Of course, in the 21st century, the world – the United States included – is far different than it was in the mid-nineteenth century. Today borders are far more porous, with people moving from place to place within a country, not to mention coming in from other countries.
The South is different. No matter how many foreigners, or even people from elsewhere within the U.S. itself, migrate there, they will never be Southerners. It doesn’t matter how long they stay there. If you weren’t born there, if you don’t have “people” there, you’ll never feel like the place truly belongs to you.
This fact is not something the locals shy away from admitting. Just ask any Southerner, and they’ll gladly tell you. They’re proud to be Americans, they’re proud to be Virginians or Texans. But they’re also proud of belonging to a community that’s larger than the state in which they live but smaller than the country that houses it.
It’s not national patriotism, or state pride. It’s loyalty to a place where old habits die hard and memories are as long as elephants’. They’re part of a region that is completely immersed by its own history that it is sometimes threatened to be drowned by it, and each and every one of them is determined to pass that history on to the next generation.
As such, Southern culture is no less separate than what you might call “American culture.” The food is different, the music is different, the customs are different, and yes, even the parties are different.
A region so rich in history and traditions could not have helped but to develop its own ideas on what constitutes a good time.
Romare Bearden, an artist born in Charlotte, North Carolina, said, “You should always respect what you are and your culture because if your art is going to mean anything, that is where it comes from.” The same could be said to apply in a broader sense to the things we create. We are a product of where we come from and our culture, and that’s reflected in the way we act in all aspects of life, big and small alike.
You’ve heard the stereotypes about “yokels” and “bumpkins.” The truth? The South marches to the beat of its own drum, and is often misunderstood by people who have no desire to delve deeper into its rich cultural tapestry, and to discover for themselves what makes it tick.