What is "Southern?"

My name is SnoopyFan, and I am southern.
I was born and raised in Kentucky.
I grew up in a somewhat strict southern Baptist home.
I like RC Colas and Moon Pies.
Chicken should be fried, not baked. Same with fish.
Gravy is a beverage.
If you don’t have potatoes in the house, you don’t have anything in the house to eat!
I believe if someone comes to your house, you should feed them. And you should try to find out who their parents are you might be related to them. You should also know by the end of the visit if they know the Lord.
I react to death by cooking something.
I have an accent.
So anyway …

What makes someone “southern”? The traits I’ve listed are common to most southerners, but those who don’t share all of my southern traits may very well still be southern.

What is the defining characteristic, if any? Religion? Food preferences? It can’t just be about location because even if I moved to NYC today, I would be southern till the day I died.

What are other southern traits that I’ve forgotten?

I don’t think there is a quintessential “Southern” trait. It’s more of a gestalt.

What Ringo said.

I’m as Southern as you are despite only having an accent and liking RC cola in common with you, going by your examples.

I knew a girl in college who thought she wasn’t a Southerner.

I liked to poke fun at her, telling her that Virginia counts as the South (the capital of the Confederacy was in Virginia, after all). She argued that she was from Fairfax, which is part of the Washington, D.C. metroplex, and that D.C. was not the South.

I pointed out that while she didn’t have a strong Southern accent, she did use ‘y’all’ with great regularity. She claimed she didn’t use that when she was growing up, and she’d just adopted the habit when she’d gone to Texas A&M for a year.

I decided she lost the argument when she decided to make up a batch of Hush Puppies, using her mother’s recipe. Anyone who’s mother makes Hush Puppies is a Southerner, in my opinion.

Me.

But moonpies are nasty.

Did someone say Hush Puppies? Heaven. Y’all know how they got that name, right?
Another Southern trait is hospitality - waving at strangers as you pass them driving down a lonely road in the Panhandle of Texas, for example. Not that you Northerners aren’t hospitable!

Yeah good point about the waving thing, Blonde.

The story I heard was that hush puppies were invented by southern Catholics (all 20 of them, hehe). They would have fish frys during Lent, and the congregation would show up with their kids and sometimes their dogs. The dogs would go nuts over the smell of the fish, so they would fry up the leftover batter and throw them to the dogs and say “Hush puppy!”

Well, at least you folks are finally admitting that YOU’RE the ones who talk funny. :wink:

Another Southern trait this Damn Yankee has noticed: a certain confusion over the outcome of the Civil War.

The Wau-ah Between the States, if you please.

You know you’re Southern when…

…you say, “Shit!” with two syllables. :smiley:

My boss is from South Carolina. Oy.

Someone once described the unwritten “rules” Southerners live by as Dixie Bushido (it was in a Pit Thread). If you understood what they were talking about, you’re probably Southern.

Major traits:

You have an appreciation for food, especially the fried/fatty kind.
Even now, you mutter about “Yankees” from time to time.
You have detailed conversations with strangers.
You don’t think it’s weird to HAVE detailed conversations with strangers.
You have the accent.
You don’t walk, you kind of amble.

That’s pretty close to the legend as I know it - as I’ve heard it, when the cowboys herded up the cows and sat around the fire cooking, they would throw the cornbread batter bits to the dogs and say “Hush, puppies!” Or maybe it was the coyotes they threw the hush puppies to? At any rate, hush puppies with stick butter rock. My family used to go to the Duck Inn (somewhere Northeast of Dallas, past a big lake) and eat hush puppies and fried catfish. The days have long passed since I’ve put that sort of decadent food in my mouth, but oh my.
Let’s not forget Key Lime Pie, too!

All this talk about food reminds me - damn, I miss Zen.

Georgia (or Jaw-juh, if you will) refers to it as the Wau-ah of Southern Independence.

As a longtime Northern Virginian, I know what she’s saying. But we didn’t abandon the South; the South disowned us. Northern Virginia is characterized by the same general transience as DC and the rest of the Metropolitan area: Most of the adults there weren’t born there, are from families that came from somewhere else, moved there for a job with the government or a government contractor, and plan to retire elsewhere. There is no accent specific to the DC area, few locals claim a blood tie to Pocahontas (which is a First Family of Virginia affectatipon) and it’s really hard to find a drugstore that sells BC Powder.

A little ironic, since General Lee (the ultimate Ur Southerner)'s personal army was the Army of Northern Virginia.

The War of Northern Aggression, folks, that’s what it was.

Being from the South (oddly, I’m from just a couple counties over from Snoopy’s birthplace) I have to say that the following things make one Southern:

  1. Saying “fixin’ to” or “thereabouts.”

  2. Knowing what Sun-Drop is and having drunk at least one.

  3. A firm belief that anything can be deep-fried.

  4. An appreciation for the finer points of fishing shows.

Another thing. In addition to being unclear on the result, Southerners sure got funny names for the American Civil War.

What?! No mention of Sweet Tea yet? Y’all should be ashamed! :wink:

I’m from the Maryland part of the D.C. “metroplex” ( :confused: they must have brought in that word after I left) and we certainly did say “y’all”. It’s the only Southernism I’m aware of in my native dialect, though, and we didn’t drawl it out the way real Southerners do.

As for Hush Puppies, isn’t that a brand of shoe?

There is no such thing as sweet tea. There is tea and unsweet tea.

I’m a southerner, but where I live 2/3rds of the people here were born somewhere else.

YESSSSSSSS, sweet tea!

And deep fried corn dogs! Yum!