Wednesday, June 20, 2007

North vs. South -- Part II

I'm feeling very "Southern" right now, as I sit on my covered porch, my dog at my side. Of course, I'm sitting in an Adirondack chair and my dog, a half-collie, half-corgi mix is far from the typical coon dog that you see around here. And there's no kudzu in sight, but there are plenty of mosquitoes.

Part II of my reasons for why I prefer North to South Carolina should begin with politics. As I alluded to in my last post, many people had told me that South Carolina was more conservative than North Carolina, and I don't know if it's really true, but I do live in a liberal blue triangle in the midst of a fairly red state--and my particular slice of the triangle is so liberal that I've never seen a "W" sticker on a car in the 10 mile radius around my home, and in the last presidential election, Kerry-Edwards' signs dotted the surrounding landscape, and the prevailing atmosphere at the local co-op, the crunchy-granola-uber-liberal largely organic and pro-local produce Co-Op that is at the heart of town is one of progressive politics and anti-Bush/anti-Republican/anti-war sentiments. Which means I'm right at home.

But as I drove into South Carolina to visit with my cousin I saw HUGE placards supporting Mitt Romney's presidential candidacy, and LOTS of "W" stickers and, in general, a prevailing atmosphere of conservative politics and culture, most notably in the form of HUGE churches and billboards that had pro-Christian advertising. I also did not notice many Asian Americans. In fact, as I was walking around downtown Spartanburg the day of the ASLE conference, I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched--looked at--glanced over. Perhaps I was being paranoid, but you known when people are watching you and you know when people are staring at you. And all I can say is that I definitely had the distinct feeling that I was different and was being regarded as different. And that it was not entirely friendly. Or rather, I was uncomfortable with the attention. But beyond my racial features, I certainly didn't dress or comport myself like a typical Southern woman, so perhaps others at the conference who were white felt the same type of glances thrown their way due to their attire (which, at this conference, was very REI/Lands End). All I can really say is that I felt out of place and not entirely welcome/comfortable while I was in South Carolina, and whether it was racial dynamics or gender dynamics or a combination of the two, who can say? But I'll save the specific uncomfortable interactions for the last posting in this series.

1 comment:

Rodrigo said...

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