Racism in the South

Come on now, is this really necessary?

We should be open about such things so everyone is perfectly clear… the south is suffering because you are not getting the best and brightest because of the racism and hatered that we see.

I wouldn’t take a job in the south, because from the outside the south looks like a place that has lots of lovely people and a small number of vocal, violent bigots who tend to kill people they don’t like, such as myself.


Speaking as someone who grew up in the deep South, escaped when I could, but still must visit semi-regularly, I can say that Rob’s statement is accurate.


All of those things describe me as well, but I don’t think of the south that way.

But I’ll defer to experts like you, @beschizza, and @Avery_Thorn


Trigger warning: reports of homophobia, racism, and anti-semitism.

I was born in WV. Deep. I went to university there. Moved out when I was in my early 20’s.

Last time I went through South Carolina (November '18), I stopped at a gas station for a drink. A gas station I’ve stopped in at several times over the years.

Some gubber in cammo looking like a y’allqueda member was at the checkout, talking to the clerk, about his gun collection and how he just wanted to shoot all them damn faggot libs, and how he was jus’ itch’n to do so. He also wanted to shoot all them Jews and all them n—.

The clerk was just there, trying not to make him mad, as this guy stood there for 20 minutes talking about this. I don’t think the clerk necessarily disagreed with him, just that it wasn’t seemly to talk about such things here at the shop.

So, as one of them there faggot libs, standing there with my Cherwine; do you think I’d want to go back? Think I want to go buy a house there? Think I want to take a job there?

You may not think of the south that way. But a lot of people do. A whole lot of people do.


There are racists everywhere, including, yes, coastal Louisiana.

But just keep defending Rob’s unnecessary stereotyping.


I was just giving my impression of the general vibe of Lake Charles, a mid-size southern town, about 20 years ago. It doesn’t carry to any specific individuals, for whom there is always something more specific than a general vibe to go on.

I don’t know if it’s the same throughout the south from experience, because I’ve only been to a few places in the south. But by understanding I think the racism is significantly better in large cities, visibly worse in smaller towns, and invisibly worse in suburbs.

The heat, though, I’ve got you there.


This holds true even for Ontario, Canada. My personal opinion is when you move to larger cities with more diversity, you meet “other” folks “not like you”, which helps people realize firsthand that people are people, and diversity can be a plus, not a minus. Arguably one of the most diverse large cities in the world, Toronto, with nearly 50% of the population having been born outside Canada, revels in that diversity and culture, while the small towns of rural Ontario share none of that diversity and racism abounds - not only to the “foreign-born”, but to Aboriginals as well.

Racism is a universal blight, but I think some cultures, governments, and areas are better at keeping it out of governance and mainstream acceptance than others.


It’s not stereotyping to point out that the dominant culture that one is likely to encounter in certain geographical locations is racist to its core.


(To put this up front I’ve seen Rob’s correction, but I think this might be a worthwhile thread on its own?)

As someone who’s lived in NC pretty much all of his life, there are definitely spots like that. I haven’t quite had that story myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did some time.

What I (and I assume OP) took issue with was the implication that this is a southern thing. Rob’s corrected it but I’d say you’re just as likely to get this kinda story in Indiana, Ohio, central PA, eastern Oregon, etc. There was a news story a few weeks back about how a mayor in Canada was facing pressure over banning confederate merch in stores in her (? I think? I don’t remember the story fully) own town. There’s a kernel of truth in it in that the south did secede and was most blatant in its bigotry, but it definitely doesn’t have a monopoly on it.

I feel like a lot of the time (obviously not from you,) it’s used as a scapegoat to ignore your problems locally. “Oh, the country’s fine as long as you avoid the south,” or with some of the BLM stuff I had people telling my friends up in Portland, OR “I never thought it was this bad up here,” etc.

The dominant culture that one is likely to encounter in the entire “developed world” is racist to its core. To pretend that the wealth of Europe and the Americas wasn’t built on the enslavement and oppression of non-white people is ridiculous.

tl;dr: Yes the south is racist, but I feel like these kinds of posts often have an implied “Not like us up over here” which is also blatantly wrong. The south featured its bigotry most often but it seems like these days they’re just as likely to come from the midwest, Montana, or central PA. Hell, the capital of Oregon has streets adopted by 3%er militias. This isn’t a southern problem so much as a white problem.


True. But there’s a difference between the volume of proudly-in-your-face ignorance and bigotry that one finds in parts of the deep South and that in other parts of the country where, yes, racism is still ingrained.

Having lived in a couple of those places, I observe:

Downstate Illinois is part of the South. Take away Chicagoland (and Champaign-Urbana, which is a Chicagoland outpost in the cornfields) and you’re in Dixie - you hear it in the language, and see it in the behaviour. Which extends to White people who are Not Like Us - I can recall having an Illinois punk in a pickum-up truck run me off the road on my bicycle, and peg a beer bottle out the window at me as he drove away from the crash, for no better reason than cycling is for pussies. (While I welcome women to cycling, I’d never use that unfortunate synecdoche to refer to any human being.)

Appalachia is also southern. The old saw that Pennsylvania has Philly in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in the middle comes from somewhere. It even extends into New York. My brother’s farm (in the upper Delaware Valley) is in a place known locally as ‘Deep Hollow’ (You’ve heard of silent letters? ‘Hollow’ has an invisible ‘R’ on the end.)

The difference between North and South, as some wag here observed, is the difference between a dog whistle and a vuvuzela. Racism and yahooism are ingrained everywhere, but in the North, they’re more “polite” about it.


Agreed for sure on that. My understanding was that in places like illinois and central PA it was as bad as down here. Maybe not? I haven’t spend much or any time and rely on what I’ve been told there


Perhaps, but on the other hand, a visit to Tennessee several years back over a Labor Day weekend showed me just how Northern racism works: fewer burning crosses and Confederate flags, and more redlining. I felt, in larger cities at least, that the South was more integrated than (most certainly) the Chicago area.


I went on a road trip from Philly to Pittsburgh by car once. I’d never do it again, though, and taking the train makes it easy to bypass the rural areas. My ex drove his new sports car, which did not help. Hadn’t seen looks like that from strangers since I left Boston (shudders).

My last trip to NC was in the '90s, but I hope to visit family there post-pandemic. I’m not familiar with any city in that state, though. My cousins live in Rutherford County, where everyone seemed friendly - probably because of the difference in population.


Thank you for this. I wasn’t defending the racist south.

Depends a lot on where you are. As I understand it things are only as explicit as any other city here in Raleigh. Go a few miles out to Fuquay-Varina and there’s a guy with a 1488 vanity plate though. It gets pretty wild once you’re out of the big cities.


That dog don’t hunt. I get why you added the irony quotes, but “polite” racism is still racism.

One of the reasons I left, true.

Here’s what I have a problem with:

“You” (meaning the south I guess, although I don’t live there anymore) are not getting the “best and brightest” because the northerners (“we”) see hatred and racism down there.

The south, apparently, is incapable of producing its own “best and brightest” and must recruit them from more enlightened areas of the country. But, the elites shun the south for its racism, and thus the south suffers for its loss.

People kill people in the south for pretty much the same reasons they do everywhere.


It’s not that they produce none, it’s brain drain. The best and the brightest tend to leave. Not universally, there are engineering opportunities in Texas, so my conservative in-law relatives ended up there instead of having to move out to California. But I don’t know anyone that I grew up with or went to school with who is both successful and still in Louisiana.

Edit: To be fair I’ll add that I did have a friend with a good job as a lawyer in New Orleans for a while but he still eventually left.