Straight Outta The South


How do you see yourself? Is it how others see you? Your identity to others may not be what you think it is. Many stereotypes follow with your location, your appearance, and much more.

The south has a lot of assumed identity associated with it. Those who are not from the south may see southerners as uneducated, poor, fat, and racist people…YEEHAW!  Which from my experience, I have seen plenty of that. I think that most people who are not quite familiar with this region just associate us with the South’s negative repertoire.


 “Uneducated”

high-school-graduation-rate

Map of The USA documenting the statistics of high school gradates.

As you can see in the map I have found from here, the most relevant area of the tan color (indicating that the graduation rate is low) is in the south. If you drop out, you obviously don’t have the same amount of education time as those who did not drop out. Seeing that the states outside of the south are in the blue color, it means that we are less educated than them. Although out graduation rates are less than the rest of the US, it doesn’t mean that we are uneducated. People are still graduating. Surprise! Some people in the south want to break stereotypes and not be what others associate them to negatively be.


Poor

U.S. map of average household income.

U.S. map of median household income.

Outsiders from the south assume that the south is impoverished, or poor. The color red indicates the lowest number of income. As you can see, the south and the Appalachian mountains definitely have a lower income as opposed to the north and far west.


 “Fat”

U.S. map showing the

Map showing the obesity rates throughout the U.S.

This is a really obvious one. As shown in the map above, the south is totally the vast majority of land that has the dark red. The dark red represents the highest percentage rate, which is 31.9% to 43.9% of the population with obesity. The south really does have a lot of overweight people.


Now that I have shown plenty of statistics of the south, it’s time for my own findings and thoughts of the south. To be honest, I don’t like the south. I believe the reason I don’t enjoy living here is how the people living here act like they’re better than everyone else.


In the book, The Help, the sense of white supremacy is evident throughout the while story. One quote really stood out to me; on page 461, Aibileen and Mae Mobley have a conversation after she returns from school.

Today when I ask what she learn, Mae Mobley just say, “Nothing,” and stick her lip out.

“How you like your teacher?” I ask her.

“She’s pretty,” she say.

“Good,” I say. “You pretty too.”

“How come you’re colored, Aibileen?”

Now I’ve gotten this question a few times from my other white kids. I used to just laugh, but I wanted to get this right with her.

“Cause God made me colored,” I say. “And there ain’t another reason in the world.”

“Miss Taylor says kids that are colored can’t go to my school cause they’re not smart enough.”

Miss Taylor, the white teacher, obviously told students in her class that there were no blacks at their school because they were too dumb. When children are exposed to this type of mindset, they feel the sense that they are smarter than black people, which just leads to the idea of the whites being better than blacks. Luckily, Mae Mobley doesn’t believe that her teacher is right, but when you hear things like that every day, you’re going to start to believe it.


Personally, I have always lived here in Franklin, KY, which I believe is a part of the south. In my household, which consists of my parents and me, we have expressed extremely little “southern pride”, and no types of racism. Something associated to the south that can come across as southern pride, racism, or both, is the confederate flag.   Since I haven’t been exposed to that flag, I’m not going to live it. I know that many people just think it is a symbol to show how proud you are to be a “southerner,” but it does carry negative associations. I think if it offends any group of people, just find an alternative to show how pride you are. I find it absurdly ignorant how people still proudly use the flag, knowing that it has been the image and flag for a handful of hate groups, including the KKK. Or maybe they don’t know, since the south is so uneducated..haha.


The south has been known for slavery, racism, and white supremacy, but our history does not have to be our legacy. If the handful of people in the south did not have to be so extreme, maybe these types of issues wouldn’t be so prevalent in the south and we would have to worry about it.


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