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RE anti-south flamewars-it's not a southern thing, it's a rural thing.

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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:19 PM
Original message
RE anti-south flamewars-it's not a southern thing, it's a rural thing.
First disclaimer: I am a southerner, with extended family still living exclusively in the south.

I watch these flame wars go round and round and round on DU, and they're upsetting for both sides. I hate the stereotypes with a passion, but I also recognize that there are some legitimate complaints about ignorance and racism.

Those complaints are countered by protests that ignorance and racism are rampant in ALL parts of the country, and that's certainly true. What rarely gets pointed out, however, is that ignorance and racism are especially problematic in rural areas, be they north or south. Because the south is traditionally more agrarian than the north, there rural communities there obviously outnumber those in the north, but they do exist all over the country. The stereotypes aren't particularly new, and aren't even uniquely American--just off the top of my head, I can give examples of the country bumpkin appearing in literature at least as far back as Shakespeare (and probably much further back than that if I dug around for references).

This speaks to a problem that we can't deny--and need to remember isn't endemic only to the south--but it's also an opportunity. In all the hyperbole that fuels the campaigns on national security and likeability and every other superficial issue, only rarely will a candidate or interest group talk about extending opportunities--most especially for education and technology--to rural areas. It's the isolation and lack of access to technology that feeds this ignorance and keeps the stereotypes very real and very alive. And it doesn't just hurt those living in rural areas--it holds back our country as a whole and hurts us all.

It's up to us, I suppose, to push our officials to actually DO something about this problem, and our party is the one that must do so. The GOP certainly won't--they've been successfully using Nixon's "southern strategy" (which would more correctly be called a "rural strategy"), and they aren't going to stop any time soon. So what do we do? What kind of programs do we need to push for? How can we address the root problems that continue to feed the ignorance and the bigotry?
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Melodybe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for posting, this proud liberal Mississippian appreciates it.
I swear the definition of pragmatism is growing up liberal in the south.

Dad was at Woodstock and marched with MLK, my freeptard family is praying for us.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. I don't know that facts support the idea that ignorance is worse
in rural areas.

Ignorance is quite severe in most cities and suburban areas as well.

I am often frustrated and disappointed by the easy stereotypes promulgated by the press. Most journalists live in urban areas, and they seem to find southerners and rural people to be somewhat alien and therefore inferior.

Even when southerners or rural folks are portrayed in a positive light, they are portrayed as "cute" or "eccentric." The media feeds these stereotypes in movies, articles, photos, etc.

It just isn't true. I've lived in rural, urban, and suburban neighborhoods, and seen both ignorance and tolerance in all places. I've lived in the north and the south, and seen all sides in both places.

It's the attitude and the ignorance that are at fault, not the places.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Of course there's ignorance in cities, too. But think about it...
....that ignorance is perpetuated by limited access to education/technology and/or economics, just as it is in rural areas. Of course not everybody who lives in a rural area is an ignorant racist--and I don't think I suggested they are. But there's a measurable prevalence of that kind of attitude in rural areas--there's always a nugget of truth to any stereotype.

I agree with you completely that the stereotypes are perpetuated unfairly--but until we address the root problems that generate those stereotypes, they aren't going to go away.
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. I think we agree in general.
I just like to argue. Grin.
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Bombtrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. One thing this people need to understand
is that there isn't a pervasive amount of mockery in the national media and pop culture toward northern, westcoast, or southwest suburbanites and urbanites. That is what is presented as normal most of the time. When southerners, as well as other people who arn't from those areas or don't relate to or know any of those people see themselves being stereotyped as dumb and ignorant all of the time, a huge resentment factor builds up. And the GOP more than anyone has capitalized on that.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
5. My first year living in NH
I discovered that they had just as many rednecks-per-acre as we ever thought about having in Alabama.
They just had different accents and drove older trucks.
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Bombtrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. New Hampshire conservatism is alot more economic-based than most
of the south, which is more socially driven. Even though they do elect economically and socially conservative senators, they elect them because of the pocket books.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Won't argue your point, but I'm talking about how they act,
not how/why they vote.
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BlueJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
6. I agree.....When I lived in Minnesota (before ColeAssman)
...Minneapolis was fairly Liberal and Hip.

On the other hand, if you went to the Rural sections of the state such as Brainard, you were headed into "Hick-City" ..of course not
everyone but generally speaking, these folks vote for the Repugs.....
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carolinayellowdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
8. Most NC blue counties are rural and eastern
Whereas the two most populous and urbanized, Mecklenburg and Wake, are red (in terms of the 2k election.)

I recently heard a black author from eastern NC say that race relations were better in the South than elsewhere in the country. This was always my impression too but was dismissed as "anecdotal" by the bashers here. This author, Randall Kenan, spent 7 years visiting African American communities and individuals all over the US, and the resulting book Walking on Water was highly acclaimed. So his judgment deserves some respect.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #8
15. Durham,Chapel Hill, and Asheville
Edited on Thu May-06-04 04:57 PM by supernova
and sourrounding areas of the State are traditionally dem. My county, Orange County, as well as Durham Country, both traditionally go Democratic, as does Asheville and environs.

We are here, we just have to get out the vote more. The repubs are beating us to the punch on this issue.

edit: suburban, gated-development types tend to be Repub. That would explain the two most populous areas going Repub.
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Katarina Donating Member (753 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
9. Wow, I live in a rural area
I live here because I choose to. I don't want to live in the city where the cookie-cutter houses are so close together they can hear when the toilet gets flushed and complain because my 4 dogs bark or my radio is too loud. I talk to people that live in town (Daytona Beach etc...) that have access to cable TV and high speed internet who are completely ignorant to the things going on in the world. Granted, I pay a hell of a lot more so that I can be informed (satellite internet and DishNetwork). No matter where you live - North/South/East/West - City/suburbs/rural...whatever....there are ignorant people. And to be completely honest I see more bigotry in the city than I do out here in the country. Some people don't want to change. They don't want to bother their beautiful minds with such mundane things. They are the ones that turn on the 6 o'clock news at night and feel that's all they need to hear.
I live in Florida, in a manufactured home...30 miles from the nearest "town" and the day Bu$h was Selected I sat down in my living room and cried and told my husband he would ruin our country. Not too bad for someone that lives in a rural area huh?
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
11. I Disagree
I am from South Carolina, all of my family is from South Carolina, and half my wife's family lives in Georgia. We now live in a part of West Virginia that is as rural as rural gets. This rust to support of neo-conservatism and blindly associating it with a religious mission is not a rural thing, it is a southern thing.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:45 PM
Response to Original message
13. Only one state accommodates rascists, ignorance, and prejudice.
It's a state of mind.
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Katarina Donating Member (753 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Perfect!
Thank you! I could not agree more!
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nonconformist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
16. The flame wars have been upsetting for me too
because I feel like I'm both.

I was born and raised in Michigan, married a man from Kentucky and now live here.

I will say this - I've met PLENTY of "redneck", gun toting, NASCAR-lovin', racist as hell people in Michigan. At the same time, I've met plenty of open minded, liberal, good-hearted people in Kentucky.

I know of rural towns in northern Michigan that are on-par with what they're saying about the W. Virginian town that Pointy Girl is from.

Then again, while my rural southern town is overwhelmingly religious we're a blue county in a red state.

I've known people from large cities that are racist and ignorant as well. I think that in the end, idiocy knows no geography.
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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:56 PM
Response to Original message
17. Hey, I'm in Louisville, originally from Richmond, Ky. Where are
you? Personally I believe that there is a reason that people think that Southerners and New Englanders can be ignorant--the reason, an idiot from Texas/Maine, known as GWB. Makes total sense when you put that idiot in the mix, n'est pas?
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