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Allies to U.S. Southerners

I organized a table1 for U.S. Southerners2 and allies at the Middle-Class Conference. Some of my beloveds are from the South, and it has been hard watching how they struggle, particularly when they come North. They liken3 their trip to a one-step class downgrade, meaning that if they are middle-class, they are treated as if they are working-class. Some of them become louder and more “inappropriate”; others “go small” and get defensive. Either way, they don’t get close to other folks and we don’t get them or their thinking.

I invited the U.S. Southerners to tell us what people do or say that is hard for them. In addition to the one-step class downgrade, hard things included implying that they are stupid, romanticizing the South, making fun of Southern food, and assuming that racism is harsher in the South. Most U.S. Southerners have had someone ask them, directly or indirectly, why they still live “there,” as if all the sensible people have moved out of the South. This is not a small thing to Southerners.

Sue Lippert
Portland, Maine, USA 

1 In this context, a table means a discussion at mealtime on a particular topic.
2 People from the U.S. South—the states in the current United States that seceded from the United States in 1860 and 1861, leading to the U.S. Civil War
3 Liken means compare.

Last modified: 2014-10-06 18:52:59+00