Okay. I’m going to give ya’ll the lowdown about living in the south. And YES I said ya’ll. Being a southerner comes along with so many different stereotypes, but being born and raised here has taught me so many lessons I wouldn’t learn living anywhere else. Here are a few stereotypes about living in the south that are true and some that need to be broken!
1. The weather is crazy.
I live in Louisiana and we go through all four seasons in about a week. No exaggeration. The air is thick and humid. The summer sun is relentless. We are also known for our out of control thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes (oh my). But there is something beautiful about the way people band together after something disastrous happens. Nature is the strongest force around us and watching it be heard is tragically beautiful, powerful, and terrifying.
2. The food IS amazing and NO you won’t taste anything like it anywhere else!
Imagine your favorite home cooked meal by your mother. Now multiply that deliciousness by 10. I don’t care how many “southern” dishes you think you’ve had, I can assure you nothing compares to the real thing.
We like flavorful food that sticks to your ribs and has the ability to put you in a 24-hour food coma. Another southern stereotype is that every southern woman can cook. While this is true for my family and friends, it is not true for every southern belle you meet. There are households where the man does majority of the cooking and the woman can barely boil water without burning the house down.
3. There ARE people who are dangerously close minded but not everyone is like that.
I grew up as a double minority. Not only am I a woman, but I am African American. Racism is alive and there are stories out there that are worse than my own but — I’ve also met some beautiful people. People who are open to diversity and freedom of speech. People who are willing to recognize that the world comes in every color of the spectrum.
Not everyone is conservative. Not every white person from the south is racist. Racism is not a geographical trait. It’s an ugly way of thinking that can be found anywhere. While there are traces of the south’s past left behind in the architecture, we are evolving into something more. While we still have room for progress (like everywhere else) I will not deny the fact that we have grown.
4. Accents are a thing.
Some people do sound straight out of an old country song, but not everyone you meet will sound that way. We do have different ways of speaking and different phrases/sayings that vary from whatever area you’re in. Also, take into consideration that you sound funny to us, too. I’m a firm believer that the way you speak does not have to devalue the things you say. I can use ya’ll/slang in a conversation while making a lot of sense AND speak professionally, as well.
5. Hospitality is a BIG deal.
If you visit your southern friend and don’t leave their home fed a full course meal and feeling a part of the family, I’d be surprised. One of the best parts about living in the south is the way we come together not only in times of need but in our everyday lives. My mom has spent full hours talking to women who work in supermarkets and we smile at strangers as we pass by. It’s the south. Deal with it.
6. Every southern state is unique but all southern states have that in common.
I know that wherever I travel I will never experience anywhere like Louisiana. Every southern state has their own culture that was shaped by its history and that has influenced its language, food, and music. This is what makes it so much fun to be southern. Though we may all be different we all have the same established values that allows us to be at home anywhere.
That’s what draws people from all over the world to the south– they can feel a kindness here that has been forgotten in our busy schedules full of emails and text messages. No matter how far I go, I will always be a southern girl who loves her Louisiana skies more than anything.