Southern Stereotypes

How Stereotypes about the American South Can Be Harmful

What is the first thing you think of when you see a blond-haired, blue-eyed southern girl? I bet several things pop into your mind: the famous drawl, a love of football, and so on. However, these are all stereotypes, and the South is full of them.  While some of them may be true, these stereotypes do not apply to everyone in the South.

When I was little, my friends and I used to make fun of people with a heavy Southern accent by mimicking it. When we were in the 2nd grade, we finally realized that we were actually making fun of ourselves. Now, it doesn’t happen as much as it did before, but when it does, it is usually to make fun of someone, rather than ignorance. We have several people in my class who live on the outskirts of our city and they do have a heavy southern accent. Some of their friends will make fun of them for it. I’m not really sure how they feel about it, but I know if I was in that position, I wouldn’t like it very much.

Southern stereotypes plague everyone who lives in the South. While some can be true—I am a huge Alabama football fan and I do have an accent—not all of them are justified. I have never lived in a trailer park, I like country music but not a lot, and I wear shoes most of the time. Often, we learn to ignore stereotypes, but they can still be hurtful. It is unacceptable to judge people or treat them differently based on society’s preconceived notions of them, even though it may be difficult.

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