Stereotypes about the South
I disagree with the reason’s Alex Walsh gives in his story, "The American dream can by yours, but not if you are born in the South." First of all, Mr. Walsh talks about inner-city kids having very little chance of becoming millionaires in their lifetime. Just one example for success out of many for inter-city kids is Birmingham’s own A.G. Gaston.
He became a very successful millionaire as a black man during the worst part of segregation in Birmingham. He didn’t have the help and aid of the federal government and all its social programs to give him opportunities to rise to the top of the economic and social ladder. He pulled himself up by his own bootstraps with only the help of the black community. Today inner-city kids have all those opportunities at their disposal. If they do not use them then whose fault is this?
The economic outlook for children raised in the country has to be even less as there are fewer places for employment, educational opportunities and good paying jobs in rural areas. They do not have nor, will they ever have, the advantages of Affirmative Action and other government programs to give them a leg up in the world. Where is the equal concern for their future?
Most people do not become rich in their lifetimes in spite of the fact they might have finished high school and college and have good jobs. This is just the reality of life more than it is anything else. Success is determined by many other variables besides how much money they have accumulated in their lifetime like, quality of life and their satisfaction over the things they have accomplished during their life.
The only thing I have seen in my lifetime that has disqualified Southerners from getting a better education and opportunities for good jobs are the stereotypes that we must be ignorant, slow and lazy because of our accents and the region we grew up in. This prejudice and bigotry towards Southerners still exists, unabated to this very day.
When I was in the military, I had people from up north who had never been to the South ask me some of the most ridiculous questions about the South like, do we have indoor plumbing or do we still use out-houses? Do people in the South wear shoes, do we have cars or still use wagons drawn by horses etc. They were more serious about those questions than they were trying to be funny.
At first, those questions made me mad, then I came to realize that they truly did not know anything factual about the South other than the stereotypes and ignorance they had been fed about the South all of their lives. Until the rest of society in America gets rid of that unfair and biased thought process towards the South, we will be discriminated against because of who they think we are instead of who we actually are.
Then one day, we might be judged by our talents and work ethic instead of by the biases towards our history, heritage and culture which make us who we are but, not until then.
Billy E. Price