Delusions of Beulah

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  1. Adam says:

    Ms. Faulkner,

    I want to believe you. I really do. Back in the early 1990s, I had friends who grew up in the South, and a branch of my mother’s family was in the South. These were good human beings, not perfect but with the strengths outweighing the flaws by a good margin.

    But that was just after Clinton took office and before the Tea Party had become a genuine political force in the United States.

    In the past ten years, I have not met a single Southerner who does not endlessly praise his misogyny, his homophobia, his xenophobia, and his religious hatred of any religion other than his specifically joyless, hate-filled Christian denomination. This past decade, I have met many Southerners, but I have not met a single Southerner who does not refer to our president using a word beginning with the letter ‘n’ which I refuse to type out. I have met only a handful of Southerners who are not actively anti-intellectual and opposed to higher education, and most of them lust after homeschooling specifically so they can teach creationism, racial superiority, and other “flat earth” perspectives.

    Now, in respect for your writings, I will admit that these are all displaced Southerners in that they live near me in the western Midwest instead of living in the South. Perhaps they live here because the South doesn’t want them any more than we do.

    On the other hand, there are my Southern relatives, who now want nothing to do with me, trying to use “family ties” as extortion to force me to conform to their narrow-minded and hateful beliefs. Lest you think I exaggerate, I have heard them pray to God before a meal that the U.S. soon enacts the death penalty for gays, atheists, Muslims, and any “traitors” in favor of a more open-hearted immigration policy. They have told me that I am no longer their kin until I “repent” of my “liberal ways” and promise to date only White women. Yes, they now love the Tea Party and FOX News; until they fell in love with FOX and Tea Party types, they and I got along fairly well, and back them, I don’t remember ever hearing them use the ‘n’ word. Sometimes I would swear they intentionally exaggerate their Southern accents these days.

    In contrast, I have never met anyone without a Southern accent who has simultaneously used the ‘n’ word AND condemned all LGBT and atheists and Muslims AND condemned reinterpretted Christianity from a religion of peace into a cult of militant hatred. I have met many non-Southerners with flaws, but none who treat FOX News and the Tea Party with more reverence than they treat Jesus.

    If Southerners are as admirable as you indicate (i.e. no worse than any other part of the U.S. and in some ways better than some parts of the U.S.), then why hasn’t the entire South risen up in loud and relentless public condemnation of the Paula Deens and Pat Robertsons and Ted Cruzs and Jerry Falwells and FOX News supporters of the world?

    Why have Southerners endlessly allowed the most hate-filled and anti-intellectual and bigoted members of your community represent you to the public without a single disputation?

    If there were Southern voices raised in defense of the LGBT community, in defense of civil rights regardless of race, in defense of a woman’s right to choice, in defense of religious pluralism, in defense of legitimate journalism instead of FOX News, I assure you that Northerners and Westerners and Easterners would all join you in solidarity, and after the decade or so it would take to wipe away the last of the soiling of your communal reputation wrought by people like Paula Deen and William Akin with his “legitimate rape” lies, you would never seen another anti-Southern stereotype again.

    So, if you really do care about the South, please write a column explaining why the South has seen fit to allow these bigots to be its public face.

    Because until then, the silence of the South has given the rest of us every reason to believe that all Southerners agree with these public figures in their hate, violence, arrogance, and fear of science and learning.

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