EDITORIAL: THE SOUTH HAS RISEN … SORT OF

Connor Harlan, Editor-in-Chief

While I do have my qualms with the South, as they say, “rising again,” I am a firm supporter of where I live. I wasn’t always a southerner; I was born in Missouri and lived in Ohio for a good bit of my childhood, but my time living in North Carolina was my first exposure to what Ol’ Dixie really had to offer. While it was a decent crash course, I was certainly in culture shock when I moved to Ringgold: the accents were more heavily pronounced, the town was much smaller than anywhere I had lived, and everything felt much more spaced-out. I feared that every bit of what I had heard about the South would be true. My dad was especially apprehensive about the inhabitants of this foreign land we were entering. Me? I was anxious about the supposed racism (e.g. Randy Newman’s “Rednecks”) and religious bigotry so heavily spoken of. I found none of that. Scratch that; the racism was intact, but racism is everywhere, not just in the South. That’s all I’ll say on that topic. In terms of religious zealots, I found none. I found only kind and loving people that in recent years have nurtured me and really shaped who I am today.

All of this leads me to a point: The South is immensely underrated. Not just in those stereotypical areas like home cooking or a simpler lifestyle, I’m talking about the South’s attitude as well. Confrontation is rare, but when a southern lady has something to say, she’ll say it. Whether or not it’s right is a different story, but what matters is that she had the guts to say it, unlike the passive aggression of the North. Being someone who lived there (sort of), there was a whole lot of sarcasm and a whole lot of rudeness. Heightened economic class usually translates to snobbier and less friendly people. That’s not to say the South is economically disadvantaged, but it’s not a bunch of yuppies in suits talking about Dave Matthews. No, here we (me included) don’t talk like hicks; we have good hygiene, and smack-talking may lead to a ticket to Fist City for the offender. I love the South, I am proud to be a southerner, and I think it’s criminally underrated.