SCREEN-L Archives

January 1994


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Condense Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sterling <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 18 Jan 1994 18:03:00 EST
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (53 lines)
On Jan 18, 1994:
> I am trying very hard to hold my temper in place here, but as a native son of
> the very southern state of Georgia, I am deeply offended by the stereotypes
> which are being thrown about in recent posts on the net. It astounds me that
> anyone who has looked at the media with any insight would take media stereotyp
>  of the region at face value, or that you would confuse representations of the
> south in the 1950s and 1960s with the reality today. Take any of the statement
> you folks are making about the south and substitute the minority of your
>  choice-- Jews, Blacks, etc. -- and see if you would be prepared to make the
>  same
> kinds of comments in a public forum. I honestly don't think most of you would.
>    Are southerners close minded towards outsiders? Look, I live in Boston
> right now and there aren't many other places in the world more close-minded
> to outsiders. Maybe southern resistance to outsiders has something to do with
> the snobbery and arrogance of people who come into other regions with the
> assumption that all southerners are dumb hicks.
>   Are southerners racist? Most of us from the south have had to confront our
> racism from day one, we live in a place where the history of racism is ever
> present. When I was going to school in the midwest, I encountered forms of
> racism that were so overt and so naive that it made my mouth drop. Fraternitie
> at major midwestern universities had "Martin Luther Coon Birthday Parties,"
> where everyone wore black-face, ate fried chicken and watermellon. When the
> frat boys were asked about their actions, they looked astonished that anyone
> would find this offensive. It was just an honest joke! Where I came from,
> you probably wouldn't do something like that if you had an ounce of humanity,
> but if you did, you would have known what you were doing and meant it.
>    I don't mean to be flaming other regions. All I want to suggest is that
> the south is being presented here as a scapegoat for national problems and it
>  has been used that way for more than a hundred years.
> --Henry Jenkins
Although I do not know the South in general at all, from my own experi-
ence of coming to Chapel Hill NC from Boston, that the South is not
as homogenously racist or whatever as I had been led to believe.  Grant-
ed, Chapel Hill is probably atypical of North Carolina, let alone the
South, but one shouldn't get carried away with generalizing the entire
I was surprised to find a thriving "punk"/grunge/what have you scene
in Chapel Hill and I'm sure the tales of Athens GA have not gone un-
noticed.  Of course, Chapel Hill is far from perfect; there are still
noticeable acts of racism but most of these are institutional or care-
fully hidden as they are almost anywhere else in the country.  There
are still the Jesse Helms, who, if are not overtly racist, do capital-
ize on racist attitudes, but I would tend to argue that the biggest
difference between such Southerners and, say, Northerners is that
Northerners are more sophisticated in their concealment/denial/what
have you. (My example of "alternative" music is only to point out
that things which are normally associated with urbane and/or liberal
areas are prevalent in the south as well.  Gosh, they aren't just a
bunch of dumb hicks down here.)
--Sterling Chen