Re “Sally Yates shows the world what a smart, Southern woman looks like” by columnist Celia Rivenbark.
Ms. Rivenbark, you are correct when you state that Hollywood and pop culture have done a disservice to Southerners for decades. They have chosen the superficial route of character development by painting a character as ignorant or backwards by sticking them with an accent that any real Southerner can readily identify as false and perplexing. You are probably less correct as you propagate that Southern stereotype even further in your piece.
If you have to explain that Sally Yates is a woman who is smart even though she has a Southern accent, one already grasps your perspective on Southerners. Does a Southern woman become smart and “enlightened” only when she rubber stamps your political ideology? All others need not apply for “smartness”?
I found myself enraged by this piece. The nerves on the back of my neck shot through the epidermis and laid bare on the surface. There has been an offensive “regionalism” that comes from the urban elite that assumes an arrogant superiority of intellect, and has conferred dopiness, ignorance, and fundamentalism on the South for a long time. Do not be deceived by a Southern accent.
We don’t all say “sugar britches” and our “y’all” wastes less time than “youse guys.” But if you want to culturally appropriate something when you come down here, take class, take the gentility, take the hard-as-nails, and never ever think you might outsmart intellectually a Southern woman because she has an accent or she’s been played by Julia Roberts or Reese Witherspoon.
If I were to appropriate a page out of your playbook on regional nonsense, Ms Rivenback, I guess all that’s left to say is:
Karen Hill, Murrells Inlet