The American South is known for a lot of things, from the unbearable humidity in the summer to the classic Southern drawl that is instantly recognizable. There are also a lot of common stereotypes that are associated with the locals, labeling them as fat, lazy, extremists and racists. However, there are some things only people who grew up in the South would know. Being from the South, you know it is important not to clump this region into one definition, since it actually encompasses a diverse cultural landscape.
Here are a few points you know are true and will set the record straight.
1. You know that not everyone is fat
The South may be known as having some of the highest rates for obesity in the U.S. However, this does not mean that everyone living there is overweight. Healthy lifestyles are becoming the norm in big cities like New Orleans, Atlanta, and Nashville. Everything from yoga studios to juice bars are popping up everywhere. There was a study conducted by the University of Alabama which states that Southern people do not hold the highest rate of obesity in the country.
2. You know there is variety in the climate
There is often a misconception that the South is hot and humid all year around, but this is only true for the summer months, which can seem rightfully unbearable. The winter months are ideal because they are mild, without the typical snowfall that the East Coast and Midwest have to deal with. However, sometimes it does snow, but it is quite rare in the lower elevations.
3. You know that not everyone is racist
Unfortunately, racism is commonly associated with the Southern states. This is not fair because there are also a lot of open-minded individuals in this region. Racist individuals in the media (like Paula Deen) give Southerners a bad rap. Their behavior should not be an excuse to generalize a whole population.
4. You known that not everyone is strictly religious
The Bible Belt may be a commonly used term used to describe the religious influence on the politics of the South; however, this is a gross generalization. There may be a higher percentage of individuals who identify as Christians, but there are also those who are atheists.
5. You know there is plenty of diversity
People might think of the South in terms of Caucasian and African-American, but there are a lot of other minority communities as well. There is a good representation of Mexicans, Germans, Vietnamese, Cubans, and Puerto Ricans throughout the South.
6. You know not everyone is a Republican
It is a common belief that everyone is politically conservative in the South, but you know this is just not true. You know there are plenty of liberal-minded folk.
7. You know there is plenty of culture
It might be tempting to see the South as having one single culture that includes a lot of country music, fried foods, and whiskey. While all these things are part of Southern culture, there are also plenty of world-class art museums and music halls, like Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and Nashville’s Mercy Lounge. The Museum and Lounge have plenty of art and music from all different genres.
8. You know that not all the food is fried
Contrary to popular belief, not everything is thrown into the deep-frier. That said, some of the most delicious items truly are. However, there are also plenty of restaurants and cafes catering towards a healthier lifestyle.
9. You know not everyone is dumb
With prestigious universities like Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Tulane, and Duke, there is no shortage of intelligence in the South. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), which plays a vital role in keeping the U.S. healthy, is located in Atlanta. There are also big accounting firms in Charlotte that help keep the American banking industry afloat.
10. You know there are major industrial hubs
The East Coast is known for its banking and economics, while the West Coast is known for Silicon Valley, but that does not mean the South is lacking in important industries. Big giants like Boeing, Delta, Coca Cola, and Home Depot are just a few corporations that have their headquarters in the South.
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