It is with great dismay that I read Nick Christie's column "Attacking the beloved South". The title definitely fits the column; it is an unmitigated "attack" filled with generalizations and stereotypes.
As a white male born in the South, I guess Christie would have me feel guilty about my heritage. Lynchings are attributed as the South's rogue and racist justice, but they have also occurred in states in the North, such as in New York.
The long heritage of hate and racism has existed in the United States independent of geography, though it is common for people to assume that these problems don't occur north of the Mason-Dixon line.
It is our duty as a nation to deal with these problems, and pinning blame on a set of individuals is almost inconsequential to the ultimate goal.
Christie uses an appeal to emotion in an effort to criticize those who would celebrate their Southern culture. What connection does Southern culture have to a common racist heritage shared by the United States as a whole?
Southern culture is about preserving hospitality that no longer exists in most parts of the United States; it is about eating grits for breakfast and barbeque for dinner; it is about Mississippi Delta and Carolina Piedmont blues music; it is even about reading William Faulkner.
If we attribute racism as an artifact of Southern culture/heritage, then we risk marginalizing it as an issue solely found in the South. Its grotesque history extends across America, and its victims include African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans,and almost any other ethnicity you can think of.
As a nation, we must deal with racism, both overt and subtle, to bring to rest a most embarrassing chapter in Western history-the legacy of slavery-whether it is through reparations or true and complete integration without the socio-economic stratification that exists today in the United States.
To chastise the South for celebrating its culture is tantamount to calling for the nation as a whole to abandon Western culture. It is offers a solution that does nothing to solve the problem.
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