Culture of the Southern US
A few aspects of southern culture are religion, heritage, prejudice, and tradition. Many southerners are known to be quite religious, and we have quite a long history with the topic of prejudice and discrimination.
- Many southerners are religious, mostly Southerner Baptist Christians, and there are many things that go along with their religion in their everyday lives, like celebrating Christmas by going to church Christmas Eve night to hear about the birth of Jesus – while others may just celebrate for fun, praying before meals, and going to church every Sunday. A lot of them also have closer ties to their families, both blood and their “church families.” These bonds usually come from spending so much time with them, and learning about the religion through their parents, as many kids share the same religious beliefs as them. Religion may also influence their values, as Christianity teaches acceptance of everyone, and being kind to those around you. Many people have such close ties with their church families because they are raised around, and sometimes by, the people in their church.
- Many people from the south don’t realize that they came from the rich, aristocratic, upper class Londoners, Ireland and Scotland. That’s where our accents come from, and when people hear southern accents, they usually assume that the person speaking isn’t as intelligent as they really are, but if the same person had a British accent, it would likely be presumed that the person speaking is more intelligent than they may be. Other parts of the south, like Louisiana, have a separate accent from the northern parts of the south, and their dialect comes from Acadian and Canadian French, and some still speak Cajun French, which also helped influence the Cajun accent. Southern ancestry might also help explain our mannerisms, like how we tend to treat most people kindly on the outside, but also tend to have prejudice in our hearts and not be so kind in private or in our minds.
- There are many traditional things in the South, including farming, education systems, manners, and guise. Education is tied in very closely to farming, or at least it used to be. During the period of settlement of America, when most people lived and worked on farms, children would more often work on the farm at home and not go to school during much of the year, especially the summer, and today we don’t have most kids working on farms all the time (though many still do), but we still have a lot of time off, mimicking the past. Many manners that we have today are also traditional, such as southern hospitality, which has been expressed for may years, making neighbors dinners and trying to help people out however you can, and is something we are known for in the south. In the past, the “Southern Belles” dressed as you would likely see women dressed in London, with large dresses and colourful bonnets. We don’t dress like that now, obviously, but we still have a guise people identify us with, such as cowboy boots and matching hats, bandannas, flannels and blue jeans, etc.
- Sadly enough, the South is also usually associated with racism, homophobia, and generally treating others badly if they are different. This isn’t true for everyone, of course, but we do have a history of slavery and misconduct towards African-Americans, Asians, Mexicans, etc.
This is the confederate flag, which was the flag of the south during the American Civil War. Many have argued over the issue of flying this flag, some arguing that it only stands for a time when America was divided over slavery; the south was for it, the north was against it, and others say that the flag is simply part of southern heritage. In this time and age, however, we are known to constantly say how great we are that slavery and racism doesn’t exist anymore, but really, neither of them are completely eradicated. Both are illegal, but many still have prejudice against people of colour and use racial slurs freely.
Homophobia and transphobia is also an issue, with some ignoring the existence of either, or both, and others rejecting the validity of people who identify as anything other than cisgender and heterosexual. Though most places have accepted these non-conforming individuals, it’s still a topic many are extraordinarily uncomfortable with, and most southerners, especially older citizens, have trouble treating these topics seriously and with respect.