I'm gonna throw out a topic that has popped up in popular culture recently. I am a white, southern, male who generally votes republican. Yet somehow it is often deemed discriminatory when I celebrate my culture. It seems that my culture in particular has an extra bad rap amongst Americans. 

I understand that there are some skeletons in my collective-cultural past. But every culture has skeletons. Every culture has savage events in their past, but that does not make it right to deem the entire culture wrong. Somehow it seems that our musical achievements, literary achievements, culinary norms, and values are looked down upon by other parts of America.

One more point, I have no concept of this so called "white male privilege". I grew up in a trailer in a very poor, rural part of Alabama, yet somehow I am already at an advantage in the vocational world?

What are y'alls thoughts on this? Is white southern culture regarded wrongly by other parts of America? If so, why? What can we do to change our cultural stigma besides compromising our values?

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Replies to This Discussion

You can't win.


Stereotypes exist for a reason.

Disregarding different cultures is pretty much the default mode of.. i want to say humans but its other species like apes, too. That we encounter different cultures with prejudice and disrespect is actually a step forward. Historical different cultures normaly apporach each other with clubs.

Some prejudices might be true, some might not but overall we are more or less programmed to distrust other cultures. Thats why this is a thing that cant really be solved unless we get rid of culture itself, which would be horrible.

One more point, I have no concept of this so called "white male privilege". I grew up in a trailer in a very poor, rural part of Alabama, yet somehow I am already at an advantage in the vocational world?

Statistically, yes. Individually - probably doesn't seem that way. 

Ultimately - a few points.
1. As Will said - you can't win. For a variety of reasons, some complex, some no more so than 'that's the way humans are.' 

2. When people visibly and loudly, do or say stupid things, they act as ambassadors of their culture. We all have them - and they give the rest of us all a bad name. Including, but not limited to dredging up the worst of the past mistakes for fresh public critique.

3. All groups are subjected to varying degrees of cultural discrimination. Sometimes it takes a more public role than others. I would just be thankful that it doesn't have legislative teeth, the way that can sometimes manifest. Sure, that doesn't make it ok - but it is what it is, and what it is, is annoying but relatively benign compared to what many groups face elsewhere. 

The comedian Jeff Foxworthy (who's a born & bred Georgian) has a bit about stereotyping Southerners.  He's adopts the thickest Georgia accent imaginable, and talks about how when someone talks like that, people subtract about 30 IQ points.  I can say, without qualification, that if you want to see cultural stereotyping in action, all you have to do is hear a number of my older relatives go on about Mexicans, Blacks, Filipinos, etc.  The real irony of being that five generations back, that part of the family actually were Mexicans.  As in native-born Mexicans.

On the flipside, there's another comedian (I forget his name) who has a routine about how people assume that guys with British accents are geniuses. Like, if you want to hire a good narrator for a documentary series, make sure he has a British accent cause everyone will believe what he says. Narrator: "Cocoa comes from the coconut." Viewer: "Oh yeah? I thought it came from the cocoa plant but you're the British guy so you must be right!" 

Sometimes, just sometimes.. there is nothing to say to your detractors but but this ...

 Fuck em'. 

Yet somehow it is often deemed discriminatory when I celebrate my culture. (...) What are y'alls thoughts on this?

I suppose it depends on what it is that you're doing to celebrate your culture. Could you give us examples?

In any event, keep in mind that there are some things you can't control. Even if you have perfectly innocent intentions, some people react a certain way and there's nothing you can do about it. For example, I'm French Canadian from outside of Québec. I (like almost all French Canadians from outside Québec) are not at all separatists. (A lot of people from Québec want that province to secede from Canada and for it to become its own country.) Historically, all French Canadians across the whole country have celebrated their French roots and culture on St. John the Baptist day. During the 60s and 70s, Québecois separatists hijacked this celebration and turned it into a political statement. So, today, even though French Canadians have been celebrating that day long before the separatist did their thing, and even though most French Canadians do not support separatism at all, a lot of Canadians react very strongly to St John the Baptist day celebrations of any kinds. We've explained countless times that it's got nothing to with separatism and nothing to do with any kind of animosity towards the English-speaking establishment but that only goes so far. That being said, there's only so much we can do. We accept that, despite our efforts to explain the situation, a lot of people are going to be pissed off about it and there's nothing we can do. We go on celebrating and we accept the reality. 

One more point, I have no concept of this so called "white male privilege". I grew up in a trailer in a very poor, rural part of Alabama, yet somehow I am already at an advantage in the vocational world?

I'm a straight white guy from a very poor neighbourhood with an extremely bad reputation so I often struggle with this concept, too. Simply put, for guys like you and I, all it really means is that a black guy from our exact same background and exact same situation has the additional challenge of having to deal with personal or systemic racial prejudice and discrimination that inevitably comes along with not being part of the dominant demographic. For example,  if guys like you and I became shop managers at one point, no one would ever question our qualifications by thinking "he probably just got the job because of affirmative action". Or, at a job interview for an entry-level position, chances are that no one looks at us and thinks "they were probably drug-dealing gang members at one point". Or, even less obviously / much more subtly, we have the advantage / privilege of being subconsciously familiar to the guy who's interviewing us; he might subconsciously prefer us as candidates because he feels like he gets us, like he can communicate with us, like we'd make a smooth transition in. To give you another example, going back to the French Canadian thing, I don't have a French Canadian accent; I sound like an everyday normal Canadian. So, to translate that concept of privilege, I have the English-Canadian privilege of appearing to be part of the dominant demographic. The privilege I get is that, when I go to job interviews, I feel subconsciously familiar to people, they don't assume that I've going to want weird-ass language accommodations, they don't judge my political beliefs and, if / when I get the job, people aren't going to assume that I only got it because management wanted to fill a quota of linguistic minorities (which is an actual thing up here, similar to affirmative action in the USA). Anyway, that's all it really means. It doesn't take away from your challenges and your struggles; it simply acknowledges that, compared to a black guy in your exact same scenario, you have an edge over him simply by being part of dominant demographic.    

Is white southern culture regarded wrongly by other parts of America? 

I don't know about the rest of America but, up here in Northern Canuckistan, Southern American culture is usually depicted negatively. That being said, our only source of exposure to Southern American culture is American Media. So I suspect that the rest of the USA probably views Southern culture poorly since that's how they depict it in their media. For whatever it's worth, Canadians who actually visit the South are usually very impressed with Southern American culture; they are always surprised to see how polite, friendly and welcoming Southernersare. Everyone I know who's actually been to the south has nothing but good things to say. But everyone who's never been bases themselves on what they've seen on TV and movies so they assume it's like Deliverance meets Duck Dynasty meets that "Get a brain morans" guy. 

By "celebrating our culture" I just mean dressing/acting like a southerner. Boots, big belt buckles, etc. I don't go overboard, but I'm proud of my heritage. I think what you said about the American media is what annoys me the most. We're all depicted as dumb rednecks. The fact is, we generally just have different skill sets/abilities than mainstream America

Hell... just say the words "White Pride".

The fact that most "white pride" groups are actually "non-white hate" groups doesn't really help. 


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