Who is Southern?( Tue, 3 Aug 1993 11:15:52 -0600)
A query for the list:
Can someone become Southern, or can you only be born that way?

T. Lloyd Benson

re: Who is Southern?( Tue, 3 Aug 1993 13:12:18 -0600)
What a fine question! My first response was that one has to be
born Southern, but then those people who settled the South were
not Southern. They came from Scotland, Ireland, England,
Germany, France, etc., etc. In time they and their descendants
"became" Southern. And what do we mean by Southern? Do we mean
residence in the South? But that would exclude many of us Texans
who consider ourselves Southern because our kinfolks came from
North Carolina and Tennesee, etc. before and after the Civil War.
Maybe place of birth is important, however. A friend of
mine is married to a person from New England. I would never
consider her Southern. Now their children I would because they
were born in Texas and they've been influenced by a
Texas/Southern upbringing.
Accent is also important. Does a person "sound" like a
Southerner (educated or uneducated). Idioms are important as
well. So are manners and politeness. Perhaps a Southerner is
one whose sense of identity is connected to a piece of land. We
are not only who (family) we are but where (birthplace).
I suppose if a person not born in the South declined to
reveal his or her birthplace and background, he or she might
adopt Southern mannerisms, views, and speech patterns and pass
for a Southerner.
Hmmmm. Very interesting question. I look forward to
reading other comments.
Lady Falls Brown ykflb@ttacs

re: Who is Southern?( Tue, 3 Aug 1993 13:12:30 -0600)
Kurt Luginbyhl MNHAD007@SIVM
Dear T. One does not merely become Southern. For instance the Texans
(of which I am one) have a saying "anyone can become an American, but you
have to be born a Texan. At the time of the Civil War 1861-65 there were
many Southerners who spoke with 'foreign accents' ie. Scots-Irish, German
you get the idea? Being Southern is who and what you are. Although on
the other hand I have met some transplants from the North who have
really made the transition well. As children we kids played at war with our
toy guns. Our Fathers fought WWII but we rarely played GIs vs. Germans
however we almost always played Civil War. Everyone of us wanted to be our
favorite officer/general like R.E. Lee, Stonewall, Mosby, Forrest, Stuart even
Pickett, Longstreet, Early or even Pendleton notice what I am getting at?
Not one of us wanted to be a Yankee! Imagine the U.S. Civil war without
Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Hooker, Burnside, McClellan and Custer! We really
at that age did not realize the morality of our choice. Our environment had
been very influential in our choosing sides. The Heroes of the 'Cause' had
always been held up to us as Courageous and Honorable. The opposite were
the Copperheads and the Carpetbaggers. Once when I was ten living then in
Montgomery Al a fight broke out because one kid called another 'a no good
Yankee CarpetBagger!! I didn't know the F--- word then but surely that one
was cursing something fierce. Back to work. I am sure there are others out
there that can be more complete and certainly more eloquent than I.
T., If you E-mail me direct I surely can and will launch into many more
examples. Kurt L.
ADP, National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian Institution Wash. D.C. 20560

re: Who is Southern?( Tue, 3 Aug 1993 13:50:37 -0600)

From: Jeff Jones <JAJONE02@UKCC.uky.edu>
Tue, 03 Aug 93 14:37:45 EDT
To: Terence Finnegan <finnegan@ncsa.uiuc.edu>

If "Southernness" is related to birthplace alone, then there are some

a. The question is raised: can a person be born in the South and not
be "Southern"? Or, is "Southernness" a culture tied but not limited
to a region? Are the descendents of Confederates who settled in
Brazil Southern or not?

b. Here in KY I have a friend born in Indiana but whose accent is more
Southern than my native North Carolinian one. I would say she has
fairly successfully assimilated into the local somewhat Southern

c. And, no one is actually BORN a Southerner: we learn Southern culture
from our parents/family/friends/surroundings. A child born in NYC and
then transplanted at age 3 to Atlanta would probably be just as
"Southern" as a child born and raised in Atlanta and probably more so
than a child born in Atlanta and raised in NYC.

d. Although I would agree there are certain traits in common with a Southern
culture, I really don't see "Southernness" as a monolithic state. The
South is just as multi-cultural as the rest of the US.

It is also interesting to note that the Texans don't always see themselves
as Southern. There is an interesting study done by some geographers on
"perception mapping" of the South. They asked students in classes in
universities around the South to delineate the South. Alabaman students
tended to put the boundary for the south in northern NC and leave out
VA, KY, Texas, etc. Texans widened the boundary a good bit. It varied
alot by state. If people are interested, this study is in Southeastern
Geographer, Vol. 29, No. 1.

Take care all.

JAJONE02@ukcc.uky.edu Jeff Jones
Geography Department, 1422 POT, University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506

Aug. 2: Happy International Friendship Day

Fw: re: Who is Southern?( Tue, 3 Aug 1993 15:55:13 -0600)
Kurt Luginbyhl MNHAD007@SIVM
WOW ! If it hadn't been for Virginia and Texas!! ..........

RE: Who is Southern?( Wed, 4 Aug 1993 10:26:01 -0600)
When I bemoan being away from home here in Yankee land, my friends tell me
southern is a state of mind. If so, then obviously one can become.
Indeed, if you think about the number of Yankees and immigrants who became
prominent southerners, then I think a good case could be made. vernon
burtonIn message Tue, 3 Aug 1993 11:15:52 -0600,
Terence Finnegan <finnegan@ncsa.uiuc.edu> writes:

>A query for the list:
>Can someone become Southern, or can you only be born that way?
>T. Lloyd Benson

re: who is southern( Fri, 6 Aug 1993 09:51:15 -0600)
It is interesting to me that thus far in this dialogue it seems to
be the southern community that defines "southern-ness", much in the way
that Bert Wyatt-Brown argues that it defines honor. There seems little
way to reconcile that with southern-ness as a state of mind in which the
individual would choose. Being from one of the southern peripheries--
southern Kentucky--I've also seen areas define themselves as southern
which are not thought southern by deeper-South people. Jane Censer

Re: who is southern( Fri, 6 Aug 1993 14:26:10 -0600)
re southerness and whereborness:
My favorite set of remarks on this is C. Vann Woodward's
response to one half of those northerners, the Fox-Genovesae
in his review (NYRB 12/8/88) of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese's
W/In Plantation Household In which he says that "we have
to thank a daughter of the Deep North" for writing about
what he says this is a distinctive tradcition--when the subject of
southern slavery and plantation life is raised, the
traditional women's voices were all northern
abolitionists--these women never went into slave quarters he
says--"They all lived up North." He then compares F-G's
archival abilities for ransacking the South as in
competition only with General Sherman.
I quite enjoyed it.
Rich Rath
Brandeis University

re: who is southern( Fri, 6 Aug 1993 16:34:54 -0600)
I agree that many in "non-southern" areas consider themselves
at least culturally southern. The next time you're in NYC check
out the Country & Western and Soul Food joints.

Bill Wells