Last week, I met a high school science teacher from Boston. He sat at the bar, slurping oysters, speaking with a voice loud enough to qualify as a long-distance phone call.
After he’d worked up a good glow, he announced, “Hey, you know what? You Southern folks aren’t as bad as I thought.”
This gathered confused looks.
“Yep,” he added. “I always thought Southerners were uneducated racists, with FryDaddies in their kitchen.”
The bar fell silent.
Even Cheryl, the bartender, who graduated from University of Alabama with a doctorate, got quiet.
“Jeezus Bryant,” said the man beside me. “What does my FryDaddy have to do with anything?”
This kind of notion is increasingly common above the Mason Dixon line, and it’s nothing short of sad. One study found an overwhelming percentage of Americans perceive Southern accents as unintelligent. And it doesn’t stop there. They also think Southerners are racist, sexist, and overweight.
Well, son of a biscuit.
I don’t care what you’ve heard. We aren’t a bunch of dull sticks in the knife drawer. We’re every bit as sharp as your grandaddy’s pocket knife — and leave our FryDaddies out of this.
How about some statistics? Eighty percent of Southerners graduate high school. And most of us go to college. In fact, University of Alabama can’t keep up with all their students; they erect a new building every 120 days.
And racism? Well, we can’t deny that it’s here. But, by God, it’s also everywhere else. Don’t believe me? According to one 2016 survey, among the highest-ranking racist U.S. cities are: Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and (drumroll please) Boston.
Furthermore, if Northerners look down on Southerners because they talk funny, why not Canadians, too? Those fellas pronounce everything wrong.
Look, I’m sorry fried chicken livers rub you wrong, or that my Uncle Frank still breeds prize-winning hogs. And I’m sorry folks dislike tobacco farmers, hunters, and church ladies. These folks obviously never met my aunt Eulah. She’s sweet as cane syrup.
Down here, we have some real genius. Artists, engineers, authors, pioneers, social activists, Nick Saban, Derrick Henry, Cam Newton, and Herschel Walker. We’re not buck-toothed woman-haters. And we’re not all prejudice. You want prejudice? Try Boston.
If you want hushpuppies, come to our house.
I’m about to fire up the FryDaddy.