Oddly proud to be southern

I’m pitting a co-star in a play I was in for a remark, but this pit has an odd upside.

I teach at a small college in rural Georgia. I was in a play with a very large cast that was produced this weekend. While sitting in the very cramped green-room waiting to go on, some of the actors- perhaps a dozen (mostly 18-22 year old students with a few faculty and community members for the older roles- everybody was white) were talking about life, the universe and everything and the subject of fundamentalists in the South came up, which led to a discussion of how irritatingly frequent the topic of evolution v. creationism comes up down here with relation to high school biology classes.

One of the members of the cast, about whom I’ll only say she is 60sh, very wealthy (rich husband), and not Southern born (though she has lived here for most of her adult life), said “I don’t see how anybody can doubt evolution. Hell, all you have to do is look at the gorillas and chimps and then look at all these black people around here. They’re practically the same.”

Pretty much every jaw dropped. I was one of several people who got up, politely but coldly excused myself and walked away rather than turn really nasty. Others just sat silently seething then changed the subject completely. ALL were clearly pissed.

Now, while this stupid racist old bitch deserves a pitting, the odd upside: every single person in that room, ranging in age from teenagers to one 70-something man (who played the woman’s husband in the play and who in real life was born to poor white parents in the Georgia swamps) were clearly furious at the comment, trashing her as soon as they left the room with “Did you hear what that old c**ze just said? Did she actually say that?” This is at a public college which for more than 2/3 of its history did not allow black students and where at one time and not very long ago that same comment would have been met with amens and some approving laughter.

It actually is cool in a way to see how far we’ve come. (The woman later apologized, though only because she saw how others reacted and later learned one of the guys present has a biracial daughter.)

I forgot to mention one word in the above that is relevant to the title: all of the other cast members in the room who were infuriated by the comment were Southern. Since the south has some major PR problems, it was cool witnessing a moment in which southerners weren’t the one-dimensional racist jerks we’re characterized as so often. (Of course the issue of race in the south both in modern times and in history is an incredibly complex one that rarely if ever receives accurate treatment by those who have not lived here.)

Unfortunately, too many people think that we Southerners are more like this hateful woman than the people who walked away or who let her know that her comments were vapid.

Stereotyping cultures is as ignorant as stereotyping races. Georgia is a beautiful state and Savannah is my favorite city in the US.

[Ice Cube]Ya goddamn right![/Ice Cube]

:::Well I wish I was in the land of cotton, hmmm hmmm hmmm:::

Was I reading your OP right in that not a single person faced up to her to call bullshit, that the sum total of responses was some facial contortions and polite excuses to leave? This makes you proud?

Well, ok.

Excuse me, but do we have to drag out the old lie that White Southerners (like me) are somehow more racist that White Northerners? I would point out that we have (all too slowly) faced the truth of our past. How many Northerners can talk about the Tulsa Massacre, school busing in Southie, or the murder of that kid at the beach in Detroit?

It is easier to make fun of Southerners since we are all a bunch of rednecks. While it is true there is a ‘mote in my eye,’ there is a ‘beam in yours.’

I just can’t see why anyone would be proud to be southern. This site , for all its bad language, has a lot of truth to it. We just elected a half-wit because Johnny Cracker can’t bring himself to vote for a Yankee.

You’re right. You can’t. We don’t expect you to. We would feel all icky if you did.

This site has more.

You mean Kerry? Kennedy was a Yankee, and we voted for him. Kerry is not a Yankee. He is a Damn Yankee.

Of course, the 1960 JFK win came before the Civil Rights Act. From 1964 forward, the number of electors won by Yankees in Dixie have been mighty small.

White Southerners (like myself) have much to be proud of, and much to be ashamed off. God just did not give all of us the ability to tell one thing from the other.

Let’s list some People and Things Southern:
You’ll ever hear of:
Tom Wolfe?
Bill Faulkner?
Andy Young?
Tennessee Williams?
Martin Luther King, Junior?
Elvis?
Benny Goodman?
Jackie Robinson?
Robert E. Lee?
Jayne Mansfield?

How about:
Coca Cola? (and RC Cola, and Doctor Pepper)
Chicken-Fired Steak?
Beef Barbecue?
Catfish?
Whiskey?
Peanut Butter?

Without us, the U.S. would not be half as nice.

And with the cuts in welfare, how will steak feed her kids without a job? These are serious problems we have here, people.

Oh come on. I kid! I kid!

I see your point totally, but even reading the OP’s comments without asking questions it is obvious they effectively shut her out and forced her to look at the total unacceptability of her comments and gained tremendous cohesiveness in the process. In the long run this was probably more effective than a shouting match which would just have allowed her to indignantly defend her stupidity.

Yes, I would be proud to be a part of Sampiro’s group. Maybe it even forced the old c**ze* to think but that may be hoping for too much. Regardless, the group prevailed and some of the younger students in the play may have learned a valuable lesson. There is always more than one way to take a stand.

*am I the only one who doesn’t know what this means? could I have another vowel please? :wink:

The two missing vowels in the middle are “oo”. It’s a not-particularly-polite slang term for the femal genitalia.

I’ll give you an “O”. Use it twice.

Bob, you’re a Northerner. Shouting is an acceptable conversational tool in the North. Not so much down in Georgia. And, as others have pointed out, the cold shoulder worked quite effectively.
John Corrado
Who wishes more people accepted his statement that Maryland is part of the South, dammit. South Lite, but South.

Sampiro: *One of the members of the cast, about whom I’ll only say she is 60sh, very wealthy (rich husband), and not Southern born (though she has lived here for most of her adult life), said “I don’t see how anybody can doubt evolution. Hell, all you have to do is look at the gorillas and chimps and then look at all these black people around here. They’re practically the same.”

Pretty much every jaw dropped. I was one of several people who got up, politely but coldly excused myself and walked away rather than turn really nasty. Others just sat silently seething then changed the subject completely. ALL were clearly pissed.*

Pissed because the old c**ze was insulting black people, or because she was defending evolution?
:d&r: :smiley: … whoops, they’re gaining… :eek:

After I moved away from the big city into rural America I’ve heard the word nigger a bit more frequently. For the most part the only people I’ve heard use it were folks in their 60’s or older. I suppose I could say something about it and raise a stink but why bother? These people are old, set in their ways, and they’re going to be dead soon anyway.

In the bigger pictures I don’t think people are comfortable with confrontation. How many times have you seen someone demonstrate rude behavior in public without being reprimanded by anyone else?

Marc

Maryland is definitely part of the South. People don’t start talking funny until DC.

South lite my ass. The Eastern Shore is more southern than many places in Georgia. It’s a fair approximation of coastal Carolina. And the western parts are just northern West Virginia. The Feds had those cannons on Federal Hill aimed at the city during the War for a reason, you know.

Maybe you need a new slogan: Maryland, you know it’s Southern because the food is so good!

Bob, your prejudice is showing. Southerners voted for Bush because just like all the other agrarian states. The Mountain states were just as big a block for Bush. It’s rural versus urban, with the suburbs being the swing part. These folks, by and large, bought the argument that Bush would make the country safer.

Now, hopefully sometime in the not to distant future the group at a play in rural Georgia will be just as upset when someone makes a virulently homophobic comment.

You’re actually counting Robert E. Lee as someone to be proud of? Some of the others had a hard time of things in the south. What happened April 4, 1968 in Memphis? How many of the others fled the South or at least moved to New Orleans or Key West because of the non-Southern atmosphere of those cities?

Plus, Dr. Pepper, beef barbecue and Chicken-Fried Steak are from Texas. Texas may not be much better; but it ain’t the South.

Bushmills has had a license to distill Whiskey since 1608 and distilling goes back to at least 1276. Whiskey from the South? Please.

Peanut Butter was first developed in the 1890s nearly simultaneously in Saint Louis and Battle Creek, Michigan. Being worked on by Kellogg and some nut lover in St. Louis.

Southern? I don’t think so.
What else you got?

It’s really pretty in the South. I took a train trip and a bus trip down through the South, and I was awed by the beauty. It’s different from the beauty in California (with its beaches and Yosemite National Park), but it’s beautiful. And I’m picky.

I’ve visited Atlanta a few times, and I really liked it. Good art stores. You can tell a lot by a city by the quality of its art stores. Atlanta (at least last time I was there), passes muster on that regard.

I have good feelings about the South for the most part. But it’s like any other area—good things, bad things. I see no reason why Southerners shouldn’t be proud.