Can we try being respectful to members from poor and rural areas too? November 13, 2015 8:49 AM   Subscribe

One of the things MeFi does not do well is Southern and rural states. Specifically, there's a definite tendency for members to derail threads or comments about the South with snide jokes or hyperbolic suggestions dehumanizing rural people and/or Southern or Appalachian people in the US. Even otherwise good comments often have nasty potshot asides buried within them.

Last summer's Kim Davis thread originally spurred this post, but this is a recurring issue that has appeared in multiple places on the blue. It's worth mentioning that the people who live in rural areas aren't always conservative white yokels--in fact, we've had to repeatedly point out here that people of color, queer people, and liberals in general live in these areas, too. Even if people in these states wanted to move, for many of us it is not actually possible to do so--either there is family here, or there's a job, or our entire support networks are here. Picking up and moving is a hard thing to accomplish.

These jokes have the effect of alienating rural posters, Southern posters, and posters in red states, as well as enshrining some really gross classism. Can we have a discussion about making this site welcome to people living in those areas too? For one thing, that results in much more interesting discussions than "lolKentucky."
posted by sciatrix to Etiquette/Policy at 8:49 AM (256 comments total) 95 users marked this as a favorite

Just want to say a quick thanks to sciatrix for working with us to get this back into the pipeline.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:50 AM on November 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


I was thinking about this very topic this morning and debating about posting this exact thing so, thank you.

I moved to Florida on purpose and love it here. It's tiring to have my chosen state, and me by association, be the butt of constant jokes. I fully appreciate that some groan-inducing things happen here and I understand the motivation to write off all its residents as utter dunces, but it's just not cool.

On the other hand, when I start feeling too sorry for myself I remember that other southern states and their residents are ridiculed far worse and then I just get irritated.
posted by _Mona_ at 9:03 AM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Thanks, sciatrix.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:10 AM on November 13, 2015


As a Southerner with an Appalachian heritage, I pretty much expect and accept jokes and comments made at our expense. It comes with the territory. I know the great majority of them come from a place of ignorance or a bad sense of humor, after all, a nice defensive tool in such occasions are deprecatory jokes and comments of our own (it's easier.). Historically, it's behavior that has been going on for almost as long as these places have been inhabited.

I appreciate the OP's request. Of the crosses that others must bear, though, this one is pretty light.
posted by Atreides at 9:11 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, thanks for bringing this up. I'm tired of seeing posts suggesting people just move, too - I know I certainly couldn't just pack up and move on a whim, and the last time I did make a big jump, it meant I didn't see my family in person for years because I couldn't afford to just hop on an airplane when I wanted to.

More than that, there are a few other things going on that come to mind immediately:
* It's pretty classic victim-blaming/Just Worlding. People don't get to pick where they were born. (I was, in fact, born in Texas. We didn't stay there long after, but it had nothing to do with infant-me.)

* It means asking people to give up on places they love for other reasons. Most people haven't lived in a ton of different areas, and only really think of one place as home. One of my dearest friends lives in Mississippi, and while she hates a lot of the stuff that goes on there, she doesn't feel at home elsewhere. The food's different, etiquette is different, landmarks... asking people to give up on their homes, rather than offering suggestions about what to do to fix them would be cruel even if the logistics were more reasonable.

* When Southerners come to other places, they frequently meet a lot of really unpleasant assumptions based on where they're from, so in addition to telling people to give up on places that they know and love, suggestions of 'just move' include an implicit, 'and put up with us judging you even after you've come here to be with us.'

I would certainly like to see this community handle this better.

Upon preview:
Of the crosses that others must bear, though, this one is pretty light.

That may be true, but being asked to be a little more thoughtful shouldn't be a big deal for the rest of us.
posted by mordax at 9:14 AM on November 13, 2015 [66 favorites]


I came in here to say exactly what Atreides said. I do still appreciate the post, though-- it gets awfully tiresome to hear people (not just on Metafilter, but also in general) discuss living in the South as somehow a fate worse than death.

I, in all my conservative's-worst-nightmare glory, am also a product of the South. Sometimes I wish I'd tried less hard not to have an accent.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:14 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a poor person in a rural area (tho not the south so I apologize if not appropriate for this thread) I'd like to give a gentle reminder for people to check their economic privledge when answering Askmes with the default response of "move". For some of us that is not an option and also not really something we may be interested in. It is possible to actually love living in rural areas and not be closed minded bigotted rednecks.
posted by kanata at 9:15 AM on November 13, 2015 [62 favorites]


With regard to not moving, another thing is that it benefits everyone to keep these discussions going--of LGBT rights, racism, classism, lefty politics, whatever--in rural and conservative areas. It's much better and more likely to lead to hearts-n-minds changes if we don't concentrate in blue states where everyone we know has a Master's degree or higher.

I'm not trying to say we're doing the Lord's Work by continuing to live in conservative/rural areas, but it's one more reason not to "just move."
posted by witchen at 9:19 AM on November 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


being asked to be a little more thoughtful
Fair enough!

Could it partly be a language thing, I wonder? Like I think geography's often used as a metonym for politics. (Which I think maybe isn't totally baseless, if voting patterns are an indication of anything). I think that's what a lot of people tossing off one-liners about Alberta or Texas are thinking of, and I think a corollary assumption when people use something like that freely here is often that anyone present is an exception to the whole they're thinking of.

(Also question: what would be a better way for people to talk about their probably biased but maybe so far uniformly negative experiences with e.g. certain rural places (vs. people from rural areas)?)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:27 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The south is great. Small towns are often great. I lived in New Orleans and now live in Omaha, and they are great. I was conceived above an Irish bar in Fairbanks Alaska, and I think that's great.

Of course, I'm from Minneapolis, and that's the best of all.
posted by maxsparber at 9:27 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I would also like to add people who read comments by and about the South in the worst possible light. If you don't condemn the South and everything about it, you're bending over backwards to justify racism, and nonsense like that. I left the rural South 20+ years ago, but I grew up there and my family is there. Like most liberal/progressive (current & former) Southerners, I am capable of nuanced views and thoughts about the place I come from.

With regard to not moving, another thing is that it benefits everyone to keep these discussions going--of LGBT rights, racism, classism, lefty politics, whatever--in rural and conservative areas.

My mom is a liberal Christian and has been steadfastly opposing homophobia in her church and town for 20+ years. I don't think she's single-handedly responsible when someone from her church posts something pro-gay on FB, but I think her efforts to push the conversation forward have had an effect in her circle.
posted by Mavri at 9:29 AM on November 13, 2015 [26 favorites]


Well, yeah, cotton dress sock, I'm sure that's true; people generally don't mean to insult other users on the site in this fashion. But those corollary assumptions aren't present in the things people are actually saying, and all the best "oh, you don't count" intentions in the world don't prevent the language use we're talking about from coming across as an insult. Y'know? That whole disconnect is the reason for this MeTa, so we can have a discussion about the effects of that.
posted by sciatrix at 9:29 AM on November 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


Could it partly be a language thing, I wonder? Like I think geography's often used as a metonym for politics.

I think that's probably one part of how this stuff happens, yeah; it's easy to render "I have a serious problem with a thing that is culturally common in or tied to place x" with "place x sucks" in a way that's possible for a reader to recognize and unpack, but that's placing an obligation on the reader and particularly on folks from place x who are getting unfairly caught up in that metonymy.

People collectively making the effort to just be explicit about the target and context of some criticism or ire or complaint more often would definitely help with some of the stuff we see. Effort being the key word because it's also easy to understand why accumulated frustration can lead to grumpy/imprecise shorthand; it's often not just someone being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk. But effortful conversation is a thing that makes this place better.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:33 AM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've seen this sort of remark made on other regions too and none of it is any good.

If there's a person or persons before you doing negative things take them to task for those negative things before imputing unknowable intentions and global implications to a single characteristic and if no such person or persons is before you presently or previously to criticize specifically definitely don't be casting aspersions based on that region categorically.

It's the individuals and organized groups that do things, not the regions.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 9:36 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


That whole disconnect is the reason for this MeTa, so we can have a discussion about the effects of that.

But effortful conversation is a thing that makes this place better.


Makes sense and agree! Just trying to unpack it a bit.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:36 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is a good post. Thank you for making it. Will try to be more mindful in the future.

Although as a former Texan I reserve the right to complain about state politics :)
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


See also: the midwest is a boring, cultureless place so terrible it can't even be trusted with coffee. Witty shorthands are witty shorthands, and all, but they're often inaccurate and super irritating. It's not so hard to be precise in your language as to specify exactly who you are railing against or angry with or bored by, and why, rather than broadly winking for your very nonspecific lols at the expense of The Rest Of Us.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:43 AM on November 13, 2015 [50 favorites]


blue states where everyone we know has a Master's degree or higher.

This is true, there are no poor or stupid people in Massachusetts, they all look like John Kerry and talk like Grace Kelly
posted by Greg Nog at 9:44 AM on November 13, 2015 [33 favorites]


they're often inaccurate and super irritating

And, oh my God, we wouldn't have Fargo if people just stuck with lazy shorthands.
posted by maxsparber at 9:44 AM on November 13, 2015


rather than broadly winking for your very nonspecific lols at the expense of The Rest Of Us.

Point very well taken. (I was thinking of associations people might have like "Alberta" standing for "oil interests")
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:46 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is very well stated, sciatrix. Thank you.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:47 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


(which is lazy, absolutely)
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:49 AM on November 13, 2015


Even when, say, a transparently awful person handily wins the governorship of Kentucky with 511,000 votes, a casual observer should be able to notice without much difficulty that 462,000 people voted against him.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:56 AM on November 13, 2015 [50 favorites]


Great post. I know that I used to use a fake southern drawl as shorthand for "I am saying something in the manner of a person with low intelligence" and am ashamed of it, since it was really just classism framed as a post-Civil-War sense of Yankee superiority. It is so deeply ingrained in the liberal mindset in general and northeastern US culture in particular that "southern == backwards" that it is hard to shake the concept of that idea as axiom, which it clearly is not.

See also: references to flyover states.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:56 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Seconding the call to avoid lazy swipes at the Midwest as well. That coffee comment, whoo boy.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


Another reason to avoid lazy stereotyping about regions of the US: there's a good chance that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to us Elsewherians. So it's not just inaccurate and unkind, it's also often unclear.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


" Of the crosses that others must bear, though, this one is pretty light."
Maybe you don't love your state? If that's the case, maybe you should pick up your balsa cross and get to stepping. If you're in a state you love and it's getting wrecked and you can't stop it because it's gerrymandered all to hell and all people in states with functioning representational democracies can do is point and laugh at your mountaintop removal or your haw haw incipient dustbowl or your dead coral reefs and soon-to-be-submerged major cities and the fact that Ted Nugent just shot all your bears, the cross is prit-ty unpleasantly heavy.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2015 [25 favorites]


I usually think of Metafilter as not that terrible on this, but that's probably just in comparison to the site where I used to spend most of my time before, with a bunch of coastal folks I went to college with. On occasion I would feel like I was conversing with the lifestyle part of the NYT. Once, way before DOMA fell, somebody was complaining about how she didn't want "redneck people from Missouri" to legislate her marriage, and I was gobsmacked. Like, I don't know, try actually being a gay married Missourian.
posted by thetortoise at 10:02 AM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


"I appreciate the OP's request. Of the crosses that others must bear, though, this one is pretty light."

For you, maybe. Not so much for the very large number of black southerners and intergenerationally impoverished white southerners. For them, the attitudes other folk have about where they live and the people who live there is very much wrapped up in the ways in which they're structurally oppressed.

If the simple point that most of the lazy comments about the south entirely elide all of the black people who live there doesn't get this across to people, I don't know what to say.

Or, I do. The principle involved in what makes that so wrong also applies to many other groups in the south. The idea that it's all about the "few" progressive relatively privileged white southern mefites (or those like them) who are being unfairly maligned is in its own way just another example of the problem. It's not very nice to them to generalize that way, but the damage being done by this generalization is mostly hurting those who are much less privileged than they are. Any progressive mefite who doesn't take this seriously needs to have a careful think. This isn't just about being considerate to other people here. It's deeper and more socially significant than that. Not that it's unimportant to be considerate. But that's just the tip of the iceberg with this issue.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:03 AM on November 13, 2015 [48 favorites]


Thanks for this MeTa. As a native Southerner, it gets really old really fast to hear where you come from as shorthand for Where All the Racists Are. Does the South still have a problem with its awful past? Hell yes. Is the North an amazing open-minded place where everyone gets a unicorn because there is no racism there? Nopity nope.
posted by Kitteh at 10:03 AM on November 13, 2015 [32 favorites]


Yes, yes, yes. Would also love it if MeFites living in solidly 'blue' regions would stop with the post-election sniping about how those of us who aren't quite so lucky are just getting what we deserve.
posted by divined by radio at 10:05 AM on November 13, 2015 [50 favorites]


(Also question: what would be a better way for people to talk about their probably biased but maybe so far uniformly negative experiences with e.g. certain rural places (vs. people from rural areas)?)

I think this gets exactly at the problem and the solution, actually. One did not have a uniformly negative experience with the city of Charleston or wherever. They had a uniformly negative experience with X number Charlestonians. The way to talk about it is to say, "Here are the specific uniformly negative experiences I had with some people in Charleston," not, "man, fuck Charleston, those people suck" (in so many words).

The South has much to offer and I'm a transplant who will always keep a big part of my heart here. I live in the DC metro area now, so I acknowledge that this isn't one of the locations people are usually disparaging when they put down the South. But I've lived in more typically Southern towns than this and I couldn't agree more that they were rich, worthwhile, and fulfilling place to be. I also felt a responsibility to represent liberal viewpoints in my casual conversations and at the voting booth. Change from within can be an option.

Telling someone to move away because you don't like a place is absurd and unhelpful unless that's what they are asking about.
posted by juliplease at 10:05 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm of two minds: On the one hand, honestly, lots of red states are deeply fucked, intentionally, and have at least a voting majority of assholes. On the other hand, people who live there who are on MeFi probably are already pretty aware of e.g. Texas trying to ban abortion through shady, disingenuous bullshit. And the only person I can remember defending the Confederacy here is a Yankee.

Something I always try to remember is that Howell, Michigan was the national headquarters of the KKK while I was growing up, and even a decade ago was still putting signs on black people's lawns telling them not to move there. And it's not like Michigan voters haven't elected a generation's worth of neo-Confederate Tea Party fuckups, beady-eyed plutocrats and pantsless God-botherers.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 AM on November 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Nthing thanks for posting this, sciatrix.
posted by juliplease at 10:07 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, thanks, sciatrix, this is a great point, and it's something that has bothered me.

I think that when you boil it down, this is a classist issue as well as a liberal/conservative issue, frankly. Its root is in the fact that MeFi's userbase skews liberal, skews educated, and skews coastal urban areas. (There's nothing wrong with that, it's just the facts.)

Inevitably, sometimes, we then tend to other... whether it's othering "flyovers," or the South, or conservative areas in general. (I lived in Arizona for many years, and it gets targeted quite often as well.)

Arrested Development, for all its faults, pretty much nailed this kind of attitude with a famous Lucille Bluth line.

Of the crosses that others must bear, though, this one is pretty light.

I have to call BS on this. No- this is about hypocrisy and consistency, so it's important. It's not something to just ignore or toss aside.

We seem to aim for some high standards here when it comes to how we handle discussion, and that's great. Don't stereotype! Don't use insulting shorthand about large swaths of people! Think about your privilege! Try to see the nuance and complexity in situations you analyze so that you aren't being unfair. Be considerate of others' experiences and realize that your own experiences are limited. Listen to others and treat them with respect. Don't take part in othering. But btw it's ok to ignore all that if it's about people from a really conservative area

Why not shoot for those kinds of standards across the board?
posted by Old Man McKay at 10:08 AM on November 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


Since I live in Georgia, can I still talk smack about it? And South Carolina too, because hoo boy, THAT state.

If not, can we just agree to talk more smack about New York and California?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:10 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another reason to avoid lazy stereotyping about regions of the US: there's a good chance that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to us Elsewherians. So it's not just inaccurate and unkind, it's also often unclear.

Indeed, in the UK the rural south is where all the rich poshos live, voting Tory and shitting on the poor.
posted by biffa at 10:10 AM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


"This is true, there are no poor or stupid people in Massachusetts, they all look like John Kerry and talk like Grace Kelly"

I tend to think that there are stupid, backwards assholes in every region of the world, reliably at least a quarter of the people in any given place are probably mouth-breathing chumwits and venal scum, but I also think that there are broad generalizations that are valid about them by region — i.e. in all of New England, assholes are more likely to think that Deflategate is a thing that matters in the world.
posted by klangklangston at 10:11 AM on November 13, 2015


are you trying to tell me Deflategate doesnt matter you kale-eating sun-humping californian
posted by Greg Nog at 10:13 AM on November 13, 2015 [21 favorites]


people who live there who are on MeFi probably are already pretty aware of e.g. Texas trying to ban abortion through shady, disingenuous bullshit.

not only aware, but we're the actual victims of it. we're also the ones trying actively to reverse the trend. if we weren't here fighting, things would be far worse in the parts of the country the coasts often turn their noses up to. i'm trailer park raised, a high school drop out, a housewife, and a southerner - and very little of what mefi at large thinks about those descriptors applies to me (unless you assume that means i make kick ass biscuits - that part is true).

thanks for this post, sciatrix.
posted by nadawi at 10:13 AM on November 13, 2015 [76 favorites]


"Yes, yes, yes. Would also love it if MeFites living in solidly 'blue' regions would stop with the post-election sniping about how those of us who aren't quite so lucky are just getting what we deserve."
Particularly given that the states we're talking about a lot of the time are swing states that determine the outcome of national elections. Hello! It's not just us "getting what we deserve." Remember the year 2000 at all? Remember the ensuing eight years? Was that a fun romp for you people? Quit telling us to move somewhere better if we don't like it and help us!
posted by Don Pepino at 10:15 AM on November 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


The election system in the US is rotten about encouraging these kinds of generalizations and the entire blue/red false dichotomy that comes with it. 55% of state A votes progressive, so they're "blue" and the whole state gets to pretend it's a progressive wonderland, even as the 45% of people voting the same way in state B cease to exist in the popular consciousness because their election results must mean they're a monolithic red state.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:18 AM on November 13, 2015 [26 favorites]


I always dreaded the "where are you from" question during the Bush years. I'm from Houston and went to school in Austin, but lived abroad and in several East Coast cities during that period.

Beyond the standard "Where's your gun"/"Did you ride a horse to school" jokes and the "Wow, you don't even have an accent" comments were the tirades about Bush and Texas that I almost invariably received. Several times I had people furiously blaming me as personally responsible for everything Bush did because I was from Texas, despite the fact that I'm a Democrat and worked on Gore's campaign.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:19 AM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


biffa: Indeed, in the UK the rural south is where all the rich poshos live, voting Tory and shitting on the poor.

I wouldn't know about that, either. You know, some of us are from other other countries.
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:20 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


The election system in the US is rotten about encouraging these kinds of generalizations and the entire blue/red false dichotomy that comes with it.

yeah - for instance, the 2008 election map, if percentages of votes are taken into a account looks very different than a strict red/blue divide.
posted by nadawi at 10:21 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


If the simple point that most of the lazy comments about the south entirely elide all of the black people who live there doesn't get this across to people, I don't know what to say.

List of U.S. states by African-American population. Note: Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of black residents, only one—Delaware—sits north of the Mason-Dixon line.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:23 AM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


those of us who aren't quite so lucky are just getting what we deserve
It is especially ridiculous when we witness things like gerrymandering and outright voter suppression. No one deserves to have their right to vote fucked with.
posted by soelo at 10:24 AM on November 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


Yes, yes, yes. Would also love it if MeFites living in solidly 'blue' regions would stop with the post-election sniping about how those of us who aren't quite so lucky are just getting what we deserve.

As Henry Krinkle put it:
"it's appalling that republicans are repealing medicaid for the poor, but kind of funny because poor people deserve to die" #UniteBlue
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:25 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am interested in, and appreciate, FPPs that touch on the American south because they help me learn something about places, issues, histories, and people that are often elided by shorthand descriptions. A few recent cases in point (there are certainly more, I'm just skimming my favorites, here):

Foods, Lewis argued, are always temporal, so all good tastes are special


folksongs should not be buried in libraries

"This is not a comfortable conversation."


The music stuck in my head.


Less lazy shorthand; more longreads and substantive stories from rural, southern, lesser-known times and places, please.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:29 AM on November 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


Pretty sure I've made some lazy jokes at the expense of Southern/rural areas here in the past. I apologize unreservedly for any offense caused. I appreciate the reminder to be mindful, thanks.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:29 AM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


. It is so deeply ingrained in the liberal mindset in general and northeastern US culture in particular

things would be far worse in the parts of the country the coasts often turn their noses up to.


In this thread where people are well-asked to not resort to regional prejudice in describing inhabitants of the South in the US, it's not a great idea to resort to engaging in in regional prejudice in support of being mindful.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:29 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


"are you trying to tell me Deflategate doesnt matter you kale-eating sun-humping californian"

uh i am one of the hard-working americans from the heartland

talk to the hand state
posted by klangklangston at 10:31 AM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


Telling someone to move away because you don't like a place is absurd and unhelpful unless that's what they are asking about.

On AskMetafilter? I don't know if it's entirely absurd, and I don't think it's always because people "don't like" a particular place. When people post a question, and a massive part of the problem (whether they see it or not) involves a lack of resources and infrastructure for addressing that problem, or dissonance with a local culture that's actively hostile to them, and they're in a moment where they're not (for whatever reason) able to wait, fight the good fight, jump through the hoops, moving might be a legit faster & more expedient way for them to get to a healthier situation. Sometimes fighting the good fight isn't worth the personal cost (imo).

It's obviously shitty to give that advice in an offhand way, with no consideration of financial or other barriers. But sometimes moving is worth thinking about.
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:40 AM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


(and sometimes people don't see it. they think something's wrong with them.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:41 AM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


This post raises a good point.

divined by radio: Would also love it if MeFites living in solidly 'blue' regions would stop with the post-election sniping about how those of us who aren't quite so lucky are just getting what we deserve.

In that Kentucky election thread, I -- up here in Rhode Island a glass house to be sure but still deep-blue New England -- wrote, "Good luck, Kentuckians -- sounds like you are in for a rough couple of years. :7(" At that time I felt a lot of sympathy for those 400k who didn't vote for this guy, because life will probably suck more, but also because they are in for a drubbing every time politics is discussed around them.

And yes, I also felt a small twinge of "the people who voted for this dude deserve every shitty thing said about them until he's gone" -- because I am not the person that my pastor thinks I ought to be.

I know I have tended more to the latter impulse in the past than to the former, and I am trying to get better. A recent crappy remark about Midwesterners and coffee rankled, and then reminded me maybe that I deserved a taste of my own medicine.

So I think we're all imperfect, but trying to get better. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:41 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


can we just agree to talk more smack about New York

Yes, fuck those pizza-hating assholes.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 10:44 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I am interested in, and appreciate, FPPs that touch on the American south because they help me learn something about places, issues, histories, and people that are often elided by shorthand descriptions.

if i can be crass and toot my own fpp posting horn, i love this piece on a weird little spot in arkansas, Eureka Springs is an improbable place.
posted by nadawi at 10:44 AM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


if i can be crass and toot my own fpp posting horn, i love this piece on a weird little spot in arkansas, Eureka Springs is an improbable place.

aaaah why have I never seen this post! Everyone who is a jerk about the Midwest and the South should be sent to Eureka Springs for a week to have their preconceptions smashed and because it's just basically the best place and they will come back chill and refreshed.
posted by thetortoise at 10:48 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Telling someone to move away because you don't like a place is absurd and unhelpful unless that's what they are asking about.

On AskMetafilter? I don't know if it's entirely absurd, and I don't think it's always because people "don't like" a particular place. When people post a question, and a massive part of the problem (whether they see it or not) involves a lack of resources and infrastructure for addressing that problem, or dissonance with a local culture that's actively hostile to them, and they're in a moment where they're not (for whatever reason) able to wait, fight the good fight, jump through the hoops, moving might be a legit faster & more expedient way for them to get to a healthier situation. Sometimes fighting the good fight isn't worth the personal cost (imo).

It's obviously shitty to give that advice in an offhand way, with no consideration of financial or other barriers. But sometimes moving is worth thinking about.


There is definitely truth to this. I am defensive as hell about my home state and love St. Louis like crazy, but I moved to Seattle a few years ago and I am able to do arts things now and don't have people yelling homophobic things at me from cars on a biweekly basis and a lot of the stuff that weighed on me for decades suddenly got lighter and I could think. Some of that is just what happens when people get in a new situation but some of it is also not having to listen to my coworker playing Focus on the Family literally every single day. So if I wrote that AskMe, people would have been right to tell me to move, even though it took me years and years and a very supportive partner to be able to do it. /derail
posted by thetortoise at 10:53 AM on November 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


O daaaag, Eureka Springs! Blast from the past! Thank you, nadawi. I haven't thought about that place since like 1975. So nice to see it. Arkansas is another beautiful misunderstood heartbreaker.

Y'all. My fellow Americans. We are a union. Lincoln made sure of it. Don't be writing off people's mother'n'fatherlands; it's rude as hell and besides, they're yours, too. You only don't love them because you've never been.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:55 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


am i still allowed to state for the permanent record that rick scott is definitely a leviathan who most certainly plans to turn his state's low income residents into protein slurry for his own personal consumption

i don't feel this is particularly controversial but i suppose ymmv
posted by poffin boffin at 11:02 AM on November 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


Thanks for this. I'm from Southwest Virginia, and the low-level aggression in LA to all things Southern bums me out. The best thing I've found I can do to combat that is point out other awesome things (Rooster Walk! Natural Bridge! Moonshine! The Blue Ridge Parkway!) and awesome people (My brother! Atreides! damayanti! Community activist Chad Martin! SF master William Gibson!) from where I grew up.

Speaking about the practicality of moving, frankly, it also bums me out that I can't practically return to the place of my birth and fight the good fight as best I can.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


besides, they're yours, too. You only don't love them because you've never been.

Wait, neither of these things are true.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


YES, poffin boffin. Everyone should be required to make that statement. Get the word out. I would just quibble about the leviathan thing. I think actually he might be the disembodied and independently animate member of cthulu? Not sure. But he doesn't seem to be aquatic in nature, and he certainly doesn't inhabit the depths--he's out in full view much much more than is seemly.
posted by Don Pepino at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


thank you sci. great comments so far. the weird thing is mefites could figure this out if you'd just apply what you already know from other topics.

i'm reminded of the recent LDS thread where ex-mormons, some of them queer, came in to say that leaving your entire family, social network, support system is a non-starter. they obviously disagreed with the LDS enough to leave it themselves but had the context to understand that lazy thinking helps no one, especially not the queer people still in the church. (+1 on the points about privileged, classist thinking)

or the atheists in the meta about wicca jokes. a lot of us are atheists/agnostics and frequently formerly religious people who agree that there's a lot of harm caused by religious institutions. but that doesn't mean lolreligion jokes and strident atheism are appropriate in threads where these things come up. WE GET IT. WE AGREE. but there's bad ways to discuss things that make metafilter shitty, so think harder.

or when you travel abroad and you're a liberal and, like Sangermaine, forced to explain that no you didn't vote for bush or support the wars etc etc to people who don't understand the electoral college or corruption in our voting system (money, gerrymandering, voter ID). i mean does that feel good blue state people? or is that some simplistic bullshit at a time when you're already heartsick at the way things are going?

and the thing is most of the time it is literally Fuck the south. fuck texas. pfft Florida Man, again, of course, i didn't even have to click of course it's florida. OMG it's NOT texas this time??? we really should've just let them secede amirite. can we just let them have their own country?

these comments add nothing to the discussion, yet they don't get flagged because everyone thinks it's ok. this is what it would look like in other threads: fuck hip hop. fuck google. fuck your flash game. fuck this book of poetry. fuck kittens. obviously politics touches on emotional, serious things but as far as adding to the discussion, many of these would be seen as the drive-by lulzy shit that they are if they weren't scratching that psychological itch that unfortunately too many of us have. which is why they get sometimes a ton of favorites by people who should really know better.

this could still turn out badly but so far i think the reason we have strong agreement and nobody is defending this crap is because when others actually take the time to make an argument to keep it off mefi and you take the time to really listen, people realize they'd be fucking stupid to defend this.
posted by twist my arm at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2015 [18 favorites]


fuck kittens

Sorry, but I have to stick by "Fuck Kittens."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:12 AM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I focused on the south in my previous comment -- and placed the discussion about the south in the context of institutionalized racism and classism -- because I think that's the most serious issue involved in this and where a lot of the lazy, coastal, white left-of-center snarking about the south is most damaging and egregious.

But sciatrix also mentioned the way people here talk about rural America, and she mentioned classism. And both these issues have always upset me about MetaFilter.

I was born in a (smallish) city and my ties are to the city. But I grew up in a small town. A farming town that is also half university town. There, too, my connections were more on the university side than the farming side. But, even so, a huge part of who I am was built in the context of a small farming community.

Likewise, my relationship with class is in many respects similar to other mefites -- I grew up middle-class (arguably lower middle-class and long enough ago that it was pretty different from how most mefites middle-class childhood experience), but my father grew up going-hungry poor, although a survey of his extended family makes me think that his family is some hybrid of working class and middle-class. And my mother grew up upper middle-class and, after that and while I was growing up, her parents were genuinely (modestly) wealthy and very influential and privileged. Also, in neither family is there a tradition of university education and there's only a very few with college degrees, here and there. But my dad was one of the exceptions, while my mother wasn't.

And maybe that weirdly mixed family history is why over my own life, even though I'm culturally pretty middle-class, I've lived all across the socioeconomic spectrum (I'm below the federal poverty level now; I made indecent amounts of money during the dotcom period; I've worked on a factory assembly line and service jobs and clerical jobs and tech industry jobs, in management, small business, and large corporations) and, more importantly, I've had friends and family across the socioeconomic and class spectrum and have usually throughout my life socialized across them (which I've noticed most other people don't do). I sort of fit in everywhere and sort of fit in nowhere.

All this is to say: holy shit, is MetaFilter almost relentlessly a microculture of a relatively small subset of the American middle-class. White, college educated, urban, coastal, tilting somewhat to technical, academic, or professional careers, but with a large portion of people involved in the arts. The working class is almost completely absent.

This relatively very narrow cultural experience translates into a bunch of problematic stuff. I see it mostly with anything related to poverty, but it really kind of comes up all the time as a failure of imagination and empathy about people who don't live the very specific kind of lives that mefites live. For example, as much as we work at being less US-centric, and as much as we succeed at this relative to many other sites, this failure of wide varied personal cultural experience shows up in our collective failures with regard to topics and our own members outside the US.

But what I think is telling is that in my opinion MetaFilter is arguably better at dealing with topics and cultures that are non-American than it is in dealing with stuff within North America that falls outside the narrow mefite demographic. It's a part of why I dislike much of AskMe, especially the human relations questions, because the cultural context on display is so narrow.

Now, a lot of the stuff that I think is problematic falls into the "inconsiderate/uninformed" area and about which I think we should do better just on general principle. Some of it intersects with serious systemic injustices, such as the way in which stereotypes about the south ignore the people who live there who aren't white. But the problems this narrow perspective cause sort of diffuse variously all across the site. Our lack of diversity is a serious problem and it seems to me that the fact that we suck at being diverse simply within the context of white America while largely lacking self-awareness that this is a problem -- a problem where, all else being equal, the structural barriers aren't that great -- says something pretty bad about our likelihood of being successfully more welcoming and diverse in all those areas where the structural barriers are much greater.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:20 AM on November 13, 2015 [53 favorites]


Regardless of the exact topic, this thread is another subtle (or not so...) reminder to "Punch Up" if you have to punch at all.
It's often too much of a temptation to break up one's day by wading into the Blue/Green and drop by a thread to toss in a witty one-liner...but taking a moment to read the room is never a bad idea either.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:26 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I see it mostly with anything related to poverty, but it really kind of comes up all the time as a failure of imagination and empathy about people who don't live the very specific kind of lives that mefites live.

If you aren't pretty well off financially, there are lots of money related posts and AskMe questions where you get to witness wealthier MeFites talk about sums of money that would change your life forever as though they were entirely inconsequential. I try not to let it get to me, because I chose my life for reasons other than what it would do for my bank account, but there is still more than a twinge of something I feel when we start talking about what minimum salary you need to be comfortable, and the consensus is about twice as much as I'll ever make.

Those discussions don't carry the intentional insult that rampant South-bashing does, but it's part of the occasional inability of some to actively remember that we aren't all upper middle class or higher.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:34 AM on November 13, 2015 [58 favorites]


I know that I used to use a fake southern drawl as shorthand for "I am saying something in the manner of a person with low intelligence"

I do that, too, but it's shorthand for "I am three-fourths tight and I am about to get two-fourths tighter."

Since I live in Georgia, can I still talk smack about it? And South Carolina too, because hoo boy, THAT state.

I reserve the right to quote South Carolina's true state motto: "Too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" without warning. (I also reserve the right to say that I-85 is the best thing to ever come out Georgia.)
posted by octobersurprise at 11:40 AM on November 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Excellent post, longstanding problem, and a serious one. MeFi can do better.
posted by Miko at 11:48 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


there is still more than a twinge of something I feel when we start talking about what minimum salary you need to be comfortable, and the consensus is about twice as much as I'll ever make

Not to detract from the overall point (which I agree with), but what qualifies as "comfortable" when it comes to salaries is something that varies enormously in different parts of the country, and there are many factors why "just move" may be as difficult or undesirable as it is for the reasons mentioned upthread.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:50 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog, I see by your latest tweet that you've been cleaning the oven all the fumes how long were you cleaning all the fumes, so you might not be up to your usual geniuslevel intellectual snuff right now but like if you're a citizen of the US then the first claim, "they're yours, too," is true. If you ain't, then you ain't in the y'all and I was not addressing you, except still I kinda was because of the slight problem that it's one biome have you not been hearing the stuff about the Amazon all the fumes one biome and therefore we're all in the y'all and the problems of Louisiana are the problems of Alaska and welcome to Jared Diamondland, which is to say we are all in Lil Friendys, Greg Nog, here we all are together yay. Would that it were as nice here as the Lil Friendys you made but it's not that nice it's not even as nice here as Lil Friendys all the fumes Greg Nog all the fumes the fumes and given that the first is true better make the second true because if you can't find what to love about it, it's sure going to be a long life.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:04 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I reserve the right to quote South Carolina's true state motto: "Too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" without warning. (I also reserve the right to say that I-85 is the best thing to ever come out Georgia.)
posted by octobersurprise at 2:40 PM on November 13


I hope when South Carolinians hear me refer to their state as "the worst Carolina," they know that it's not judgment of them, and I genuinely wish it had been possible for them to have been born in the better Carolina. "Love the sinner hate his barbecue," if you will.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:05 PM on November 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


(Barbecue smacktalk should be permissible.)
posted by Don Pepino at 12:06 PM on November 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Barbecue's getting deprecated anyway. You can find all kinds most anywhere.
posted by Miko at 12:11 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


one of the best parts of being from arkansas is the ability to be non-denominational about bbq, all are welcome.
posted by nadawi at 12:16 PM on November 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think the key is that inter-regional rivalries and inter-factional rivalries are fundamentally different from true, broad regional disrespect. Certainly there can be much of the same kind of nastiness, but that nastiness is generally assumed to be coming from inside the house.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:20 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


And also assumes by its nature that there will be a response in kind.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:20 PM on November 13, 2015


"Certainly there can be much of the same kind of nastiness, but that nastiness is generally assumed to be coming from inside the house."

Is it? Because some of the examples I can think of -- where I have some personal experience -- I find that there's often some bad stuff underneath it. Like either the specific targets end up actually being demographically skewed toward non-white or poor, or stereotypes about non-white or poor folk are attached to and invoked to leverage the rivalry.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:23 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Love the sinner hate his barbecue," if you will.

"Like everything in South Carolina, we cook barbeque cantankerously. We smoke our meat with hundreds of opinions and often with a sense of injured pride."

Anyway, I think we can all agree that ketchup bbq is an abomination before God.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Klang, #notallmichiganders, dude. I've got good friends in Howell (aka "howelltucky", walled lake (aka " waltucky"), and Milford (aka "mildewtucky"). You can take howell's racist history and spin it up; you can call all Michiganders a bunch of teabaggers, you can have your own opinions, but keep that shit to yourself. You just put ME in that shitty little picture of Michigan, and that sucks.

I don't need to hear it and quite frankly it's what sciatrix is trying to address. Got problems with michigan politics? Great. Make a post. Got problems with racism in michigan? Great. Make a post. But please stop with the dismissive drive by bullshit, please, and thanks.
posted by disclaimer at 12:25 PM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anyway, I think we can all agree that ketchup bbq is an abomination before God.

Oh yes, we can always agree on that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:26 PM on November 13, 2015


(Food smacktalk should be permissible, not just barbecue.)

Yes, fuck those pizza-hating assholes.

*Vulcan Neck Pinch*
posted by zarq at 12:28 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


all the fumes
posted by shakespeherian at 12:33 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not mentioning St. Louis style pizza in this thread or sciatrix will have to make a whole new MetaTalk.
posted by thetortoise at 12:33 PM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think ketchup on barbecue is perfectly fine. Do what you want with your barbecue, I say.
posted by josher71 at 12:34 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not to detract from the overall point (which I agree with), but what qualifies as "comfortable" when it comes to salaries is something that varies enormously in different parts of the country, and there are many factors why "just move" may be as difficult or undesirable as it is for the reasons mentioned upthread.

I definitely agree that there are very real cost of living differences, but I also think a lot of the disconnect on the issue of a minimum comfortable income (on Metafilter, at least) is down to lifestyle differences as well. For instance grocery costs--I would definitely spend less on groceries if I lived in my hometown in rural Indiana, but most of that is because I wouldn't be buying the same type of groceries I buy in my East Coast city grocery store--I didn't know what an avocado was until I was in my teens. The knee jerk suggestion to 'get a cleaning service' on ask mefi is another good example--there are places and social circles where that is seen as a normal middle class thing, and there are places where having your house professionally cleaned is unheard of for an able-bodied adult.

I'm getting hung up on this because I think it's an example of the way that metafilter overall tends to have a very narrow idea of what is 'normal' or what other poster's lives are like.
posted by geegollygosh at 12:37 PM on November 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


josher71, there are precious few things for which we are still permitted to disapprove of one another and Don Pepino has identified barbecue as one so let me point out that you're fucking WRONG.
posted by 7segment at 12:38 PM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not mentioning St. Louis style pizza in this thread or sciatrix will have to make a whole new MetaTalk.

Imo's is good.
posted by zarq at 12:39 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Don't want to un-derail but here is an example of what I think is a problem comment that fits the bill of what the OP is talking about.

Halloween Jack certainly didn't mean anything terrible by saying "New South huh?" They may even be from the South and mean it in a "ugh this is why we can't have nice things" way! But the comment comes across as saying "Haha look at teh rubes", especially on Metafilter.

Don't think it's worth deleting or anything, just like a heads up to be more careful about glibness RE: the South because if you're from there it can get pretty disheartening hearing that kind of snide.

PS I am from DC which is definitely the South. Do not @ me or my jumboslice.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:43 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why isn't there a rapper from DC called Jumboslice good lord © 2015 Me
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:44 PM on November 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Ivan: I don't disagree on that point, at all. Actually, I think my background has scary similarities to yours, and certainly I've seen my share of rich vs. poor style rivalries at all levels with all the ugly race and class implications that go with. It still just seems to me to be... different in some fundamental way when someone who knows nothing about you but what they see in the media tosses a lolzy stereotype out than when your neighbor slags on you for some traditional BS rivalry. In many ways the neighbor slagging you may be worse, because it feels more personal, whether it is or not. But it feels like a different fight to me. One is about lazy and ignorant representations of strangers. The other is about... something deeper, more insidious, and, I suspect, more difficult to eradicate, even within ourselves. Maybe. Still kind of working these thoughts through.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:46 PM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


C'mon, now. Jumbo slice is for out-of-town college students who don't know any better.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:47 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


josher71, there are precious few things for which we are still permitted to disapprove of one another and Don Pepino has identified barbecue as one so let me point out that you're fucking WRONG.

You are from Colorado which doesn't even have barbecue so your opinion is invalid.
posted by josher71 at 12:47 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think ketchup on barbecue is perfectly fine. Do what you want with your barbecue, I say.

O.O
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Barbecue's getting deprecated anyway. You can find all kinds most anywhere.

The very best barbecue joint I have found in the entire Greater Chicagoland metro area might not have cracked my top 10 in Memphis. There are certainly places that say they serve Memphis-style barbecue here. And that's... you know... it's nice that they have aspirations.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:49 PM on November 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think there's more than one intersection here in the discussion about cultural sensitivity, too. Often I have read threads on the green blue and gray that talked about what is and is not culturally acceptable/offensive in whatever capacity, and the general Metafilter response seems to generally defer to the affronted party.

For a few years I really struggled with that, but didn't realize why. Recently I realized that because I live in a conservative area, and come from a conservative family, I had largely absorbed the inverse. To be clear--evolution was offensive to my family. Gay rights are offensive to my family. "The Mexicans" daring to exist are offensive to my family. In the highly religious and conformist area that I am from, the most offended parties were far and away the least aggrieved, and I learned at an early age that just being offended at something didn't spawn legitimacy. For me to grow up as a person, I had to internalize that it was okay to think "offensive" bad things, like maybe traditional gender roles aren't the best thing ever. If I had carefully deferred to prevailing norms growing up, I would not be what I would call a good person. I literally learned "The most offended people are just about guaranteed to be wrong."

Meanwhile, in more progressive areas, if the people around you are taking offense to your principles, the expectations and realities are very different. You can generally assume that it's not their problem, it's yours, if you're being offensive. I had never learned or seen that principle in action. It took years for me to subconsciously put the pieces together--that offense and sensitivity weren't largely an inverse correlation.

I have to assume that most of this site hasn't ever had to live in that kind of environment. And to be fair, it's only really likely to be a disconnect when people who have only lived in progressive areas are talking online to people who have only ever lived in conservative areas. But I think more than a few disagreements here may have been born at least in part from that default assumption of progressive culture background, where you can assume a vague baseline of agreement in your community that's good to adhere to.
posted by Phyltre at 12:50 PM on November 13, 2015 [35 favorites]


Not to drag other countries into this, but Romanians often put ketchup on their pizza.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:50 PM on November 13, 2015


There are other countries?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:53 PM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Because some of the examples I can think of -- where I have some personal experience -- I find that there's often some bad stuff underneath it. Like either the specific targets end up actually being demographically skewed toward non-white or poor, or stereotypes about non-white or poor folk are attached to and invoked to leverage the rivalry.

I disagree. Ime intra-regional rivalries are more like large-scale sibling rivalries than anything else. The heated competitiveness can get genuinely hateful, but it also comes from a place of deep familiarity.

*cough* #MarylandSUX #VivaVA

Also, having lived in different regions of the country for significant periods of time, I have to say that ime trash talk is a TOTALLY different thing socially in Old South culture than it is in SoCal culture (for example).

My general point is that social norms are going to be different between regions. And ime norms for what's polite and what's friendly and what's aggressive are especially different in the South (esp the Old South) than they are for other regions of the US (such as SoCal or the SW). So there's a lot of potential for misreading...which is why (imo) the assumption of good faith is so important on a website like this, where people from a LOT of different places/cultures are trying to communicate civilly with each other.
posted by rue72 at 12:54 PM on November 13, 2015


disclaimer, klang is from Michigan, too.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 12:55 PM on November 13, 2015


texans dip their pizza in ranch...and it's delicious.
posted by nadawi at 12:55 PM on November 13, 2015


(That's in response to a comment from user "disclaimer," not an actual disclaimer. Though I guess it kinda is.)
posted by Xavier Xavier at 12:56 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


if anyone wants to slag off mexican food in nyc really the only thing i will ask is "compared to mexican food where else" because saying "the entire west coast and southwest of the usa" is the only acceptable answer. mexican food in spain, for example, is an abomination unto the lord by any measure, and thus may cast no stones.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:57 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Xavier, I know he is. That doesn't make his comments okay.
posted by disclaimer at 12:57 PM on November 13, 2015


if anyone wants to slag off mexican food in nyc

The only thing you can't get in NYC is a good burrito.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:59 PM on November 13, 2015


Chicago Mexican food is surprisingly good, although tends to be more Chihuahuan than Bajan, which I'm more familiar with.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:59 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fair enough, just wasn't sure if you knew.
posted by Xavier Xavier at 1:00 PM on November 13, 2015


I'd like to bring up something related to this: language discrimination.

All too often, people treat differences in language as something to mock, or justification for dismissing someone's ideas, and so on. MetaFilter is a better place than most when it comes to this kind of issue, but sometimes people here still do it unthinkingly. For example (not pointing fingers), using "fake" southern dialect to indicate someone that's backwards or stupid--or even outright saying that it's not surprising when people that speak a certain way do X thing.

If you feel the temptation to make fun of someone's dialect, or to use it as this kind of proxy for classism or regionalism, I'd like to ask you to think twice, and especially to think about the collateral damage.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:00 PM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


I, in all my conservative's-worst-nightmare glory, am also a product of the South. Sometimes I wish I'd tried less hard not to have an accent.

No one ever thought I had an accent until I moved to the West Coast. It was pretty light. Then, a few months ago, I apparently began channeling the ghost of Foghorn Leghorn.

Perhaps there is still hope for you.
posted by Michele in California at 1:00 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe generally this MeTa isn't the best place to shoot off the ironic "People from here are like this! Ha ha, you get that I'm kiddin', right?!?" cannon.
posted by Etrigan at 1:03 PM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


Apropos of nothing else I'd like to point out that a 'burrito bowl' is a stupid concept and Chipotle should go to hell.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:03 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Could y'all stop with the food? It's dismissive of the points sciatrix is trying to raise. It's like if a bunch of dudes came into a thread about feminism and started talking NASCAR. It's not that there wouldn't be people in the thread who were interested in NASCAR, regardless of sex or gender, it's that it's fucking irrelevant and nothing more than an arm-waving attempt to say "Hey that thing you're talking about is boring, look over here!"

I like Mexican food and pizza and bbq, but come on, knock it off.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:05 PM on November 13, 2015 [50 favorites]


As noted above I am from Colorado and will generally go pretty far in defending Chipotle from a lot of things but, shakespeherian, yeah.
posted by 7segment at 1:06 PM on November 13, 2015


Phyltre, that comment is so good I want it spun off into its own post or maybe a TV series. I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about that before but I sure have experienced it, along with the sort of conforming pressure that says that just being different from other people is somehow impertinent. It shaped how I thought about identity and politics and I'm still working that out. I don't want to derail here because this is getting tangential, but wow, great comment.
posted by thetortoise at 1:08 PM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well, there's also a difference between saying something like "Columbus has the second highest rate of police-involved shooting deaths in the country" - something which is factually true (depending on where you get your stats) - and "Ohio is full of racist white cops who hate black people," which is an untrue, overgeneralizing inflammatory statement. I think Klang's comment falls more under the former than the latter.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:08 PM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


C'mon, now. Jumbo slice is for out-of-town college students who don't know any better.

Haha, co-signed. DC's true street food is the pupusa and if you disagree you're simply wrong and I'll fight you. (Well, maybe not, because I have tiny arms like a tyrannosaur and am not good in fights.)

But yeah, I'm from NoVA and we can be the worst about this--I think proximity is a big part of it, because we want to make sure to distinguish ourselves from those Virginians. Which always, really, at the end, boiled down to "Virginians who are poorer than we are and live in areas with a lower median income". It's taken a long time for me to realize how deeply, deeply classist I was being in all my assumptions and stereotypes about the rest of my home state (and by extension, most of the US). I still slip up and say something stupid from time to time because it's hard to internally push back when you've been steeped in this crap for years, and I'm glad we have this thread and hope we can establish a strong culture of respectfully and gently calling each other on this stuff when we see it. That, or FIAMO when appropriate.
posted by capricorn at 1:13 PM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


texans dip their pizza in ranch...and it's delicious.

#notalltexans
posted by grouse at 1:15 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree that the food stuff is a derail but tbh we probably need to have a no-rules Regional Food Thunderdome MeTa someday to get all this out of our system.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:17 PM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


I really appreciate sciatrix putting this post together. I'll admit that I've definitely been guilty of bashing the US South, although probably more so IRL than on mefi (not that that's better).

I grew up in the South before moving to the Boston area, and I definitely have a lot of residual feelings of bitterness about being the token liberal Jew in a sea of Christian conservative intolerance, but it's also hypocritical of me to be chiding someone else for intolerance while I'm perpetuating negative stereotypes of an entire region.

Sometimes it can be a bit balancing act, because on the one hand, as someone who spent the first 18 years of my life there, I do want to be able to talk about that experience, but I'd like to think there's a difference between sharing a story about my high school history teacher who was adamant about always using "We" whenever talking about the Confederacy and just being like, "Southerners are such hicks, amirite? lol." I'd be interested to hear from other mefites about where they think that line is and how they handle this kind of thing.

I'm glad we're able to have this discussion, and this is something I'm going to try to be even more mindful of going forward both on mefi and in my offline interactions.
posted by litera scripta manet at 1:19 PM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Could y'all stop with the food?

Agree and sorry for my part in it.
posted by Miko at 1:22 PM on November 13, 2015


Could y'all stop with the food? It's dismissive of the points sciatrix is trying to raise.

It's reasonable to say it was maybe a bit early to go off on the friendly digressions and goofy tangents route (even if that is a MeTa tradition.)

But speaking as a Southerner, not a drop of this is bothering me. I'm disinclined to beat anyone up over it. I think making everything about food is about as natural as it gets for Southern topics.

So "Hey folks, eye on the ball" seems fair. But no, I don't think anyone was trying to minimize the issue either.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:23 PM on November 13, 2015


[One comment removed, cool it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:23 PM on November 13, 2015


I think the thread conflates a lot of different kinds of comments; the food example falls under punchy regional shit-talking, which (personally) I think is fine. I likewise think someone saying "where I live kind of sucks" is also fine (which Squeak Attack did about Arizona, though it's since been deleted in this thread). BUT: I think the kind of "just move" or "they're getting what they deserve" comments in post-election threads is awful.

But like, there's a huge number of comments that could fall anywhere along that spectrum. klang's comment was incredibly innocuous (the north isn't all rosy, here's a simple straightforward fact about the KKK's presence there) but someone else from the area got pretty het up about it. And the earlier comment I responded to - a joke that everyone in blue states has Master's Degrees - was, I thought, way more toxic, in that it basically erases the huge numbers of northerners who have it pretty rough. But no one really responded to that one, presumably because they didn't find that kind of erasure all that offensive (including me, tbh; it is, as Atreides described, a pretty light cross to bear).

So regarding this whole thread: it's kind of a difficultly-actionable MeTa for me because I agree that some comments are Too Far, but don't agree that necessarily any comment calling a place shitty should be out-of-bounds. And it's become evident that mefites' boundaries for what constitutes acceptable shit-talking about geography are in very different places.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:26 PM on November 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Greg Nog, I think the question then becomes what is the real value of the shit-talking. If it's just "fine" then maybe the absence of it is also "fine" and doesn't come with the risks of it going too far / being misinterpreted / increasing the signal-to-noise ratio of thread that tangentially touch on regional issues.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:29 PM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


"...using 'fake' southern dialect to indicate someone that's backwards or stupid..."

Yes, yes, this is the most terrible thing in the world. Which is particularly embarrassing because I've done it all my life. It didn't occur to me how horrible it is until witheringly recently, when I noted that my MOTHER has taken to doing it. It's really striking because she's got no ear at all. She just pronounces things in any nonstandard way that occurs to her, and that's supposed to signal "talking like southren people." (She says "southren," as in "is that a southren thing?" Because for some reason known only to herself she decided that southreners pronounce it with an extra r. Or actually. Possibly because she proudly doesn't know HOW they say it, because she's not listening past "how they say it is wrong.") She's from Pennsylvania and she's lived here since the early 60s and both her children were born here, but she's very proudly nawthrin, horsaaaalf, and maybe a little tiny ashaaaaarmmed of her southrin yarnginz so for instance she can't say "New Orleans" like a human being she has to say "GNAAAAAAAAAAAARLns" ostentatiously and then look around with a winky little smile and wait for the applause.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:29 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Apparently my response to being told to "knock off the drive-by bullshit" was impolitic.

I invite the good sir who so nobly hailed me with his complaint to reread my previous comment and ask himself if it might be his understanding of it that is faulty, and whether by being defensive and minimizing the problems that the Great Lake State has, he might be further perpetuating an image of The South as somehow distinct from the racial travails of the rest of the country, and whether having such an immediate inclination to assume he was being impugned might be analogous to Queen Gertrude's critique of the Player Queen.

Surely, upon reconsideration, the sagacity of my interlocutor will compel him to proffer amends for his hasty misreading.
posted by klangklangston at 1:30 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it can be a bit balancing act

It totally is, and it's a difficult one. Let's be honest -- there's a lot to be angry about with regard to things that have happened in the south decades and centuries ago, as well as days and months ago. But threads that involve Southern states or rural areas have a tendency to draw comments like "Fuck the South," or "Fuck Texas." And when you grew up in the South, or in Texas, and your family is still there (like mine is), the response to that becomes a tightrope walk. On the one hand, you want to point out that you can't paint everyone in one state or one region with such a broad brush, that even though some people in the South or in Texas do shitty things, not everyone does. But when you do that, people think you're being an apologist for the shitty things, when you also agree that they're shitty.

It's something Metafilter does not do well, and one thing that would well-serve Metafilter is listening -- as we have learned and are learning to do -- to the voices who say that this kind of thing hurts. Listen to them, recognize when you do it, and figure out how to do it better.

I said it in the thread about the Metatalk queue, but I'm more comfortable on Metafilter saying that I'm gay than saying that I grew up in Texas. That's a problem, and it's a site problem.

And that's why it's irksome to see the conversation to devolve into jokey stuff about Southern food -- which I love, and which I love to talk about, but which shouldn't take up air here just because it falls under the mythical umbrella of the South. That's an example of the broad-brush problem I'm talking about.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:31 PM on November 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


CCould y'all stop with the food?

I'm open to metas being run like a faculty meeting, but I think we should've been handed an agenda first.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:31 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think "Yes, the South is full of assholes... but so are other places!" is really what the poster was looking for here.
posted by Etrigan at 1:32 PM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Could y'all stop with the food? It's dismissive of the points sciatrix is trying to raise.

For my part, I didn't mean it that way and I'm sorry if it seemed dismissive. I'm aware of the issues that sciatrix was raising and completely agree; my comment was mostly to demonstrate the kind of intraregional joking that I think is fine and different than what sciatrix is talking about.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:33 PM on November 13, 2015


Getting back to the main subject... I kinda wish people didn't always have to always conflate Southern with small-town rural, too. I mean, I'm Southern, sure enough. But I also grew up next to the mall. Most of my life I've lived in towns with populations of a million or more. Being Southern is definitely a regional identity, even if the interstate does run through your town.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:33 PM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm open to metas being run like a faculty meeting, but I think we should've been handed an agenda first.

Use your words. If you think the food talk was relevant, or this should be a free for all and I shouldn't have said anything, say that. I challenge you to show your work, though.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:34 PM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


i am happy to move on from the food talk, but i will say that i disagree with the comparison of men shitting up feminist threads, as most of the participants of the food derail are southern.
posted by nadawi at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I can sympathize with the food-as-seeming-distraction thing and it'd probably be a good idea to at least not have it take over the discussion completely, but I definitely sympathize with the sense that food-culture-as-identity thing is more of a form of empathetic goofing in the spirit of understanding in this case than people trying to kill a discussion by injecting something unrelated, etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


Could y'all stop with the food?

I apologize if it seems dismissive, but I think that the topic is very relevant to this thread, even if we're not addressing it well. The ingredients, foods, meals and restaurants we have access to can change drastically depending on both financial and geographic status. Which should be part of a discussion about regional stereotypes. And class issues. And poverty. When condescending comments about specific areas of the country are made, they're often about either politics or food, related to the Haves and Have Nots.
posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


BBQ depreciated? That's a viscious lie, y'all!
posted by Oyéah at 1:45 PM on November 13, 2015


Getting back to the main subject... I kinda wish people didn't always have to always conflate Southern with small-town rural, too.

This is an interesting problem, too, because it's also something that Southerners do as well. That doesn't excuse it, obviously, but the Southern life as imagined in the institutions of Southern culture by Southerners is largely a rural existence. Country music is the most obvious contemporary example, but agrarianism is a streak in Southern culture at all levels. I think there's work for everyone to do on overcoming that conflation, including myself as a white Southerner (moved away) whose mental image of the South is somewhat at odds with the small cities and suburbs I actually come from.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:45 PM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


"But threads that involve Southern states or rural areas have a tendency to draw comments like "Fuck the South," or "Fuck Texas.""

To be fair, the majority of those comments seem to be at least a decade old.

"I don't think "Yes, the South is full of assholes... but so are other places!" is really what the poster was looking for here."

Well, since the point was less that the South is full of assholes and so is Michigan, and more that the things described as if they are uniquely or disproportionately southern that make the South full of assholes are not actually unique to the South, so by implication it's inaccurate at best to present them as if they are reasonable stereotypes of the South, I might wonder if you're only replying to staunch the annual disappointment with the collapsing Lions, which usually peaks right around now.
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Use your words. If you think the food talk was relevant, or this should be a free for all

Beyond a general request to be a little more thoughtful when talking about the American south—a request I think is perfectly fine to make—I don't know what is "relevant" to this discussion or what was supposed to take place. If there are more specific points to be made, or specific ways that we were expected to engage with this discussion then I must have overlooked them, impulsive and headstrong southerner that I am.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:48 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Country music is the most obvious contemporary example, but agrarianism is a streak in Southern culture at all levels."

Rural America as seen through the Nashville industrial complex. I kinda wonder how much of it is a desire to connect to alienated rural roots. (Well, that and country's the only mainstream genre that still reliably does good narrative songwriting.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:48 PM on November 13, 2015


Wait, I've been way too hard on my poor mom. I don't think she's trying to indicate southern people are backwards or stupid. It's more like colorful and mysterious? Which of course is not a marked improvement on backwards and stupid, but it's not amazing that she's got some zones of opacity or unexamined ideas about regional differences because she's like a thousand years old. Whereas I do not have any excuse. And now I just got all age-ist on my mom. Huurrgh, my God, I've been on here all day screaming my ideas. I need to quit typing.
posted by Don Pepino at 1:50 PM on November 13, 2015


Well, that and country's the only mainstream genre that still reliably does good narrative songwriting.

totally derailing again but there's hip-hop too
posted by thetortoise at 1:51 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, let's not bury the food derail and then immediately start one for music.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:52 PM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


A fight about food followed immediately by a fight about music seems like the most Southern thing we could do.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:54 PM on November 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


biffa: Indeed, in the UK the rural south is where all the rich poshos live, voting Tory and shitting on the poor.

Too Ticky: I wouldn't know about that, either. You know, some of us are from other other countries.


Happy to clue you in.

In Germany its the Bavarians.
posted by biffa at 2:00 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


0_0 _ . . .looks like i picked the wrong week to give up smoking
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:09 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


If we're going to do digressions, I'm going to come back later and hope we've gotten to the one where I get to complain about terrible imitations of Southern accents.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:09 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


A fight about food followed immediately by a fight about music seems like the most Southern thing we could do.

You've just described 90% of all depictions of Louisiana* in popular culture. Add vampires and you've got it covered.

* And Memphis, if you replace "vampires" with "crime".

posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:15 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


totally derailing again but there's hip-hop too

...a lot of which originates out of the south today. Yet I agree, as important as both food and music topics are, I think that discussing food and music right now right here would be kind of a cheap cop-out, because those are the things even people with contempt for the South love to profess admiration for (and/or sincerely admire). Both are more complex than they initially appear, sure, but they are the easy gimmes - and I am certainly one who has sung their praises constantly (I was born in TX and lived there as a child, spent a good deal of time there, half my family's Texan, I have many family members throughout the South). What I think is harder than talking/arguing about food is for people to cross deeper cultural divides to show respect for things, places, people, and events that they don't already think are cool, that don't have festivals and magazines and websites devoted exclusively to their praise and to parsing their infinite variations in an aesthetic manner. It's the labelling of an entire region as backward, illiterate, racist, ignorant, monocultural, etc., invisibilizing huge swaths of their populations and dismissing their lives and concerns, and then trading on that widely shared trope among one another, that is problematic. "Boy but those yokels do have some good food" is a pretty time-honored way out of a more difficult issue, and it would be great if we could set the south's overwhelmingly many positive contributions to American popular culture aside in order to talk about the more negative cultural stereotypes, why we have them, the harm they do, and how to avoid them. This post I made relatively recently of a great essay about about Mountain Dew and disdain for/ignorance of Appalachia resulted in some interesting discussion about that, but it was the tip of the iceberg. It's a bias a lot of people who think of themselves as otherwise right-thinking have, and it is harmful, not to mention that it really weakens the polity and contributes further to the overall polarization of the electorate, aiding and abetting the mechanisms used to generate "culture wars."
posted by Miko at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


I'd be interested to hear from other mefites about where they think that line is and how they handle this kind of thing.

I'm from one of those square states out west; I actually have a hard time with that line IRL and MeFi, too. There's this constant state of tension in which you don't belong to any world. I'm definitely guilty of making jokes, but they're defensive jokes set up as a wall of disassociation ( $joke$ see, I'm not like *those* shitheels!) Or wrapping up comments in an envelope of defensiveness. Or not commenting at all, because I don't feel like saying, hey, listen to the rest of my comment and don't judge me based on the first line about where I'm from.

It's really hard to be a progressive among conservatives. Where you live or are from (or work), you're shit on because of your beliefs. When you're among those with similar beliefs, you're shit on because of where you're from or live. To wit: I'm so tired of hearing from conservative relatives that I've betrayed and lost all my values because I went to college, and I'm so tired of many college educated liberals assuming a certain level of education and values when they hear the western drawl leave my mouth.

It's this same kind of tension about where I'm from. I hate and loathe and despise quite a number of things about where I'm from, including my parents' political attitudes. But I also love where I'm from; I loved my childhood and I love my parents. Deeply. I still get quite homesick and there are certain things about my birthplace and culture that I would love to share more about here on MeFi, and though occasionally I do I usually don't. I would not be where I am today without my upbringing, so to be defensive about it is almost a betrayal, or saying I'm ashamed, which I'm not. But it's also really hard to talk about the good things without wrapping it up in this hey I also acknowledge there's also some really shitty things about the place! to prevent asshole drive by comments.

But it's also wanting to discuss those really shitty things without feeling like I'm contributing to the stereotype in some way, and talk about it in a way that's helpful and not. . .whining or yeah, look at these shitheels, amirite? That's super frustrating, because IMHO listening to those of us who straddle the fence could be informative about understanding the why and how of those cultures. . . which could helpful in changing or defending against them.

So I can't tell you how many times I've written up comments and then deleted 'em. If I have a line, it's more about a certain person and beliefs. I have no problem making fun of a certain kind of white male with certain beliefs here on MeFi, but that's about their privilege and ideas, which are blatantly, proudly sexist, racist, homophobic, etc., and not their region (because, frankly, they're from everywhere). I also make fun of them to their face. So I guess my line is not about a whole region or anything, it's about particular people that I actually know who embody those beliefs. My dad is among them, for sure, but I lump him in with the same kind of guy I've met from everywhere - the South, the flyover states, rural and city, and yes, even California.
posted by barchan at 2:35 PM on November 13, 2015 [34 favorites]


To be fair, the majority of those comments seem to be at least a decade old.

And on that front, I think the frequency of e.g. "fuck the south" or "fuck [state]" comments has gone down over time, but it's worth noting that one of the reasons they don't show up so much more recently in search is we started deleting them more regularly. Which hopefully has helped discourage it in turn, but I did just delete one earlier this week as a for instance.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:36 PM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


re: miko's comment-- wow. that... seems really similar to our discussions recently about cultural appropriation. take what you like and ignore the rest or actively denigrate it.
posted by twist my arm at 2:37 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


THANK YOU for this sciatrix!

I grew up in a pretty rural area and I'm engaged to a woman whose parents are both super Southern. The words a person uses, the drawl they have, the things they like - there are million little things people can use to cut at you. It really infects everything, and you don't see it unless you're close to it. Our popular culture has a million little ways to minimize and dismiss the things people care about - as stupid, as tasteless, as dumb.

I could go on, but I've got places to be, and I'd just end up talking about other peoples' problems as if I even truly get it. But man. The ways I've seen people hurt for just talking how they talk, for being who they are, and for being where they're from. It's so totally acceptable for people to hurt each other like that, and it never gets called out. I'm glad there's an opportunity to say something now.
posted by teponaztli at 2:41 PM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


"This is true, there are no poor or stupid people in Massachusetts, they all look like John Kerry and talk like Grace Kelly"

And drive like.... even though I am from MA all the endings to this sentence are terrible jokes that are beneath me

I see this a lot (in reverse) by people holding up (rural) VT as a liberal enclave which is only sort of true and ignores the desperate poverty and other issues we have that are concerning and troubling. People presume we've got it all together (despite being rural) which is not at all true. I chose to live in a rural area but many of the people having the worst time here certainly did not and don't have many options for being elsewhere. It's good that there are some social services here even in the middle of noplace, but even if there weren't a lot of people are more-or-less stuck here for various reasons which are very real to them even if nitpicky internet people might not think of them as "real" reasons.

But mostly here to follow along and listen.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:43 PM on November 13, 2015 [15 favorites]


And drive like....

Jehu?

posted by cortex (staff) at 2:44 PM on November 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


jessamyn, yes! I used to spend a lot of time in Vermont. At one point I knew some folks who went to Bennington, and they used to constantly talk shit about the people in town. "Check out the latest in townie fashion!" It made me feel sick, and no one, at this supposedly ultra-liberal college, in this supposedly liberal state, got that what they were doing was making fun of the poor. I live in California now, and there's the same shitty dynamic between liberal enclave and everywhere else. People just have no idea.
posted by teponaztli at 2:48 PM on November 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


I mean, God, sometimes it's like people know they're supposed to care about the working class, and build strong safety nets and what have you, but when they actually meet the poor, it's all about how tacky their clothes are and how much their music sucks.
posted by teponaztli at 2:53 PM on November 13, 2015 [36 favorites]


mordax: " I'm tired of seeing posts suggesting people just move, too"

As a general note, comments like this should be a real "check your privilege" moment. If you find yourself typing a comment like this out, you should at the very least consider the following:
  • People who are part of significant minority cultures, whether demographic, geographic, ethnic, sociocultural, or what-have-you, are frequently born into that culture.
  • This means that, very often, entire generational family and friendship connections are encompassed by that culture.
  • Leaving the culture can, for many people, be synonymous with leaving your family and friends behind.
  • Leaving the culture can also, for many people, bring significant consequences for their family and friends in term of fracturing social connections, guilt-by-association, and similar effects.
  • Leaving an entire culture can be expensive and is a choice that may not be open to people because of that fact.
  • Some people may choose to remain within a culture and try to change the culture from within, something that they can't do if they leave it.
There are many, many more aspects to this. "Just move" is a facile comment, grounded in a view of the world that's fairly narrowly centered on people with the money and lack of ties that allows them to pick up and bail.
posted by scrump at 2:59 PM on November 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


(I also reserve the right to say that I-85 is the best thing to ever come out Georgia.)
posted by octobersurprise


Last week I heard somebody say, "That's the most ridiculous thing to come out of Washington since George McClellan!" in a conversation.
posted by workerant at 3:00 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I honestly think a lot of the focus on "the south is racist" is explicitly part of an attempt by non-Southerners to locate the issue of racism solely in the South and declare it otherwise done. Over time the boundaries have moved from "South" to "Red State" but the motivation and mechanism appears to be identical to me.

I also view the conflation of "Red State" with "Insane" is a way of excusing a lack of doing major support and outreach to marginalized people in about half the country. If one can say, "Well, they'll just vote against their interest - what are you gonna do???" then one can blame your losses on those racist white people instead of recognizing how "Blue state" politics still routinely and regularly marginalizes people of color and ignores their interests.

Liberals and Progressives seem to be willing to do a lot to maintain the image of being Liberal and Progressive while not managing the substance of actually being liberal and progressive. The issue of substance versus image is very real.
posted by Deoridhe at 3:01 PM on November 13, 2015 [30 favorites]


It's interesting. Probably two or three years ago I would have been totally on board with this suggestion, but MeFi has steadily changed my mentality, I guess. I mean, I still think it's a good suggestion, and I'm happy people are generally in favor of a kinder, gentler MeFi, but as a Southerner the phenomenon being described doesn't actually annoy me at all anymore.

Note: the following is all actually sincere. This is not some double-secret sarcasm or "gotcha" or anything. This is not a secret agenda comment!

I'm from Houston, so, yeah, sweeping indictments of Texas (or "all of Texas except Austin") used to bug me. But I've read lots of threads with sweeping indictments of men, and people come in to say "That isn't true for a lot of us" which gets countered with "#NotAllMen". Same thing for sweeping indictments of white people. Not so much for sweeping indictments of heterosexuals, and very rarely for cis people, but it does happen. And that bugged me a lot at the start, too, but people would argue that overall males/whites/heterosexuals/abled people/cis people/etc. enjoy privilege, so while there are unprivileged people in any of those groups, the discussion is about the overall group, and if something doesn't apply to you you're supposed to just ignore it. That really bugged me, as well, for a long while. But I guess I've mentally absorbed it. When people make sweeping generalizations about white people, it doesn't bother me now, because you're supposed to interpret that as "the white people that make up the white person gestalt, not literally every white person, nor even the majority of white people". Same for all the other privileged groups.

This combines with the fact that privileged aspects are given greater weight than non-privileged aspects when discussing groups. Like, people make sweeping generalizations about white folks. There are more white women than white men in the US, but in this situation the privileged aspect (whiteness) is prioritized over the unprivileged aspect (being female).

Now, in the 1980s or 1990s I don't think the southern hate would really fit this profile, because the south wasn't really in a position of privilege. But since the 2000s, there are lots of political decisions being made by southerners who have privilege by virtue of their voting power. And in the same way that "whiteness (privilege) is prioritized over femaleness (non-privilege) when determining whether generalizations are okay", it seems to me that "voting power (privilege) is prioritized over poverty/non-whiteness/etc. (non-privilege) when determining whether generalizations are okay".

Which is all a big roundabout way of saying that years ago, as a white straight guy, I'd read people making sweeping negative statements about white people / straight people / male people, and get a bit annoyed when it didn't apply to me or my similar friends. And people would say "If it doesn't apply to you, it's not about you, so don't worry about it". And that was a bit annoying, too. But after a long time at MeFi, that doesn't annoy me. I suspect I've probably started writing negative generalizations about white people, males, etc., myself.

Now, none of this is to say "No, sciatrix, you're wrong". I'm always in favor of kinder, gentler MeFi. The negative comments about southerners (and Texans) don't bother me, but if they all went away, of course I'd be totally fine with that, too.
posted by Bugbread at 3:10 PM on November 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


it's all about how tacky their clothes are and how much their music sucks.

Yes, this is a troublesome thing. I have (as an example) a very hard time (personally) seeing the appeal of NASCAR but it actually doesn't matter what the hell I think about it, it's important to a large portion of the local population, a population that I (unlike some others) voluntarily joined. So I...

1. learn about it
2. shut up about it
3. explain this process to other from-away people trashing NASCAR for snob-appeal reasons
4. watch my language for other signs of my doing this about other topics
5. try to explain to other people why shit talking in this specific way is actually part of the problem of institutionalized poverty and not just a random other thing not part of that system that keeps people stuck in so many ways

I think there are ways to talk about issues like poverty and racism without having to revert in any way to specious "Those people..." arguments and it's worth trying pretty hard not to do that, imo.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 3:13 PM on November 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


Just to further clarify, because I live in terror of being misunderstood:

My comment above was all about "This doesn't bother me, personally." It was not intended to mean "This doesn't bother me, and it shouldn't bother you either".
posted by Bugbread at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bugbread: You are conflating southerners with white conservative voters with political power. There are plenty of southerners who are indeed marginalized by the voting of those very same white conservative voters, and many of them are even more affected by it than the rest of the country is because those white conservative voters have succeeded in gerrymandering their states and restricting their voting rights. No, it is not fair to lump the southern oppressors together with the southern oppressed.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


Well, since the point was less that the South is full of assholes and so is Michigan, and more that the things described as if they are uniquely or disproportionately southern that make the South full of assholes are not actually unique to the South, so by implication it's inaccurate at best to present them as if they are reasonable stereotypes of the South...

For one, stereotypes don't need to be things that are unique to the stereotyped group. For another, while that may well have been what you were thinking, it really didn't come off that way to at least a couple of people here. And your condescending follow-ups haven't helped bolster the idea that you're coming at this from a remotely friendly place, either.
posted by Etrigan at 3:53 PM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


South Carolinian with poor, rural upbringing / long-time middle class Texas resident here. I barely notice this issue on MeFi, maybe because I'd take it about like venting over the unit in your organization that's dominated by bad politics ("lol IT") or like one of those hilariously ill-informed hand-drawn maps that make a joke out of how poorly someone knows their US geography (i.e. it's just absurd). But I appreciate that others may be bothered more and that folks are willing to raise the point, discourage stereotyping, and combat genuinely mean-spirited garbage that probably exists.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:59 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


(unless you assume that means i make kick ass biscuits - that part is true)

RIP recipe threads :(
posted by listen, lady at 4:10 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm an East-Coast transplant now living in the Midwest. And I guess what bugs me about some of the comments about the Midwest is the mixture of superiority and ignorance. It's one thing to badmouth the Midwest from a position of knowing something about it. I totally get that there are people who grew up here, left, and never want to move back. But a lot of what I hear is just dumb and ill-informed. For instance: there are actually several fairly distinct regions in the Midwest, and Minnesota is actually pretty different from Indiana. I mean, Eastern Iowa is pretty different from Western Iowa. So if you're generalizing about the terrible coffee in the Midwest, you probably don't know enough about the Midwest to comment, you know?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:30 PM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


uh i am one of the hard-working americans from the heartland

talk to the hand state


don't tell him that - then he'll start talking about OUR football team and then what will you say?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:55 PM on November 13, 2015


The negative comments about southerners (and Texans) don't bother me

I think that's fine, even expansive and generous of you. At the same time, there are people who really are hurt by those comments, and that's why it's important to avoid them even though there are many people who are fortunate to be able to laugh it off. There may be other things about your life - I don't know you or what they are - that mean your southerness/TXanness hasn't been a limiting factor for you, and you haven't been marginalized because of it. But there are people who do encounter bias against overt markers of southernness or working-class-ness - I've certainly witnessed it - and it can seriously limit educational results and opportunities, career progress, etc. I had a few encounters growing up in which my family's class status was perceived to be associated with lower intellect and capacity, and that among other things has made me really aware of it throughout my educational career. Expectations associated with stereotypes about race, class, and rurality are a serious issue in education (in fact, I wrote my final paper for my ed. degree on poor rural students, who, regardless of race, tend to be even more poorly invested in than some of the worst inner-city urban schools, and have even less positive student outcomes; given that they're inherently less mobile and less likely to have interdistrict opportunities that urban kids, it quickly becomes a self-perpetuating cycle). So, maybe this is one of those situations where it doesn't hurt you, because you are relatively privileged within the situation - maybe you've had college and travel, maybe you have other qualities of gender, race, class that let you be nearer the top of the social order so the biases impact you more lightly. As I said, I don't know, and I know you are talking about the fact that it doesn't bother you, not that we shouldn't all be bothered. On the whole, these forms of bias that wrap up class, region, race, and politics are still a negative, adding to the weight that people have to drag around as they try to achieve their goals.
posted by Miko at 6:09 PM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


Bugbread: You are conflating southerners with white conservative voters with political power. There are plenty of southerners who are indeed marginalized by the voting of those very same white conservative voters, and many of them are even more affected by it than the rest of the country is because those white conservative voters have succeeded in gerrymandering their states and restricting their voting rights. No, it is not fair to lump the southern oppressors together with the southern oppressed.

Exactly. That's what pisses me off most about dismissive comments about politics in the South; they end up saying that marginalized people in the U.S. South deserve to be abused even more than they already are elsewhere in the county, but the people saying that claim to be progressive.
posted by jaguar at 6:10 PM on November 13, 2015 [24 favorites]


since the 2000s, there are lots of political decisions being made by southerners who have privilege by virtue of their voting power

...and to add to that and the comments just above, this is no accident: those people who have privilege by virtue of their voting power have their very voting power by privilege of the closer access to political systems their race, gender, class, and education offers them; and what they've used that power to do is to work to increasingly disenfranchise people who have less of that power - using some of this same thinking. It doesn't take much digging at all to find incidents, quite recent ones with the resurgence of Jim Crow-style ballot laws, of active programs of voter discouragement and intimidation across the South. Which is a big part of the reason why the polictical system seems to resist change, and a big part of the problem with writing it all off as "the government they deserve."
posted by Miko at 6:15 PM on November 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


> Arkansas is another beautiful misunderstood heartbreaker.

My father's family is from NW Arkansas (and E Oklahoma); he grew up in a house so small he and his brothers had to sleep out on the porch because the interior was where the girls slept. Thanks to FDR he wound up doing well enough I grew up middle-class, but I have some hardscrabble relatives and racist relatives and Thanksgiving involved dozens of people and were complicated and I was forced early on to come to terms with the fact that the world and its people are a lot messier than is imagined by people who grew up in comfortable cocoons, and I have strong and complicated feelings about the South (I don't. I don't! I don't hate it! I don't hate it!) that are consistently rubbed raw by how a lot of MeFites talk about it. I agree with mudpuppie (thanks for saying it, mudpuppie!) that it would be nice if people would at least pretend to take the issue seriously and knock off the NO U jokes and recipes. I like jokes too, and barbecue, but as my sainted mother used to say, there's a time and a place for everything, and if you would like people to take your issues seriously, you need to take their issues seriously or go do something else.

Thanks for making this post, sciatrix. I really appreciate it.
posted by languagehat at 6:16 PM on November 13, 2015 [27 favorites]


hydropsyche: "Bugbread: You are conflating southerners with white conservative voters with political power. There are plenty of southerners who are indeed marginalized by the voting of those very same white conservative voters"

I think the people complaining about southerners are the ones conflating southerners with white conservative voters with political power, not me. So when I read "southerner" I mentally substitute "racist southerners" or "misogynist southerners" or "homophobic southerners" (depending on the topic being discussed), in the same way that when I read people disparaging "men" I mentally substitute "misogynist men", when I read people disparaging whites I mentally substitute "racist whites", when I read people disparaging straight people I mentally substitute "homophobic straights", etc.

I'm not saying you or anybody else should do this, too. I only commented because it's an interesting (well, interesting to me) change that I've noted in myself as the result of reading lots of MeFi threads about social justice issues. If MeFi weren't the cause of the change I wouldn't even have mentioned it at all. Like I said, while it doesn't bother me personally, I'm totally in favor of sciatrix's stance.

Miko: "So, maybe this is one of those situations where it doesn't hurt you, because you are relatively privileged within the situation"

Yes, that is absolutely 100% the case. I think the extent of my "suffering" is dumb comments on the Internet and dumb questions in person ("Do you have a gun?" "Did you ride a horse to school?", etc.) Not even a grain of sand compared to the mountains of bias some (many) others have experienced.
posted by Bugbread at 6:34 PM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bugbread, all your examples of "If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it" are examples of when very privileged people are taking objections to systemic bias personally when they shouldn't be. I get that you're not trying to derail the conversation, or claim that sciatrix's claims are wrong, but you're ignoring and/or not addressing how issues of institutionalized power change the equation.

All white men benefit from white privilege, for example, even if they don't believe in white supremacy. Not all U.S. southerners benefit from racism/misogyny/homophobia/etc., and so saying "If the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it" in that case is asking already marginalized people not to object to being portrayed as privileged.
posted by jaguar at 6:44 PM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


I get your point better now.
posted by Miko at 6:45 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Well, that and country's the only mainstream genre that still reliably does good narrative songwriting.)

Lately, mostly about trucks, which is a sad decline.

I also appreciate this post. I know I've made those thoughtless and wrong comments, but I've also lived in the south and when I read them they rub me very much the wrong way.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:51 PM on November 13, 2015


So, Bugbread, this is the balsa cross again. If people talking shit about your state doesn't bother you, does that mean you don't love your state? Because what they're saying is, "your state is an ugly mess and a lost cause and we don't care about it or you hayseeds dumb enough to live in it, go ahead and secede, or blow away, or sink under the sea, or flow out into the gulf of Mexico, or frack yourselves silly 'til you go up in flames, whatever, all you do is drag us down." I don't understand the complacency in the face of this attitude on the part of the rest of the country. What if the rest of the country had flung up their hands and written off the South in the 60s, the way they're doing now? No Freedom Summer, I guess. Where would we be now if people all over the country hadn't cared about the South then? Where did the love go and why don't you miss it? I sure do.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:01 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, God, sometimes it's like people know they're supposed to care about the working class, and build strong safety nets and what have you, but when they actually meet the poor, it's all about how tacky their clothes are and how much their music sucks.

Could not agree more, and it's a very old impulse. The earliest example I like to use of this phenomenon (though certainly not the earliest one in existence) is the Mr. Block comics. Mr. Block is a working class everyman who is repeatedly in situations of worker exploitation, and simultaneously the butt of the joke. He is an object of scorn and derision because he lacks the imagination to see a better way, and is suspicious of radical politics. These comics were popularized by the Wobblies, whose ostensible goal is to "unite the working class, not the Left". Even Joe Hill himself wrote a song about him, exhorting Mr. Block to "tie a rock on your block and then jump in the lake". I still see wobs touting these comics, and it leaves me baffled. Surely it's the Mr. Blocks of the world we're fighting for, and who we should be trying to organize, right?

It's super easy to talk about theory and to posture about the oppression of the working class, how they're trapped in exploitation and kept in the dark about their options. It's another thing to do something about it. That takes work. It's an easy impulse to fall back on pointing and laughing at the people you're supposed to be sticking up for. This kind of cruel sneering sickens me, and I hope we can do better.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 7:12 PM on November 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


jaguar: "All white men benefit from white privilege, for example, even if they don't believe in white supremacy."

Ooh, good point, hadn't considered that angle.
posted by Bugbread at 7:14 PM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm an Ohioan. You may assume I live in a rural area, but I've lived in 3 cities in Ohio, never in the country. You may assume I'm white. I'm black. Maybe you think I'm afraid of the police, but they've only ever helped me. Even in Columbus, Ohio. Where my aunt and uncle are police.

I never felt bad about where I live until I came here. There's this assumption that Midwesterners are stupid, that we're all the same, and a real lack of appreciation for the regional differences that make life here different (not better, just different).

My point is, when you see people as broad groups, you strip them of their humanity and their individual differences. Please don't assume you know things, if you actually don't. It's easy to joke, but kindness goes a long way.
posted by Aranquis at 7:18 PM on November 13, 2015 [34 favorites]


Thank you. I come from Oklahoma which usually gets lumped in with the South (which it shares a lot of things with, but not the same history) as well as the Midwest sometimes (once again, some similarities but not quite right). Living on the west coast and having to explain all the time that I'm no different from my friends and family who still live there gets so tiring. Metafilter really does do it better most of the time since at least we usually have people calling out that sort of thing, but recognizing individual people of all stripes live everywhere should be the default, not the exception.
posted by downtohisturtles at 7:23 PM on November 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thank you for posting this, Sciatrix.

As per always, a bunch of people got out ahead of things and said what I've been feeling with more grace and eloquence than I can manage. So thanks to those people.

The only thing I can add is this prevailing nastiness and othering of the midwest and south has made me a lurker and will keep me as such. No great loss, I'm sure, since I'm one person and this is a community of thousands. But there are people who silently love what Metafilter stands for and who are also silently hurt by its brazen cruelty all at the same time. Count me among them.

It's hypocritical to savage the red parts of this country. As long as liberal politics insists on demonstrating its own superiority through pithy one-liners, irony, smugness, dismissiveness, painting with the broad brush, sneering, assuming, and denigrating, the republicans will be able to maintain the choke hold they have on those parts of the country where they are strong now.

As long as the prideful people that come from the hills and the mountains are made to feel inferior by their "would-be saviors," they'll smell the shit stink and keep voting for assholes. Because at least those assholes pay lip service to the idea that they're human beings capable of hard work and change, even if it's a load of bullshit.

This provokes some really big feelings in me and I'm unsure of how to adequately address them. But this is the first context in which I feel that I'm able to say this. It's bothered me from the start, so thanks again Sciatrix for offering me that context.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 7:33 PM on November 13, 2015 [30 favorites]


Yeah, I get it, and I also know there's a difference between heartfelt bitching about the South with friends who are Southerners (past or present) and dropping a LOLTEXAS/ARKANSAS/WHATEVER into a thread. And I'll do my best to remember to couch my comments about the South and the Ozarks in terms of specific personal bitterness rather than broad strokes.
posted by wintersweet at 7:50 PM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


[One deleted; maybe try over without the sorry-not-sorry weirdness?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:56 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a lifelong east coaster with non-coastal transplant parents. Mom spent her formative years in Minneapolis; she moved to DC as a teenager, but still maintained a lot of family ties in Minnesota. Dad is from Oklahoma and is the only member of his immediate family who doesn't still live there or in one of the surrounding states. His parents and grandparents were classic Grapes of Wrath style Poor Okies who went out to California for a while and then came back.

Because of their backgrounds, my parents were firm believers in not bashing "flyover country." This was my dad's favorite t-shirt, until he wore it out; he still occasionally talks about how he wishes he could find another. During out yearly trips out to Oklahoma, my parents made a point of finding off the beaten path museums, factory tours state parks--anything to give me and my brother a sense of the local culture and make the trips more interesting. Any tourist attraction within a fifty mile radius of Oklahoma City, however small, I've probably been there.

At the same time, though, my parents hated Oklahoma's politics with a passion. One thing I remember clearly from my trips there is my mom taking time every day to hunt down a newspaper other than the very conservative Daily Oklahoman. Dad still spits fire when he talks about their current senators. But for all the open scorn of Oklahoma's right-wing politics in my house, there was also a very clear message that hating the politics was not the same as hating the people, or the land, or saying there was no local culture. To say those things flat-out bad manners and making fun of our family history.

That's really the first thing I think when I see anti-south comments here; where are your manners? Don't call other people names is one of the very first preschool lessons there is, so why does it go out the window for people from large swaths of the country? It's that simple.

(I once dated someone with the exact opposite family history from me; grew up in Indiana, raised by Philadelphia-born parents who hated their new home city and saw themselves as being more cultured than the people they lived among. That relationship did not work out.)
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:04 PM on November 13, 2015 [14 favorites]


I lived most of my childhood in Arkansas, and I'm peeved when upon hearing this people will ask me in astonishment: "Arkansas? What was it like, living there?"--as if it was some alien wasteland. ??? I had a good childhood! I like to wax rhapsodic about the Ozarks and Devil's Den and my favorite teachers. People continue to be surprised when I mention it was more diverse than where my family moved in my last years of high school in the north.

Maybe the situation has changed since I haven't been back in a long time, but I like to think it's for the better. My heart grows several sizes when I think about Fayetteville's annual pride march. (Or maybe worse. UGH HUCKABEE. & I am aghast over Tom Cotton. It's not like I was gung-ho about Blanche Lincoln & Mark Pryor or agreed with all their views but at least they weren't fucking idiots who wrote stupid letters to the leader of Iran. Argh...)

I don't think of myself as a Southerner; I've lived in too many places to feel like I'm really from anywhere (which means my usual song-and-dance answer to "Where are you from?" is a convoluted list that pointedly rolls over any hints at "But no really, where are you from?"). My relationship with AR is kind of complicated. Still, I develop an ಠ_ಠ expression whenever someone starts talking about the South as if they've automatically written off the entire region. Please don't.

also HELL YEAH Eureka Springs. I remember going on a school trip there and it was glorious.
posted by ilicet at 8:48 PM on November 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


oh man, you should have seen the spirited anti-tom cotton discussion that erupted in a packed baba boudan's (well, packed being 8 people, obviously) - we're pretty dang horrified at his election and activities. hopefully we'll get him out of there as soon as possible.
posted by nadawi at 9:11 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I lived in the south have family there and my father is buried there.

And I say "there" like some geographic marker. As if some other place.

My fondest memory is time spent at Mt. Pisgah when I was 10.

There is always here I suppose.
posted by clavdivs at 10:01 PM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think of myself as a Southerner; I've lived in too many places to feel like I'm really from anywhere (which means my usual song-and-dance answer to "Where are you from?" is a convoluted list that pointedly rolls over any hints at "But no really, where are you from?"). My relationship with AR is kind of complicated. Still, I develop an ಠ_ಠ expression whenever someone starts talking about the South as if they've automatically written off the entire region. Please don't.

All of this!

Fayetteville has a food truck pod now, you guys. Meanwhile, in the SF Bay Area, I'm 90 minutes away from the closest one! Also man are there a lot of hipsters* in Little Rock.

*bearing in mind that "hipster" is about as meaningful a phrase as "Southerner." Black Southerners are usually somehow not included whenever anyone talks about "Southerners," whether the speaker is condemning or uplifting the South. Isn't that interesting? Also overlooked are the Vietnamese and Hmong communities in Fort Smith. And all the Houstonites of Chinese ancestry. Not to mention a fair number of Cherokee people in Texas and Arkansas...And then there are all the hippies and artists who went "back to the land" in the 60s and never moved out and were joined by younger people. And that's just scratching a tiny part of the surface.
posted by wintersweet at 10:05 PM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Anything I would say about being liberal and living in the south has been said better than I would say it but I do want to thank the mods for the work they do here. I stopped visiting this site for a very long time and the attitude towards the south and midwest certainly factored into my leaving. I like living in Arkansas (minus the winters which are still too cold for my tastes) and I really got sick of people suggesting that liberals leave if we lived in red states or just being outright dismissive of entire swaths of the country as though nothing between the coasts mattered.

It is a much nicer place again overall.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:08 PM on November 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also my hometown of Springdale has the largest population of Marshallese outside of the Marshall Islands. Which I admit I had never heard of until someone here told me about the Islands.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:15 PM on November 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's worth mentioning that the people who live in rural areas aren't always conservative white yokels--in fact, we've had to repeatedly point out here that people of color, queer people, and liberals in general live in these areas, too.

We could also consider being respectful to conservative white people as well and not do things like refer to them as yokels.

I think "I can tolerate anything but the outgroup" explains a lot of what Metafilter does wrong on these topics.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:13 AM on November 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


I think we read "conservative white yokels" in that sentence differently; I see it as saying that people in rural areas don't fit the popular stereotype of being conservative and white and yokels-- that there are a number of people in rural areas who are not each of those things, or all of them-- not as saying that conservative white people are yokels.

And speaking for myself, I don't have much trouble being respectful to conservative white people-- grew up around plenty of them, have plenty in my family-- but I reserve the right to disrespect their politics, which have done a great deal of harm to me and other people I care a lot about. This side of it isn't a tribalism that will diminish as soon as we understand that stock car racing and Big Gulps aren't worse than hybrids and pour-over coffee; it's real disagreement, and it's not necessarily going to be mitigated even with far greater understanding of the other.
posted by thetortoise at 5:42 AM on November 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


I can see how "not everyone is a conservative white yokel" is the sort of phrase that could make someone feel a little less than welcome. Like, conservatism is only being mentioned in the context of the yokels that we are not. I mean, I'm not conservative, but I guess I would maybe be a little hurt if people were explaining that the South is a decent place by pointing out that it also has people who don't have my (implied) shitty politics.
posted by teponaztli at 5:51 AM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's fair, there's some implied disdain for conservatism there. (Though my mental response to somebody being like, "hey, are you saying the South doesn't suck because it also has people without my shitty politics? I feel hurt!" is Grumpy Cat Good.jpg)
posted by thetortoise at 6:01 AM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm kind of sleep deprived following the France news. That came out a bit wrong, I understand what sciatrix was going for.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:22 AM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think we read "conservative white yokels" in that sentence differently; I see it as saying that people in rural areas don't fit the popular stereotype of being conservative and white and yokels-- that there are a number of people in rural areas who are not each of those things, or all of them-- not as saying that conservative white people are yokels.

Unpacked, there are two things going on: One, that indeed rural areas are diverse (racially, ideologically, etc) and people should acknowledge that diversity. But two, that even jokingly using words like "yokel" emphasizes exactly the kind of unthinking disparagement that the FPP is criticizing, and that the people captured by phrases like "conservative white yokel" are complex and worthy of respect, which using that kind of phrase does not do.

I live in the west, but not the hipster coastal urban west. The jokes and disparagement about rednecks and hicks gets really old, and I always have to do a lot of eye rolling when I am in one of those cities for meetings and get to listen to people talking about areas they have only seen from 30,000 feet or maybe have driven through on an interstate. The casual disparagement here on Metafilter towards the south, the midwest, and rural America (especially when it elides how support for conservative politicians often comes much more from the suburbs of urban America) gets more irritating with every repetition.

Maybe most fundamentally, it makes me wonder why people would want to be so outspoken and proud of their ignorance and bias, which is what is on full display when someone makes an uninformed comment about flyover country. We have the capacity to do better, and routinely do so on other issues; raising the bar on this would make the site a better place.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:31 AM on November 14, 2015 [20 favorites]


My mother was raised in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1940's and early 50's before the Army sent my grandfather to Columbia University and mom started the long process of effacing any trace of a regional accent from her voice in order to fit in with her new Italian-American girlfriends in Englewood, New Jersey. By high school they'd moved again, to Denver, Colorado, and when mom went off to Northfield, Minnesota for college, grandpa was sent down to train astronauts in San Antonio, Texas, where he and my grandmother stayed after he retired. My grandmother in particular was a champion of liberal causes, civil rights for African Americans, equal rights for women, economic equality for new immigrants; though her reasoning might seem patronizing now, "we do what we can to help because they need it," her dedication and work was no less real for it.

My father grew up in Oak Park, Illinois. His father worked at a Sears store and moved his family only once, to a bigger house a few blocks away, when he got a promotion. He died pretty young of some major heart stuff. My dad told me his father was pretty racist in a highly specific Chicago German way. According to him we were the only real Americans. Everybody else -- not a generalized everybody but specific friends and neighbors -- was a bohunk or a polack, a Lithuanian, a wop or a Jew. And of course he recited typically awful things about people of color and the vast swathes of Other that he was socially or geographically disinclined to meet.

Even so, though my dad grew up around an unapologetic bigot and my mom was raised by uncompromising liberals, because he was from the North he would sometimes truck out a line of snide superiority over her southern-ness that would send my mom into an uproar. It was a cheap shot, a low blow, made lower by the fact that my mom was a southerner only until she was ten years old, and by the truth that dad grew up the son of a bigot in America's most segregated city.

But did she say any of that? Of course not. She knew better than to spark offense in the name of defense, or allow herself to be pigeonholed into sticking up for the perceived behavior of her perceived region.

I wish I could say she had some withering remark that would put him in his place but she didn't. She would just get mad and then go turn on the self-cleaning oven or bang pots and plans around, go pound cutlets or spray cleaner all over the window behind my dad's chair, one of her many strategies to wreck any satisfaction he might have gotten from lording it over their respective accidents of birth.

Why didn't she just tell him where to get off? I think because she didn't want to make it personal. What my dad was doing was applying wild generalizations to her personal story in hopes that she would defend the generalizations, a pretty cheap gambit that she was wise to. What she wouldn't do was to correct his generalization by making it personal, because personally, she loved the man.

When I started this comment I wasn't sue where it would end up. I'm not counseling anyone here to say or not say anything in particular. We don't have the benefit of years of love or tons of knowledge about each other on which to base our responses when someone tries to get our goat.

Is there a Metafilter equivalent to turning on the self-cleaning oven?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 8:22 AM on November 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


your dad's comments should've been deleted.
posted by twist my arm at 8:36 AM on November 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm still not very awake so I had to double check for a second to make sure someone's dad hadn't ill-advisedly signed up for MetaFilter or something
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:43 AM on November 14, 2015 [28 favorites]


> My heart grows several sizes when I think about Fayetteville's annual pride march.

My brother was at the University of Arkansas when he came out, in the 1970s. He had no serious problems (at least that he told me about). Go Razorbacks!
posted by languagehat at 8:46 AM on November 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


heh. sorry. BUT HE WOULD GET A GODDAMN PIECE OF MY MIND *shakes fist*

thank you for sharing the story. i mean i'm just livid on her behalf and i <3 the cleaner on the window behind his chair part. there has to be some emotional labor/sexism aspect as well. she's the one trying to (mostly) keep the peace even though he broke it. the power dynamics of a man insulting his wife, angering her on purpose, i mean... ugh. repeating this behavior when you know what will happen. that's just very shitty.

*bangs all the pots and pans, slams drawers*
posted by twist my arm at 8:47 AM on November 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


But ragging on New Jersey, still acceptable right?
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 10:14 AM on November 14, 2015


I feel that a lot sneering at Jersey is also classist, with an added soupcon of xenophobic ugliness against Italian-Americans. Plus the jokes are normally crouton-stale. So at least for my part, no.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 10:27 AM on November 14, 2015 [18 favorites]


I grew up in Texas and lived in the South for another 20 years. And finally got the hell out of there. I hate pretty much every aspect of Texas and the South with a few exceptions (Austin, aspects of Atlanta, the occasional oasis of liberal thought here'n'there).

Buuuuuuuuut, people wondering at my lack of Southern accent (beat out of me at school), lack of racism, supporting liberal politics, being an atheist, etc, gets very tiring.

Eg: Obama got 41% of the vote in Texas during the last election. That's over 3 million people. Dallas county voted for Obama.

But I get it, stereotypes exist, we see patterns. When I meet other Texas ex-pats up here in the PNW they often fit those stereotypes. What to do?

I don't know. Maybe just that extra half-second of thought before running with those assumptions? One thing I have seen, that surprised me, is how many conservative and racist folk there are here where I live.

Eg: 41% of Washington voted for Romney. That's 1.2 million people.

So the differences between all these areas are by degrees, not in kind.
posted by bfootdav at 10:30 AM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I honestly think a lot of the focus on "the south is racist" is explicitly part of an attempt by non-Southerners to locate the issue of racism solely in the South and declare it otherwise done. Over time the boundaries have moved from "South" to "Red State" but the motivation and mechanism appears to be identical to me.

Yes, I definitely agree with this. I would also hope that people would be wary of centering white regional pride/defensiveness in discussions of racism in the south. It's not a solution to the erasure of non-Southern racism.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:44 AM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I had to double check for a second to make sure someone's dad hadn't ill-advisedly signed up for MetaFilter or something

Which is extra funny because we have banned dads from MeFi before.

posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:43 AM on November 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Please tell me it's John Ortberg
posted by michaelh at 11:58 AM on November 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


[NOT DADIST]
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:27 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


You'd better watch out at that Met-Fi place. I hear they've even banned dads before.

Monsters.
posted by threeants at 1:34 PM on November 14, 2015


Don't even get me started on how they treat Grandfathers.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:42 PM on November 14, 2015


Tell me about it...
posted by y2karl at 2:01 PM on November 14, 2015


Thanks for this post.
posted by box at 4:55 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


West-coast folks are invited to take every damn seat if they mouth off about regional racism. I was born and raised in the bay area and if you haven't heard some horrendous racist shit about mexicans out of the mouths of supposedly progressive white people then you just haven't been listening very hard. Shit y'all, remember prop 187? It wasn't that long ago.
posted by supercrayon at 5:15 PM on November 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


What is it with Metafilter's secret Arkansas cadre? Why are there so many of us? WEIRD.

(I wasn't born there, but I lived there from around 1989 to 2000--fifth grade through college graduation--and I go back to see family about every year. And Fanghorn Dungeon LLC, my spouse, lived there for 99% of his pre-college life.)
posted by wintersweet at 5:20 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I think about moving away from Indiana, but it's probably never going to happen. My kids are in school here. My Mom is here and she's almost 80. I have a good job programming Ruby on Rails because computers work just as well here as they do in Silicon Valley. My wife has a good job here, too. Our money goes a lot further than it would in SF. My friends are here. Some of them are conservative but most of them, including myself, are just as liberal as people in Portland. My monthly payment for a nice three bedroom house with a nice sized yard wouldn't get much more than a broom closet in NYC. I frequently forget to lock my doors, yet nobody has broken in and killed us in our sleep. I don't personally know anyone who's been mugged here. Traffic isn't great, but it's a lot better than Chicago. Most people are pretty friendly.

"But Indiana is a backwards red state!", you say. My congressman is black, a practicing Muslim and pretty good about answering emails. Is yours?

Indianapolis: not the worst place to live.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:27 PM on November 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


wintersweet: because Arkansas is fuckin awesome and anyone who has spent significant amounts of time there has to appreciate it somewhat, whatever its problems. In college, I heard "oh yeah, I went through that airport, it sucks, flyover country" countless times when I mentioned I was from MO, and one day I met someone who was not from the US who was like, "ah yes! The Ozarks! full of biodiversity and unique culture, mythology, and natural beauty!" and I wanted to hug them.
posted by thetortoise at 8:57 PM on November 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


(Also question: what would be a better way for people to talk about their probably biased but maybe so far uniformly negative experiences with e.g. certain rural places (vs. people from rural areas)?)

I... Don't know, because i could say the same thing as you. In rural washington and oregon i've seen and heard the most balls-out open racism i've seen anywhere i've traveled or lived in my entire life(which i guess does shore up the south is not the racism zone thing being espoused in this thread, which is utterly true). My mom also grew up in a rural area i've visited quite a bit, and we both have dim opinions of it with relation to that kind of stuff.

I always end up trying to balance being an open minded decent person with being someone from a brown family that has encyclopedias of negative experiences in rural areas.

Increasingly it feels like, i guess, just don't talk about it? It feels disingenuous at times to wrap it up with a "this was a specific experience with specific people in this town, i know it's not everyone in that town" because obviously i meant that. But if people are going to take it the wrong way, i guess that's what you've gotta do? I mean, at what point does "I know this isn't how everyone there is or how it always is there, but every time i've gone there i've seen/heard stuff like this" become disingenuous or a fig leaf?
posted by emptythought at 8:58 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think "I've experienced X in this place" is different from (and more accurate than) "Everyone from this place is horrible."
posted by jaguar at 9:05 PM on November 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


#NotAllPeopleFromThisPlace

There's gotta be some room between the atomized single-observer experience and "everyone" that can express qualities within the local culture. I often tell people how racist the North Shore of Boston it is. Because it is. Not everyone, but it's also much beyond "I've experienced racism in the North Shore of Boston." There's a strongly embedded cultural strain of racism there, that community discourse perpetuates, and that is much noticed and discussed by outsiders, not just me - it's bigger than an individual experience.

There are measurably different levels of racist attitudes, political views, etc., across places - I think we need to be able to talk about that empirically without resorting to lazy tropes like 'South=racist' and sneering about it. Certainly I get the need to do that sensitively, but asking that people only speak to their own direct experience makes it hard to talk about cultural-geographical phenomena in general.
posted by Miko at 4:47 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


so wait wait wait, the message here might be "stereotyping places—any places!—is usually ignorant and arrogant"???????? no way.
posted by listen, lady at 5:28 AM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a native, long ago, of farm town Idaho, I can confirm similar experiences to emptythought's of other parts of the Inland Empire, as the Snake River basin is sometimes called. That may have been decades ago but still, outside of Boise and Pocatello, I suspect Mr. Trump's concept of what would make America great again is not wildly unpopular there.
posted by y2karl at 5:51 AM on November 15, 2015


I was not trying to imply there is One Approved Way of talking about racism, just pointing out that there's huge range of ways to do so, and especially when one is talking about groups of people who are themselves fairly disadvantaged (like US Southerners who are poor or marginalized in other ways), and that being thoughtful about one's phrasing and nuanced in one's target is such situations is likely more accurate than saying something like "Fuck Texas. They're getting what they deserve."
posted by jaguar at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I would just like to point out that this thread is going much better than I would have expected; the occasional thoughtless or condescending comment is getting promptly called out. I like to think that this MetaTalk post has something to do with that.

> There's gotta be some room between the atomized single-observer experience and "everyone" that can express qualities within the local culture. I often tell people how racist the North Shore of Boston it is. Because it is. Not everyone, but it's also much beyond "I've experienced racism in the North Shore of Boston."

I think the key is to localize your observations as much as possible. The North Shore of Boston is not "Boston," which is not "New England," which is not "the US," which is not "the West." I think most people are aware that specific localities have particular problems; the trick is not to make it sound like you're generalizing from that to larger areas where it becomes an insulting half-truth.
posted by languagehat at 9:17 AM on November 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


I would just like to point out that this thread is going much better than I would have expected

Boy, I was coming in to say that thread was exactly what this MeTa is unsuccessfully trying to push back against. It's 80% "I'm boggled those yokels aren't voting for what it's obvious to me they should vote for. How can we explain it? Their simple minds must have been clouded by talk radio."
posted by escabeche at 9:39 AM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yeah, holy crap, that's an awful thread.

"I feel bad for the sick unemployed coal miners, but really not all that bad" is exactly the kind of thing that needs to go away from this site forever. Wow, what an insanely ugly sentiment.
posted by teponaztli at 12:16 PM on November 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'd call that an example of a mixed thread, that would have been worse in the past. Not ideal (and the comment about but feeling bad for poor coal miners with no health care shouldn't have stood), but with less bad than I expected.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:26 PM on November 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I wanted to read that thread but was pretty sure that everything everyone said in this MeTa about "can we not" was going to be thrown out the window. Still unsure as to whether I should read it.
posted by Kitteh at 12:59 PM on November 15, 2015


The thing people who say 'well, what do I care freeze peach!!' should realize is that not making garbage comments helps them, too.

There are some things people who are affected will never forget that you said. I know we're repeatedly admonished that people's history is never to be mentioned, but it doesn't mean we all have those convenient kind of memories.
posted by winna at 1:04 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


> It's 80% "I'm boggled those yokels aren't voting for what it's obvious to me they should vote for. How can we explain it? Their simple minds must have been clouded by talk radio."

That's a really uncharitable take on it. Yes, commenters are wondering why voters are voting for people who oppose their best interests, but that's a perfectly reasonable thing to wonder about. And nobody is calling them simple-minded.

> "I feel bad for the sick unemployed coal miners, but really not all that bad" is exactly the kind of thing that needs to go away from this site forever. Wow, what an insanely ugly sentiment.

Yes, and it got called out right away, whereas a few years ago I'm pretty sure that would have been a baseline, totally accepted comment.

I didn't say the thread was perfect, I said it was going much better than I would have expected, which is true. If you were expecting perfection, yeah, I imagine you were disappointed. At any rate, the best approach is not to run and hide from threads on difficult topics but to go in and provide useful counterpoint. Call out the ugly comments and eventually people may feel less free to make them.
posted by languagehat at 1:15 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


And on revisiting the thread, I note this comment:

Also a native, lifelong Kentuckian here and I appreciate that this thread, with few exceptions, has not just devolved into another #LOLKentucky mess. Thank you.
posted by pecanpies at 1:25 PM on November 15
posted by languagehat at 1:19 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


> It's 80% "I'm boggled those yokels aren't voting for what it's obvious to me they should vote for. How can we explain it? Their simple minds must have been clouded by talk radio."

Talk radio is not mentioned in the thread; that's the kind of editorial augmentation that is less than helpful. There are things to legitimately criticize in that thread without making stuff up.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:33 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always end up trying to balance being an open minded decent person with being someone from a brown family that has encyclopedias of negative experiences in rural areas.

I really think "I've had these experiences in this place"or even "this place tends to play out racism in these ways" is very different from the LOLflyovercountry and LOLthesouth dismissals this post is aimed at. The LOL responses tend, in my experience, to come from white liberals who excuse ourselves for our racism by pointing at rural areas and going, "THEY STARTED IT." It's aimed at removing nuance and excusing misdeeds done elsewhere. Discussing experiences as a brown person in rural areas is adding in nuance, because the LOL responses are usually about a world made up of white people.

I've been thinking about the statements made by Democratic Leaders after backing Civil Rights, that they had lost the South for generations, and how that excludes the very people who created Civil Rights. There is a way in which White Liberalism is for people of color but doesn't want to include people of color which is incredibly racist, and incredibly baked in - a simultaneous paternalism and exclusion from power or agency, which we can pretend is less racist only in comparison to murders and cross burning.
posted by Deoridhe at 1:33 PM on November 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


I didn't say the thread was perfect, I said it was going much better than I would have expected, which is true. If you were expecting perfection, yeah, I imagine you were disappointed. At any rate, the best approach is not to run and hide from threads on difficult topics but to go in and provide useful counterpoint. Call out the ugly comments and eventually people may feel less free to make them.

I think the point of this thread, though, is that different people are bound to have different takes on stuff. I don't see why you keep saying "yeah, but it would have been worse years ago, and it was called out right away," because other people are saying this is still a big problem. I'm glad it's better than it might have gone years ago, but I still saw a lot of really negative stuff in there that I wasn't happy about.

I mean, I just don't see the need for a back-and-forth on this. I'm sure it didn't bother you, but it bothered me and other people, and this is the thread to point that out.
posted by teponaztli at 2:48 PM on November 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Talk radio is not mentioned in the thread; that's the kind of editorial augmentation that is less than helpful. There are things to legitimately criticize in that thread without making stuff up.

If it's not there now, that's because it was deleted.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:56 PM on November 15, 2015


Talk radio is not mentioned in the thread; that's the kind of editorial augmentation that is less than helpful. There are things to legitimately criticize in that thread without making stuff up.

The very first comment characterizes the voters in that Kentucky county as "hate radio" devotees and accuses them of getting all their news from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

You're right, it doesn't really come back again and again as a theme in the thread. But I didn't make it up.
posted by escabeche at 2:59 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


But I didn't make it up.

I reread the thread but obviously missed that. My apologies.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:34 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


A couple comments deleted. We're not going to get into the virtues or the vices of the south in this thread, thanks.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:14 PM on November 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've been thinking about the statements made by Democratic Leaders after backing Civil Rights, that they had lost the South for generations, and how that excludes the very people who created Civil Rights. There is a way in which White Liberalism is for people of color but doesn't want to include people of color which is incredibly racist

I don't think LBJ's quite accurate assessment of the bleak prospects for Democrats in the South post-1964 was in any way racist. It was simply an acknowledgement of demographic reality, and history has proven it to be, if anything, overly optimistic.
posted by Atom Eyes at 6:39 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


how that excludes the very people who created Civil Rights

It's complicated by the Great Migration, which brought many black majorities in the South to an end but contributed to the liberalization of Northern manufacturing cities, the power of unions, diversification of Congress, etc. - all of which built on and were interwoven with Civil Rights efforts, but in a changed geography. For instance, Operation Breadbasket went to Chicago immediately after Atlanta. Of course, obviously not all black Southerners left, but the mass movement of many did change the electoral politics in a way only numbers can, and that's what I think "losing the South" means in those terms - there was no way to win the South with blacks in the minority of voters and racialized politics enforcing white abandonment of Democrats.
posted by Miko at 6:59 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't normally watch hour-long videos, but Utopias Misplaced: The Cost of Outsourcing Dystopian Poetics to North Korea, a talk by Seo-Young Chu (author of Do Metaphors Dream of Literal Sleep? A Science-Fictional Theory of Representation) is absolutely brilliant and if I were still posting to the blue I'd post it. (I know both titles sound off-puttingly jargony and academic, but the talk is not like that at all.) And as I was watching it, I thought "That's exactly what the South is for Americans from elsewhere: the place to outsource their dystopian poetics." You take a place that has genuine and serious problems, ignore the actual people who live there and have to deal with the problems, and use it as a dumping ground for all your anxieties. Bad for all concerned.
posted by languagehat at 9:40 AM on November 17, 2015 [16 favorites]


Why aren't you posting to the blue?
posted by Greg Nog at 11:13 AM on November 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


For those of us that grew up in or live in the South, rural areas, or whatever geographic area or culture that is often misunderstood, jump in early to try to make some of the easily misunderstood parts of the cultural nuance clear.

There was recently a thread about a woman that did sales by riding in a tractor with a farmer. It was clear that lots of readers didn't understand the cultural nuance and misunderstood a lot of the article. I filled in a lot of the cultural background along with some of MeFi's other farmers (Monkey Toes and some others) and I think readers better understood what they were reading in the article. I think that thread went a lot better with the farmers filling in some knowledge gaps.

Don't be afraid to pre-explain some of the cultural nuance if it's a topic you know. It helps us all understand better.
posted by littlewater at 2:04 PM on November 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


> Why aren't you posting to the blue?

It's complicated. Short answer: 100 is a nice round number and I hate to mar it. Longer answer: when I started posting all those years ago, my posts were gratifyingly often met with responses like "this is what I come to MetaFilter for!" and enthusiastic discussion; I felt I was in tune with the MeFiGeist and had a sense of what a significant chunk of my fellow MeFites enjoyed. Over the years, that changed, and my posts started falling into the depths of the pool, barely making a splash. A few comments, a few favorites, but it felt like the site had become different enough that I wasn't a good fit any more. (In fact, I withdrew altogether for a while; there was a MetaTalk post about it.) I still enjoy participating in discussions I think I'll enjoy, and I correct misinformation when I can, but I skip most posts and no longer feel as strong a sense of identification with the site as I once did. (I read about MeFi Burnout, but I never thought it would happen to me!)
posted by languagehat at 2:17 PM on November 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


I miss having you as a bigger presence on the site, but people and things do change over time.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:08 PM on November 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


With Drawl - Any Southerner with a drawl or a twang in the voice is subject to derision, particularly when we venture outside our region. Folks hear the accent and the conclusions come quickly, even if they’re unspoken: We’re stupid. We’re slow. We’re backward. That’s why the work of N.C. State professor Walt Wolfram matters so much.
posted by Miko at 7:31 PM on November 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Obama got 41% of the vote in Texas during the last election. That's over 3 million people. Dallas county voted for Obama.

It wasn't just Dallas county: Harris (Houston), Bexar (San Antonio), and Travis (Austin) all voted for Obama. That's every major city in Texas except Fort Worth and the valley doesn't usually get a mention even though it is always reliably blue.

It is tiring to have to repeat on every thread about how Texas is terrible and should go away that 4 of the biggest cities in Texas, which is pretty close to half the population of the state, went for Obama so could we please lay off with everyone is Texas is a crazy republican.


(This has nothing to do with the content of the thread but I am loving that ya'll keep saying South/Texas because yes we are different and should not be lumped together.)
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:27 AM on November 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


(Yeah, I've spent most of my life in Georgia and Virginia and now live in Austin. For clarity, I've been lumping them because they're both frequent targets of nasty digs, not because I think Texas and the Southeast are identical in culture.)
posted by sciatrix at 8:18 AM on November 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


[One deleted; the request is can people not make blanket digs at Texas, probably better not to respond to that with digs at Texas, or opening a debate over what aspects of Texas are terrible, no matter how well-intentioned?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:25 AM on November 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Years ago, I read a history of The Deep South. It began by citing a number of different sources and their definition of The Deep South. Certain states, like Georgia and Alabama, are always included in everyone's definition. Other states, like Texas and (surprisingly) Florida are sometimes included and sometimes not.

Anyone saying Texas is part of The South is correct.
Anyone contradicting that is equally correct.
posted by Michele in California at 11:03 AM on November 24, 2015


... the request is can people not make blanket digs at mess with Texas ...

FTFY.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:26 AM on November 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm originally from Texas, and I've long noted that Texas liberals not only exist, and in strong numbers, but have a particular tenacity that makes them a great model for the rest of the nation. After all, this is the state that produced Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Molly Ivins, Bill Moyers, Natalie Maines, Wendy Davis and plenty of others. It grows robust liberals.

And just tonight, trolling the outrage news, I came across this from Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings:
Rawlings staunchly rejected the assertion that Syrians are somehow uniquely prone to violence, saying he is more concerned with the rise of white supremacy and the recent flurry of mass shootings committed by white men.

“I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up, but we don’t isolate young white men on this issue,” Rawlings said.

He also said that vilifying refugees only helps ISIS, as doing so falls into their “trap.” He then pushed back on the notion that ISIS is somehow representative of Islam.

“ISIS is no more Islamic than Nazi senior staff was Christian,” he said.
It's easy for many of us to say that. It's much harder for him ( I see he's already been characterized on conservative sites as "admit[ting] he hates white people") and he's saying it anyway. Hats off.
posted by Miko at 7:55 PM on November 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


After all, this is the state that produced Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Molly Ivins, Bill Moyers, Natalie Maines, Wendy Davis and plenty of others.

Hey, don't forget Jim Hightower!
posted by el io at 8:15 PM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


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