Registered: Sep 2004
07-27-06 05:30 PM
It is no secret that many people from the Northeast despise the Southern states. We see time and time again threads on this very website where people from the region north of the Mason-Dixon (and even California who like to consider themselves in line with the North), calling Southerners rednecks and the like. They express their distaste for the South on many occasions, because they believe that the South lives in a very backwards society. The sad stain that was slavery is the reason that is most often quoted by the North as their disdain for the South. While bigotry or racism if you prefer remained a serious problem in the region for many years, I do not believe that this is the primary reason for the anger that is expressed from the North to this day. There are a couple of factors that we can look at to explain this.
The first factor has to do with the reluctance that the South had towards letting the North tell them what their states could and could not do regarding slavery. When the South lost control of the federal government, the fear was that the states would have to abide by the federal government's laws which definitely were moving towards an anti-slavery position. The South did not want to be told by a central government how to run their states. This was a time of extremely strong beliefs in self-governance. Was the South right for wanting to keep slavery a viable option? Of course not. That is why we had a war in this country. However, the opportunists from the North (commonly known as carpetbaggers), did little to help the cause of African-Americans (known as freedmen at the time). They started out speaking of equal rights for the freedmen, but soon let the influence of railroad investors from the North sway them into the creation of segregation. So the North, in it's push to exploit the resources of the South basically put the freedmen right back into the same position they were prior to being freed.
This of course was also known as the "reconstruction" period in the South. The North, believing itself to be superior to the South after the war, not only exploited Southern whites, but did nothing for the blacks. This false sense of superiority though has continued to this day, and plays a big role in the North's attitude towards the South. However, I do not think this is the main reason that the North does not like the South.
The main reason for this, I believe, is that the North is jealous of the rich culture that the South possesses. Regardless of race, Southern pride is stronger than any other region's pride. It is unwavering. There is good reason for this too. So much of the entire country's culture stems from the South. I would say that the most prevalent example is music.
The oldest form of traditional music in North America combined the styles of Europe and Africa. The music was called "old-time music and basically started with Fiddlin John Carson from the Appalachians. Then there is the creation of blues music. Created in the Mississippi Delta region, this is the music that influenced the creation of Rock and Roll, the most influential music in the world.
All of the greatest musicians can trace their music's roots back to this area. Most of the greatest musicians came from this area. Ray Charles, Robert Johnson, BB King, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, and Elvis all are from the South. They are the influence for the greatest bands on earth. From the Stones to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles. Without the South, the British invasion in music would never have occurred.
Along with music, the greatest american novel was written by a southern woman about the South. Pulitzer Prize Winner Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind. For people who do not understand how influential this book was, in the late 30's, if you had not read this book you were considered illiterate.
The cultural richness of the South along with the South's pride are what really angers the North. The North no longer has an identity. What in this day and age can we say is great about the region. There is no real legacy that the North brings to the table. The only thing the North can do is continue to talk down on the South. As if people from the South even cared. After going to Boston and Philly, I don't believe the North can even say that it is the beacon of racial tolerance. I heard more racial slurs thrown around in the North than I ever did in the South.
It makes me wonder if they'll ever get over their insecurity and start treating the South with a little respect.