Discussing the South
by extracting from personal experience conclusions about "Southern People
" is as useless as daytripping through Paris
and trying to assemble a coherent and accurate model of "French People
." It is difficult to imagine that description applying to Walker Percy
, Flannery O'Connor
, William Faulkner
, or to any of the Southerners I've met.
The real essence of "Southern Culture" can only be ascertained by examining the cognitive structures that the region's inhabitants use to construct their lives and identities. Their impressions of themselves and their world is far more important than the impressions of an observer, which in no way elucidate the central question: what does it mean to be Southern? What is the Southern Cultural experience? Are these even real concepts?
Southerners do not interpret their emphasis on manners and etiquette as "fakeness," and there are undoubtedly many "equal relationships." That some see the South in these terms highlights the fascinating disparity between Southerners and Northerners, which continues to exist even today.