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What is it like in the deep South?

illinois187illinois187 Posts: 106Registered User Junior Member
My friend from illinois is thinking of going to a school in alabama. I'm just curious though, how diverse or accepting are people in the south? It seems kind of scary...driving into a gas station in tennessee while bearded white supremacist truckers glare at you. HOw true are the stereotypes of the deep South?
Post edited by illinois187 on
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Replies to: What is it like in the deep South?

  • world changerworld changer Posts: 2,503Registered User Senior Member
    I think it really varies by city.

    There are some southern cities that do fit the description you gave, but there are also plenty that don't. It all comes down to doing your research - have him talk to current students, and visit the campus, if possible.
  • seafoodloverseafoodlover Posts: 248Registered User Junior Member
    Depends on WHERE in the South.....just like it depends on WHERE in the North you go.....parts of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit etc arent so nice....and LOTS of rednecks up north too in rural counties.

    Birmingham is a growing and sophisticated city with some great schools, including Birmingham Southern. The Crimson Tide of Alabama always have a special place in my heart. Joe Namath went to Alabama and played for Bear Bryant.

    The Stars and Bars still hang in many homes, but that doesnt necessarily mean that they are racists, rednecks or ignorant country hicks. Most southerners are gracious hosts and hostesses. Enough people have moved into the South in the last 50 years to be welcomed, and many of whom stayed and raised families. Our entire country has changed a great deal in 50 years.

    We welcome anybody who comes with an open mind and open heart and good manners.

    Just as you expect native southerners to do when they come to U Chicago, DePaul, Northwestern, Univ. of Illinois etc.
  • MultitaskerMultitasker Posts: 1,400Registered User Senior Member
    About the manners: the South rocks. Much more polite
    clickish: definitely
    schools: depends where you go. Davidson college, liberal, accepting. same with Carolina, Wake, and Duke, Appalachian and Ashville
    Not so much with Alabama, ?UGA and Charlotte. I once sat in a cafeteria at UGA, and asians were with asians, whites with whites, get the picture? I kinda got turned off.
    You will see in some towns the confederate flag, and is more about ignoraance.
  • BigredmedBigredmed Posts: 3,675Registered User Senior Member
    It's EXACTLY as you imagine...they don't wear shoes, you have to use outhouses everywhere and people walk around whistling "Dixie".
  • mom3boysmom3boys Posts: 771Registered User Member
    And we all chant: "Save your confederate dollars, the south will rise again!!!"

    or..we say, "Fergit? Hell!"

    C'mon, are you for friggin real? Do you really believe that crap? There are idiots everywhere...not just the south! Who do you think keep those rumors going? Southerners of course, to keep the damn yankees out!
  • Charlie's WorldCharlie's World Posts: 493Registered User Member
    I presume either UA, AU, or BSC. Tuscaloosa sucks as a college town, and Pres. Witt is growing the enrollment to quickly. Auburn has a better college town and similiar hit and miss academics as The Capstone. BSC is very provinicial though they are trying to expand their reach, but I wouldn't head 700 miles to go to school there when you could get a better education nearby at even Knox or Centre.
  • mom3boysmom3boys Posts: 771Registered User Member
    Birmingham Southern is an amazing school. I cannot imagine what youfind provincial about it....
    You are correct about Tuscaloosa...they are heavily recruiting in GA these days. Many are opting to turn away from the HOPE $ and go there...crazy. Auburn is a beautiful campus, but cannot handle the #'s as far as dorms and cafeterias.
    The south is very friendly...how can you help but be nice when it's January and the weather is 70 and sunny? =) That coupled w/ affordable housing and lower overall cost of living and high quality of life, all contribute to why people come here to study and then stay to live. It's a great place!
    My knucklehead son, on the other hand, is going to school in NY where he will learn to trudge through snow...go figure.
  • hudsonvalley51hudsonvalley51 Posts: 2,394Registered User Senior Member
    "I once sat in a cafeteria at UGA, and asians were with asians, whites with whites, get the picture? I kinda got turned off."

    I get the picture. When we took our D to visit Yale she had several experiences that turned her off permanently. As she was browsing in the bookstore a bus group from a prep school came in. According to her the girls were very disruptive and rude and condescending to the African-American clerk that tried to quiey them down. Later, we walked through one quad where virtually 100% of the students were white and many were dressed like stereotypical preppies. When we walked through an adjacent quad she noticed that most of the students were asian.

    My daughter understood, on one level, that the "asian quad" appeared that way because it was a staging area for protests aginst the upsoming visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao. On the other hand it reinforced her earlier impressions.

    My D left Yale convinced that it was a bastion of prep school supremacists and a supporter of diversity in name only. No amount of reasoning could counter the first impressions and Yale was off her radar after that.
  • dg5052dg5052 Posts: 776Registered User Member
    MOm3, I must correct you; the correct chant is: "Save your Dixie cups! The South shall rise again (I mean, agin)!!!"
  • seafoodloverseafoodlover Posts: 248Registered User Junior Member
    What a hoot! mom3boys I hope you didnt mean to suggest that I said that Birmingham Southern was provincial.....not in the least. I was commending it as a fine, fine school...one of those great schools off the radar screen of a lot of people.

    Nor was I trying to reinforce stereotypical behavior of southerners that yankees repeat over and over and see on ridiculous sophomoric sitcoms on television with phony accents. Not!

    The South has changed a great deal, but so has the rest of the country. The Confederate (Battle) Flag, "the Stars and Bars", is antagonistic and offensive to many people, but not to others....particularly those with distant relatives long since dead who fought in the civil war. Its a remembrance of their courage and dignity in battle. It was removed from every state flag in the past 20 years.

    I havent heard anyone whistling "Dixie" in 30 years. But being in a Waffle House in 'Bama or Georgia or 'Missippi is a whole lot different than being in Frank's Diner in 'Jersey or Connecticut or South Boston. And I relish the difference.

    Kids from the South are treking north to college in record numbers, perhaps inspired by the record number of yankees going to school in the South. Maybe that is a good thing, only time will tell.

    In some respects, the "Mall of America" is America itself. And that is NOT a good thing in my view, because I am old fashioned and like to see cultural differences. Then again, I have not been supportive of the EU movement in Europe, though it has been an economic boon to millions over there. Maybe I am a romantic.
  • briansteffybriansteffy Posts: 570Registered User Member
    A serious response to your question: I sometimes worry that the last politically correct prejudice is the one that northerners have about people in the southeast. I spent years teaching in southern (UGA, U KY) and then northern (U of MN, Small NE LAC) schools. I rarely hear a southern voice in my small LAC, which I think is a shame. As far as college selection goes, there remains a kind of choice bias. The most underrated excellent colleges are in the south, and I suspect that someone from IL or PA may have some advantage applying to these great schools; schools that have retained traditions, and have not become homogenized, as I fear is the case in NE colleges.
    I have encouraged my S to look at southern LACS (the one mentioned, Hampden Sydney, Sewanee, Randolph College). I went to Randolph Macon when it was 600 men. The experience was great, because it forced me to see something other than northeastern neuroticism. True, I remember the day I drove from Hilton Head SC to Athens, GA to start in UGA's PhD program - lots of pick-up trucks with guns in the back. But then, about 30 mile from Athens, I started turning the radio dial; wow, Hendrix, then some Steve Reich (minimalist classical), and then I heard; this is the voice of UGA. I loved it. Southern Us put northern Us to shame in terms of looks, tradition, and yes, having a good time. The college towns were great, and I learned a lot about individuals who had different tastes than my own. A purpose of going to college is to try something different.
  • mom3boysmom3boys Posts: 771Registered User Member
    Thank you for the clarification. I couldn't imagine anyone not loving B'ham Southern, and was glad to realize I misunderstood your post.

    I grew up in Birmingham. My HS mascot was the Rebel. We waved the stars and bars at pep rallies. My senior year, at half time for homecoming a helicopter hovered over the field, unfurled the flag, and flew off into the distance. It was spectacular. Totally politically incorrect by today's standards; but that was 1980. Not sure what they do now. All the "brilliant" students went to Bham southern. They are all doctors now!

    Birmingham has some problem areas, but is actually a great city. The stereotypes so prevalent on TV and news keep it a nice little secret. Unfortunately, everyone came to Atlanta, so we get to deal w/ the huge numbers over here!!
  • HuntHunt Posts: 20,833Registered User Senior Member
    One note: The Confederate Battle Flag (the one with an "x" with stars in it) is not the "Stars and Bars." The "Stars and Bars" was the Confederate national flag--it was similar to the US flag, with a blue field with stars in the corner, and three large stripes (or "bars") instead of the more numerous stripes on the US flag.
    I think you will find some cultural differences still remain between north and south, but they are mostly exaggerated.
  • bananaphonebananaphone Posts: 213Registered User Junior Member
    well i've been to nashville tennesse and its the only area of the country I've been to where if Harvard or MIT or Stanford was located there and I got in, I'd have to reject the opportunity The area is so unbelievably backwards, the pervasion of racism even if not explicitly stated is saddening, and the accents of the people are unbearable. Now that's not to say every southern city is like that, or that even Nashville is like that. My point is that to really consider attending a school in the south, you should probably just visit a school or two down there and see what you think.
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