Paula Deen is not the South

This isn't Paula Deen's Savannah, Georgia.

This isn’t Paula Deen’s Savannah, Georgia.

Despite what the country may think, Paula Deen doesn’t represent the South.

Professional butter eater Deen’s comments about the n-word and her half-baked apology video afterward have led to her getting fired from Food Network and dropped as a spokesman from Smithfield Foods.

The South gets a lot of bad press, and this Deen controversy is just the latest. I’ve read stories that paint the typical Southerner as a diehard fan of Deen’s. People think the South is a backwards place where the racism that Deen exhibits is commonplace and accepted.

Reality: The South isn’t perfect (what is?), but I don’t know a single Southerner who likes her. They’re out there, I’m sure, but I haven’t met any. Deen has a restaurant in Savannah that any true Savannah resident won’t step foot into. I have no clue how she landed a show on Food Network. She puts sticks of butter in her food and calls it Southern.

The South is more than Paula Deen and churches. Here’s a list of aspects I like about the South.

  1. The winters are wonderful. Depending on what part of the South you’re in, the typical winter day hits about 40 to 50 degrees. While the winter months are dark in other parts of the country, the South regularly gets sun.
  2. Fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and barbecue. There is nothing more to say.
  3. People are fine with talking to strangers. Many times, you can strike up a lovely conversation in the checkout line at the grocery store.
  4. It snows once every other year, meaning Southerners almost never have to drive through snow.
  5. People say “excuse me” when they bump into you on the street.
  6. By and large, people are laid-back. Racism, sexism, and any other negative -ism is generally not accepted. People will think what they think, and that’s that. Yes, there are some real bible thumpers out there who try to convert people, but that’s not the norm. Many Southerners subscribe to the saying, “Live and let live.”
  7. Bluegrass and folk, sometimes combined with other genres, produces wonderful music like this or this.

Remember, everyone: There are reasons why people retire to the South and not the North.

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