The South is vast. From Texas to Virginia to the Florida coast, you’ll find just as many versions of being Southern as you’ll find pecan pie recipes. (And that is a lot. A whole lot.) That means if you try to impose one definition of Southern on this place—assumptions, stereotypes, and all—you’re going to come up short. There are lots of mistakes and misconceptions people make about the South, and we’d like to set the record straight.
Misconception: We only listen to country music.
If you listen to the radio while driving south across the Mason-Dixon, you’ll notice a distinct shift, and you’ll soon find yourself singing along to a Willie Nelson tune. You’re welcome. Country radio certainly dominates in the South, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also love listening to NPR and the oldies stations, ‘cause we really do.
Misconception: We all have a signature Southern drawl.
It’s the envy of all. Those smooth vowels and lingering consonants. The ability to stretch a two-syllable word into four or five. It’s a distinct talent, but not all Southerners have it. If you’re a Southerner without an audible drawl, people will look at you funny, but stand tall anyway. You’re still Southern.
Misconception: We all know how to play a banjo or a fiddle.
Nope…but we sure wish we did.
Misconception: We all live in rural communities.
Some of us do, some of us don’t. The South is home to many tight-knit farming communities and rural areas, but we also love our bustling cities. Atlanta, Nashville, and Houston, anyone?
Misconception: We all drive pickup trucks.
Thanks to country music, this is a widespread belief. It’s not all true, but most Southerners do appreciate a good pickup truck. You never know when you’ll have to tow something, and they sure do come in handy when you’re moving house.
Misconception: We wear hoop skirts and bonnets.
Unless you’re an Azalea Trail Maid, most Southerners have only seen hoop skirts in movies. We’ll pull out a parasol every now and again, but that’s just because we forgot to put on sunscreen.
Misconception: We’re super superstitious.
Southerners appreciate a good story and we love our traditions, but we’re not too superstitious. We do get a thrill when we find the baby in the King cake, and we’ll brave a ghost tour with the best of them. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t also abide by our Southern rituals, especially when it comes to weddings—like burying the bourbon and waiting to monogram until after the wedding day.
Misconception: We’re obsessed with Dolly, Willie, and Elvis.
Ok, you got us there. That one’s true.