world poverty. When will we tire of Kennedy-worship?

Well, I'm going by Chafe's "The Unfinished Journey", and Chafe isn't exactly a Kennedy worshiper at all.

Chafe's argument is that Kennedy was elected on his good looks, name recognition, and charm. After he was elected, he didn’t have any firm idea of what he wanted to do with his presidency. So goaded by his advisors, he became "though on Communism", made it though the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile crisis.

But the Cuban crisis scared the crap out of Kennedy, so much so that it's thought that Kennedy was going to switch the foreign policy from one of containment, to one of appeasement. Kennedy was going to pull troops out of Vietnam, and make his presidency one of domestic policy instead of foreign policy. This pissed the hawks off, and in my view, was one of the reasons Kennedy got killed. That, and his brother investigating Union labor practices.

But many of the policies that LBJ introduced in his “Great Society” after Kennedy was shot are believed to be Kennedy's ideas, and it's thought by many historians that Kennedy would have spent his second term enacting these laws.

So Kennedy didn’t do shit for the Blacks during his term, but its not baseless Kennedy-worship to say that if he had survived his second term would have been focused on Civil Rights. There is more than enough evidence to support that.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:42 PM on July 31, 2003


As a Southerner, I have to agree that the difference probably lies in the fact that much weight is still placed on politeness in the South. It would a hell of a lot more shocking to have someone call me an asshole in the South than in the North.

The South is a beautiful, lovely, place, home to some of the best, brightest, kindest people on the planet. It has serious problems it's still solving. But while our problems are out in the open, the racism of the North is still quite hidden. Stereotyping Southerners as ignorant and backward comes from the same disdain for tradition and honest work that was one of the main causes for the racism that led to slavery, a racism for which the North is equally culpable and guilty.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:44 PM on July 31, 2003


err, tough on Communism...
posted by SweetJesus at 1:48 PM on July 31, 2003


The South is a beautiful, lovely, place, home to some of the best, brightest, kindest people on the planet. It has serious problems it's still solving. But while our problems are out in the open, the racism of the North is still quite hidden. Stereotyping Southerners as ignorant and backward comes from the same disdain for tradition and honest work that was one of the main causes for the racism that led to slavery, a racism for which the North is equally culpable and guilty.

Amen to that.

I saw a recent interview with Morgan Freeman (who lives in mississippi) where he said that racism in the north was far more insidious than in the south.

Does it exist in the south? No ones denying that. But the north has its own problems and seems to ignore them best by pointing at the south.
posted by justgary at 1:51 PM on July 31, 2003


I knew that this discussion would dissolve into accusations that the North is somehow more racist than the South. And just to nip it now, I'll agree with you. The Massachusetts state flag has the Confederate stars and bars in it, the Klan has its largest per-capita membership in the Northeast and a few years ago a group of crackers from Maine dragged a black man to death behind a pickup truck.

(The above is not entirely factual. Read it carefully and try not to move your lips when you do it, apologists.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:01 PM on July 31, 2003


A number of things that posters have attacked the study for ignoring -- poverty, education levels, native Southern politeness -- were addressed in the actual study. The FPP article did ignore them in favor of a "Southern men are testosterone-driven violent racists!" tone.

Even after correcting for (I think) everything people on this board have mentioned, they found that Southern men, when insulted, had a much stronger physiological reaction -- higher testosterone and cortisol levels -- than insulted Northern men. They also found, interestingly, that the aggression thus provoked did not make the Southerners more likely to be aggressive toward "neutral stimuli," but it did make them more likely to be aggressive when provoked again.
posted by occhiblu at 2:14 PM on July 31, 2003


Mayor Curley, how in the hell does "equally cuplable" = "the North is somehow more racist than the South" ?

Or is it true you Northerners have no clue what "equal" means?

Your criteria for what is and is not racist is pretty shallow, IMHO. As already stated, racism in the South is blatant - stuff like Confederate flags and KKK membership is more prevalent, but such stuff is the bark, not the bite, of racism. If you really want to examine how racist an area is, you'll have to look at stuff like how many middle class black people there are in an area, and how many black people get elected to office, and how black wages compare to white wages for the same job, and how integrated neighborhoods are, and how the cops treat blakcs as compared with whites, etc, etc.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:19 PM on July 31, 2003


Mayor Curley - when the black southerners moved North after the Civil War to rid themselves of Southern resistance, they were met with equal resistance from whites. The Northern states practiced their own form of racism, and were, in reality, no less racist than the South. Anyone claiming that blacks in the North after the before and after the Civil War were treated wth the same level of equality as the white community needs to go back to college and take a few history courses.
The Civil Rights Movement found a massive resistance by the North - blacks AND whites - because of this different type of racism which still existed - and still exists - today.
When MLK went North to spread his message, the non-violent method which had substantial success in the South was met with hostility and aggression by the North. King didn't understand the Northern problem, and the North wanted no part of King's way of achieving his goals.
Simply put, the South has had its share of problems, but the North also had - and still has - a long way to go in terms of racial equality.
posted by bradth27 at 2:20 PM on July 31, 2003


the south is great.

if you're a straight white protestant.
posted by mcsweetie at 2:23 PM on July 31, 2003


All general statements are false, except for the general statement that all general statements are false.

Certainly, there are regional differences within the U.S. population. But one is unlikely to identify them usefully with blanket statements. Violence is a form of communication, and where education is poor and people do not learn more effective forms of communication, they often fall back upon violence to express various emotions, ranging from frustration to insecurity to anger to greed. This happens in every part of the country, of course, and while culture can affect the propagation and acceptance of violent behaviors, in my experience there is little significant difference among similarly educated groups around the U.S.
posted by rushmc at 2:24 PM on July 31, 2003


I knew that this discussion would dissolve into accusations that the North is somehow more racist than the South.

(on preview I see I've been beaten) Good points Your Honor, but I think the issue is one of overt vs. covert. I live in Boston, and while we love to think of Mass. as a progressive place (at least I do, for the most part), I don't think I've ever seen a more segregated city. A lot of what goes on here is simply kept under the carpet.

I am glad we haven't dragged anyone behind a truck, though.
posted by jalexei at 2:25 PM on July 31, 2003


From the study above: "White male homicide rates of the South are higher than those of the North, and the South exceeds the North only in homicides that are argument- or conflict-related, not in homicides that are committed while another felony, such as robbery or burglary, is being performed."

The studies cited for this correct for poverty and education levels, as far as I can tell.
posted by occhiblu at 2:32 PM on July 31, 2003


i both love and hate my home, the south, this nice place full of pull-over-and-help-yous and people that bake you cakes when you injure yourself. but the insanely corrupt government and the scores of dickheads that want to vote us back into the stone age are just about to drive me insane.

but now that i think about it, if a some politician asshole bumped into me on the street, my southern genetic disposition to violence and impending heart failure would all kick in and i would throw a big peice of half-eaten fried chicken at that tax-the-poor and let-the-schools-rot motherfucker and demand a hoedown.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 2:34 PM on July 31, 2003


MetaFilter: no shotguns, squealing or sodomy involved.

Maybe Slate was right and we should secede from the South.

I grew up in not-really-the-South Northern Virginia, and lived in flat-out-the-South North Carolina. The bad: humidity. The good: sweet tea. (Plus lots of other good and bad stuff.)

sweetJesus' point about the Dixiecrat switcheroo brings up how the identities of the Republican and Democratic parties have changed over time. Would Abraham Lincoln be a Republican today?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:38 PM on July 31, 2003


Eustace, my response was directed more at Justgary's followup to your post, because I really didn't think "Stereotyping Southerners as ignorant and backward comes from...disdain for tradition and honest work" made enough sense to bother to address. But now I will.

I don't know where your statement came from but it makes less sense than "the terrorists hate us because of our freedom." The stereotyping actually comes from where most stereotypes originate-- there are enough people who embody it that it seems plausible at first glance. It's ignorant to believe that every single white southerner is stupid, inbred and toothless, but it's criminally naive to believe that the stereotype originated from some vague hatred of positive ideals. You're making broad assumptions yourself with that assertion and you're therefore no better than the Northerner who thinks that you have eyes for your sister.

As for your followup, that's assinine. Does anyone say "Well, you know, I may have to watch my back lest I get assaulted for my skin color, and there's a hate symbol flying above the statehouse, but the cops are certainly polite?"

Jesus, I tried to be objective. Then you had to generalize. I didn't want a poo-flinging match, but then you had to grab a steaming pile and chuck it...
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:40 PM on July 31, 2003


the racism of the North is still quite hidden

Not hidden, just different.

[grossgeneralization]
Southern racism: whites don't mind living near blacks, so long as they're not uppity

Northern racism: whites don't mind blacks being uppity, so long as they stay where they belong.
[/grossgeneralization]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:41 PM on July 31, 2003


If you really want to examine how racist an area is, you'll have to look at stuff like how many middle class black people there are in an area

For example, supposedly liberal, tolerant San Francisco has a small African American population (7.8% in the 2000 census as opposed to Oakland's 35.7%).
posted by kirkaracha at 2:46 PM on July 31, 2003


Students from the southern part of the United States.... were shown to have much higher levels of cortisone and testosterone

Gee, did the students submit to hormone level tests before or after being called an asshole?
posted by Modem Ovary at 2:52 PM on July 31, 2003


"Last night I saw Lester Maddox on a TV show…"
posted by timeistight at 3:01 PM on July 31, 2003


An online comic strip (to which I was led by a Metafilter thread a year ago), Something Positive, covered this sort of topic just the other day.
posted by notsnot at 3:30 PM on July 31, 2003


...there's a hate symbol flying above the statehouse...

Try telling that to this guy.
posted by majcher at 3:55 PM on July 31, 2003


This is hardly scientific research.. and like one of the first comments said; the inclusion of G W negates any credibility.

Us Southerners aren't really that hot tempered. We're mellow, laid back people. Life is slow in the south, anywhere outside of a large city as far as I see it in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Most people here are in a laid back frame of mind, they come here for it.

The big cities seem to be overflowing with thugs and wannabe thugs (of varying color, mind you) all trying to act 'hard'. The winner of that prize is Miami- which is kind of a double-edged sword.. the city is so freaking huge. It attracts some of the most beautiful women i've *ever* seen. But they're also the most shallow.

It's amusing to read in the local papers about northern college kids booking hotel rooms on the web, only to get down here for spring break and realize the beach is full of retirees and the hippest thing going on is an open-air karaoke bar on a peir. People are friendly in these retiree-type communities, always waving at people driving by. but they didn't come here for that. The other contrast is the kids I met from NYC who got mugged outside of Club Space in downtown Miami for a few hundred bills. They were talking about how rough it was here. People pushing them around on the dancefloor, just general attitude they received long before getting mugged in the parking lot.

I guess my point is to illustrate that this survey sucks, it's different everywhere.
posted by shadow45 at 4:17 PM on July 31, 2003


kirkaracha,

I actually remember being creeped out when I lived in SF for the first few months, walking around thinking where are the black people? SF is pretty segregated, and though the people of that city make an awful lot of noise about thier leftist politics, the rich and upwardly wealthy people didn't seem too interested in the poor people, apart from raising rents on them so that they'd move to the East Bay and make room for more lofts for more dot commers.


Your Honor,

The stereotyping actually comes from where most stereotypes originate-- there are enough people who embody it that it seems plausible at first glance.

I disagree. Stereotypes arise because someone needs them - someone needs a means of dividing people or of controlling people. Sure, they evolove, but ever notice how our society always finds the working class the most despicible? And always for the same reasons, basically that they're barbarians? Yet these are the people who do the most necessary work? nobody needs a stock market or a Rolls Royce or a web page or a t.v. show. Everyone needs food, water, plumbing, garbage collection, etc. Yet, who do we pay the least?
That's what I meant: the people who do necessary, real work get shat upon in our society, and "rednecks" do a great deal of this work. That's why their necks are red. So do blacks, and Hispanics. And gee, we have bad vibes for them all.

Does anyone say "Well, you know, I may have to watch my back lest I get assaulted for my skin color, and there's a hate symbol flying above the statehouse, but the cops are certainly polite?"

For like the sixtieth time, I'm not saying the North of more racist than the South, but equally racist, in its unique, Northern way. Knwoing black folks from both New York and South Carolina, I'd have to say that as far as I can tell, they're equally suspsicious of the cops and white folks and the school and legal systems. The Klan might lynch you in the South, but in New York, the cops will shoot you 41 times. Take your pick.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:51 PM on July 31, 2003


shut up before I kick all of y'alls asses!!!
but seriously... growing up, my dad worked for american airlines, and I had the luxury of flying for almost free. I have visited 43 states, and it has been my experience that people in the south are A LOT more polite and less rude that people in the north, or west. yee-haw!
posted by maceo at 4:52 PM on July 31, 2003


Mayor Curley, you're a smart guy and I give enormous props to anyone who posts about Hittite and Indo-European, but you're sounding like an ignorant proud-to-be-prejudiced type in this thread. I submit that you don't know any actual southern people and are going by exactly the same sort of thinking that my Taiwanese students were when they cheerfully talked about the greedy and conniving Jews. Is it "criminally naive" to believe that that stereotype originated from "some vague hatred of positive ideals"? My daddy's 88 years old and he's liable to crawl out of his wheelchair and come at you with a horsewhip if you keep up this barrage of insulting generalizations. So please, for your sake and his, back off and think things over. (And you might ask a representative sample of black Bostonians how they feel about the wonderful white people of Massachusetts.)
posted by languagehat at 5:05 PM on July 31, 2003


Regarding the North/South racism issue. I think it was Mark Twain who said that Northerners embrace blacks as a race but reject them as individuals, Southerners embrace blacks as individuals but reject them as a race. Having grown up in Mississippi and now living in San Francisco I tend to think he was right.
posted by whatever at 5:28 PM on July 31, 2003


I have a number of friends from Louisiana and Mississippi and from my experience, to tar them all as aggressive goons is to miss the entire point.

I think that there is a very complex and nuanced code of conduct with these guys. They are some of the meanest, crudest, raunchiest, snarky bunch I've ever met. Sometimes when they get into their put-down/practical joke mode I wonder how the hell they can live with such negativity towards one another. But knowin' the guys I know, I can tell you that I believe it to be a coping mechanism, learned very young, it's how they survive. Up here in Seattle they treat me completely different. But their stories. Story upon story they can tell about everyone else, most of them some of the funniest shit I've ever heard.

Truly, I was the same rigid, PC, good ol boy hater as the next guy. I mean I hated these southerner (now) friends of mine when I first met and started working with them. Turns out the best ribbing the South is ever going to get is going to be from those who were born, raised and lived there. Us northern/westerners will never be able to fully grasp the lifetimes of experience of those from the deep south. I stay out of it, except for the cross burning references I still have to make when one is late to meet up.

I will say there is a cloud of misery or a resignation that things are never going to get any better which surrounds the peeps I've met and know, that they use their aggressive senses of humor to conceal.

All in all they are some of the most decent, well meaning people I've ever met. Sure, racism is like second nature, but it seems to be something they only use to describe their dad as.

Travel ten miles outside of Seattle in any direction and you're bound to find clusters of the most ignorant, hateful, aggressive, closed-minded folk you ever did meet until you get to Portland or Vancouver and then I suppose, you do it all over again.

On preview: What whatever said. Racism is endemic no matter where you are or think you are going.
posted by crasspastor at 5:45 PM on July 31, 2003


They have universities in the South?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:22 PM on July 31, 2003


I knew that this discussion would dissolve into accusations that the North is somehow more racist than the South.

I never said the north was more racist, but that it was just as prevalent, and in morgan freeman's mind, more insidious.

Basically, if you live in the north (or just about anywhere else, and want to see racism, look in the mirror (not that pointing your finger and disdain at the south isn't much easier).
posted by justgary at 7:25 PM on July 31, 2003


Well, my experience with the south is confined to New Orleans, but I'd have to say that, based on the people I met, Southerners are relaxed, gracious, pleasant and all around fun to be with. Racist comments by drunken frat boys was the only thing that seemed to rile them.The only agression I experienced seemed to be from drunk tourists with a chip on their shoulder. If I could get a decent job there (and one for my sweetie), I'd buy the biggest air conditioning system I could find and move there in a heartbeat. Of course, that just might be the sun deprivation talking ;)
posted by echolalia67 at 7:39 PM on July 31, 2003


With the exception of Atlanta, I have never visited a part of the south where the people were not friendly, helpful and just good natured in general. OTOH, I have had nothing but bad experiences from my limited visits to the north. Based upon logic being used in this thread, I think it is safe for me to assume that all people in the north are jerks and all people in the south are nice. I live in the middle, so I'm a nice jerk.
posted by bargle at 8:12 PM on July 31, 2003


I consider L.A. the south. And fuck 'em.
posted by squirrel at 8:19 PM on July 31, 2003


Hmm. I could go for a nice jerk.
posted by squirrel at 8:20 PM on July 31, 2003


If I could get a decent job there (and one for my sweetie), I'd buy the biggest air conditioning system I could find and move there in a heartbeat.

Moi aussi.
posted by timeistight at 8:23 PM on July 31, 2003


If I could get a decent job there (and one for my sweetie), I'd buy the biggest air conditioning system I could find and move there in a heartbeat.

Will be moving there very soon ;)
posted by justgary at 8:30 PM on July 31, 2003


Yeesh. All you easterners sure are uptight.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:52 PM on July 31, 2003


They have universities in the South?

Ever heard of Duke? Wake Forest? UNC-Chapel Hill? NC State? Man, we're just dripping in 'em.

Unless things have changed drastically over the last few years, the greatest concentration of PHDs in the country is in the Research Triangle Area of North Carolina.
posted by konolia at 8:55 PM on July 31, 2003


They have universities in the South?

Ever heard of Duke? Wake Forest? UNC-Chapel Hill? NC State? Man, we're just dripping in 'em.


Don't forget Vanderbilt, Emory, Tulane, GA State, and Auburn.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:55 PM on July 31, 2003


Will be moving there very soon ;)

You lucky, soon-to-be-eating-beignets-for-breakfast, bastard! We'll have to set up some sourdough bread/gumbo exchange program.
posted by echolalia67 at 10:26 PM on July 31, 2003


However, it is still the poorest, meanest, least productive and most miserable part of creation, and therefore ought to be continually teased and taunted and reproached and reviled.

..This has to be about state's rights, internal improvements, and the right to do as one wishes with one's property..

oh wait, this isn't 1860.

Pardon me, I forgot that the same tired old sludge wouldn't wear out after a century and a half.
posted by jazzkat11 at 10:43 PM on July 31, 2003


Ever heard of Duke? Wake Forest? UNC-Chapel Hill? NC State? Man, we're just dripping in 'em.

Don't forget Vanderbilt, Emory, Tulane, GA State, and Auburn


*cough*VIRGINIA*cough*

Also William&Mary.

Do you mean GSU in Atlanta or U of G in Athens?

[quietly]
wahoo-wah, wahoo-wah....
[/quietly]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:09 PM on July 31, 2003


[George W. Bush] was born and educated here in New England by an almost steretypically New England father. His southern-ness is an affectation [...]

Let's put this urban legend to rest. Dubya was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1946. His family moved to Texas in 1948, when he was two.

Would you also like to tell my friend from India whose parents moved to New Jersey when she was two, that her American-ness is an affectation? She'll deck ya.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:45 PM on July 31, 2003


You lucky, soon-to-be-eating-beignets-for-breakfast, bastard! We'll have to set up some sourdough bread/gumbo exchange program.

Ha. If only ;)
posted by justgary at 12:03 AM on August 1, 2003


konolia, ynoxas: I was *kidding*. Y'all SURE ARE THIN-SKINNED!

Haw.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:47 AM on August 1, 2003


My apologies to anyone whom I had offended in this thread. I had really set out not to do that. However:

Let's put this urban legend to rest. [George W. Bush] was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1946. His family moved to Texas in 1948, when he was two.

Yeah, and he continued to live with his Mayflower Society Dad, summered and spent the holidays in Maine and then spent the next ten years at Exeter, Yale and Harvard.

I think that someone secure in their Texas origins wouldn't have to mention them every three minutes, and they wouldn't occasionally lose their accent. I love it when he gets mad-- he sounds just like his father, with the standard New England back-vowel whine.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:19 AM on August 1, 2003


Let's put this urban legend to rest. [George W. Bush] was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1946. His family moved to Texas in 1948, when he was two.

It's not urban legend that he then went to Phillips Academy (not Exeter Mayor Curley not that there's much difference) around the age of 14. This is not at all typical of even the very wealthy families in Midland. Nor is summering in Maine. Nor is Yale or Harvard typical. And playing baseball, but not football? I can't help but laugh when anyone tries to make him out as some good ol' Texas boy.

Slithy_Tove, if your friend went back to India for summers, holidays, and schooling from high school on up, I would tend to look askance if she then acted in a hyper-stereotypical "American" manner.
posted by lobakgo at 9:28 AM on August 1, 2003


Prep schools, Ivy League colleges, and summer vacations in cooler climes are typical of the rich no matter where they live. And yes, they play baseball in Texas. Bush spent his childhood in Texas, his business career, and was elected Governor twice by the people of Texas, who had ample opportunity to consider the issue, and apparently concluded that he was Texan enough for them.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:21 AM on August 1, 2003


*Checks expir(ey)ation date on thread carton.*
*Pours remaining chunks down drain.*
posted by squirrel at 12:18 PM on August 1, 2003


I disagree. Attending a prep school isn't/wasn't that common there and the one I most often heard of guys going to was New Mexico Military Institute. Ivy League colleges aren't/weren't common. I think Rice, Trinity, and A&M were more common for upper-class kids. As for summering in cooler climes, getting from Midland to Maine would have been a chore unless they had their own plane, which they may well have had, but that wouldn't be typical either. The baseball comment was partly a joke. But you're right they do play baseball in the off-season. Anyway for most guys it's the off-season. You're also right that enough people did buy that he was Texan enough to elect him Governor. I have to laugh at that too.
posted by lobakgo at 1:33 PM on August 1, 2003


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