Aug 7, 2022, 3:11:31 AMAug 7
For a long time I saw the American South in a very negative light. I have since then reconsidered that stance. I have seen good qualities in any number of Southern people. The women are beautiful, cultured and willing to be good to their men. And men are strong and hard-working.
There are three ongoing problems with the South, and some of them have been dealt with more successfully than others.
One, of course, is racism. That was there for a very long time; and a colossal effort, including people both from the South and from elsewhere, has been made to fight it. This effort has borne fruit, and that is to the credit of everybody involved. There is still racism there, but it is nothing like what it used to be.
Another is incest and family violence. I’ve heard absolute horror stories of such things. A man in Texas had every bone in his body broken as a child by his stepfather and his stepbrother. A woman in Tennessee was raped by her father every day since she was 4. For its part, government, law enforcement and social services have handled this problem incorrectly. They have been taking children away from parents in case of incest or violence and placing them in government care. This of course has left them open to accusations of government overreach, government tyranny and liberal persecution of family values. I think that what they are doing is terrible. We are dealing with a crime like any other crime. It does not mean that one should break up families. Children usually love their parents even if their parents and abusive. And given what I’ve heard from people who as children had been placed in government care, in most cases it is not much of an improvement over what they are facing at home.
The truly obnoxious feature of the South is its anti-intellectual attitude. We have people riding around in trucks that say “My son beat up your honor student.” We have people claiming that liberal intellectuals are destroying America. They persecute intellectuals, so what happens? They make an enemy of them. Then the intellectuals go into academia or the media and start criticizing the South, which some in the South call a cultural genocide against the South. It is no such thing as a cultural genocide; it is free speech. And it wouldn’t be happening if these people had been treated right.
The South will continue to exist; the question is, in what form? I am encouraged by efforts done to fight racism, but there are other problems that are not being solved nearly as well. I think that it is very important to have a frank national dialogue about how to deal with incest and family violence. As for the anti-intellectual sentiment, that is something for which there simply is no excuse. Fortunately, the more the intellectuals consider the South without bigotry, the more likely it is that they will have a better reputation in the South.