Guilty of being southern? Op-ed says media targets the old South while a new one marches on

Edward T. Bowser
on July 02, 2013

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, opponents decried it as a major step backward in race relations that opened the door for increased bigotry toward blacks.

In an op-ed piece for National Review Online entitled, "Guilty of Being Southern," Lee Habeeb admits that the nation is still struggling with bigotry – except that bigotry is aimed unfairly at the South as a whole:

"Paula Deen and the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving the Voting Rights Act make for an interesting counterpoint. Both stories involve what’s perhaps the last socially acceptable form of bigotry left in America: bigotry against the South. It’s a brand of bigotry reinforced by our nation’s biggest media outlets — and by justices on the Supreme Court."

"…What the Supreme Court essentially told the nation in that case was this: The states in the South used to do some really bad things a long time ago when it comes to elections, but they don’t anymore, so we are taking them out of the penalty box and treating them like any other state. As Justice Roberts said succinctly for the majority, "History did not end in 1965.’

"It turns out that the decision by the court last week came less than a year after an African American was reelected president for a second term, an election in which African-American turnout in the southern states was well above the national average. Moreover, African Americans in the southern states registered at higher rates than did white people in those same states."

Habeeb also points out that Americans of all creeds are moving in record numbers to the South and that the region is flourishing.

"It would be funny if it wasn’t so willfully ignorant — and so emblematic of how liberal thought leaders think about the South. They refuse to acknowledge that the region has changed, let alone that it has become an economic powerhouse. Alabama and Kentucky are two of the top auto-manufacturing states in the country. The Gulf Coast corridor between Louisiana and Florida is now the fourth-largest aerospace hub in the world. Boeing’s Dreamliner is being assembled in South Carolina."

© 2013 Alabama Media Group

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