Actually, Not Everyone in the South is Racist

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The South often gets a bad rap for being a stronghold of racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. This opinion is pretty common in the West. Jennifer, a professor at a southern university, recently visited her home state of California -- and was surprised by how often people were shocked and horrified that she would leave the Bay Area for the land of Dixie. See how she reacted and then read the full post at Mixed Race America.

What I found myself doing, in other words, was defending the South. Perhaps what I was doing was defending my own little corner of the South, but none-the-less, I felt like I had to correct the stereotypes, misperceptions, and arrogance of my questioners. Especially since my husband is born and bred in this area (I do refer to him as Southern Man for a reason), and he speaks with a Southern accent, as do his family. As do many of my students, friends, and neighbors.

The thing is, I was one of those people not too long ago. I would have said any or all of those things. And I'm embarrassed and slightly ashamed about what a snob I was--about how condescending I was about anything that was outside of my California bubble. And I must say that in terms of a more nuanced understanding of race relations, of stereotypes, of white privilege and class privilege and all of those intersections (like regional privilege), confronting my own misperceptions and misconceptions of the South has made me a better anti-racist educator.


Birdhouse at Houmas Plantation in Louisiana, Shutterstock

Read more from Defending the South at Mixed Race America

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