Under the Dome

The New South rising?

A Florida professor has weighed in on the definition of the South.

In a piece in the St. Petersburg Times Sunday, English professor Diane Roberts quotes Chris Kromm, director of the Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, on the litany of reasons people give for removing North Carolina from the South:

"Every time a Southern state starts voting for Democrats, people say, 'Oh, that's not the real South,' " says Kromm. When Barack Obama won North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, some "wanted to magically declare them somehow un-Southern."

The "Southern" parts of the South seem to be shrinking, at least to those who define "Southern" as white right-wingers who say "y'all." ...

North Carolina isn't Southern because it's attracting Midwestern retirees, Latinos and tech types. Plus, there's the Research Triangle, the constellation of great universities, labs and libraries so despised by Sen. Jesse Helms. Real Southerners don't cotton to book learning.

Roberts argues that North Carolina, Virginia and Florida are not aberrations, but the beginning of the "New South we've been promising ourselves since 1865."

Previously: Whistling Past North Carolina, parts 1, 2 and 3


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Re: Confusing excerpts, RTB

You can appreciate, I'm sure, that without knowing a person or his/her background well, one could not readily assume that s/he is being sarcastic on such a subject.

And anyway, I think ya stuck it in here to rile up some traffic from your more reliable die-hard Southerners in here.

Re: Confusing excerpts, RTB

Apologies. She's parroting the line of argument that she's attacking. It's meant ironically, or at least sarcastically.

— RTB 

Confusing excerpts, RTB

I'm not entirely sure from the excerpts whether it is the Florida professor or Kromm of the Institute of Southern Studies or perhaps someone either might be addressing who who seems to indicate that the South can be defined by its stereotypes, but that's the impression I get when I hear derisive references to an "anti-education" outlook and Jesse Helms. I've been as critical of Helms as anyone else, but the suggestion that he actually despised universities, labs or libraries or that Southerners don't "cotton to book learning" tells me that the commenter is more interested in dwelling in stereotypes than serious contemplation of what the South is, was or is becoming.

It reminds me a little bit of African Americans being told they aren't "black" if they don't speak a certain jargon or hold a specific political perspective. It isn't that a given person isn't African American (or that North Carolina isn't in the South); it's that the person making that suggestion is him or herself lacking in perception of what it means to be an African American or what it means to be part of the South.

The quotation marks around the text in blue suggest that those are the remarks being quoted from Kromm. Is the final paragraph in blue (which is not contained in quotation marks) from Roberts?

The New South Meets The Greater Depression

a lot of the transplants who moved here during the boom years are now leaving beause of the collapse of the job market.

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