What six words define southern identity? How about: “How Long ‘Til College Football Season” or “Mac And Cheese Is A Vegetable.” Or, maybe, “Don’t Confuse My Kindness For Weakness.”
These are among hundreds of responses to our new social media conversation about what it means to live in the American South. And based on the number and quality of responses we’re already seeing, we appear to have hit a chord.
You could say this project was born out of my own search for a regional identity. My parents grew up in Atlanta, were confirmed at Christ the King Catholic Cathedral, attended Westminster Schools and Northside High School, fell in love and delivered two babies at local hospitals. But when they moved to Boston for graduate school when I was only one, I began to grow up a Yankee. It took me 27 years to return to the city where my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were still very much part of the community. My overwhelming sense was that I had returned home to a place where I had never really lived.
My observation is that there are a few key reference points to defining southern identity. After 150 years, the Civil War continues to influence southern values of resilience, patriotism, chivalry, and pride in NOT being a Yankee. The SEC and high school football are another pathway toward capturing a shared southern experience. Not all aspects of southern life are as positive, or would be considered universal. But, by and large, southerners can claim the best of aspects of America: comfort food, of course; gnats, for sure; humidity, it goes without saying.
And now, we invite you to share your 6 Words From A Southerner.
You can join the conversation in one of three ways -- using the hashtag #6WordsFromASoutherner
1) Tweet or Facebook a post with just six words about what it means to be a southerner
2) Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram a photo or video of what the south looks like
3) Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram a photo or video AND six words about what it means to be a southerner
We'll be curating all of your responses here.
Happy hashtagging, y’all!