Contrary to popular opinion, we at Return of Kings are quite capable of entering stable, monogamous relationships—and I’m certainly no exception to that, as I am currently in a stable, monogamous relationship with a single woman.
Why do I bring this up, and what does it have to do with the title of this article? The other day, me and the lady were discussing literature. More specifically, we were discussing a book I had recently purchased, that being Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find. In describing Ms. O’Connor, I raised some umbrage when I described her as “…Harper Lee but for grown-ups”.
When asked to explain what I meant, I told her that To Kill A Mockingbird represented a didactic image of the South that the public schools want to convey (it’s about now that I should point out both of us are born and raised in New Jersey), whereas O’Connor’s writing represents that region in its complexities, as it truly was in her time. She found this thesis to be somewhat dubious, and the conversation shifted at that point. However, I still kept thinking about Harper Lee’s opus—I had read it long ago, but I still remembered all its major plot points. I also knew that to this day, the biggest fans of that book are nice white liberal dweebs. And I also knew that for the first decade and a half of my life, I had an image of the South as being full of blood-drinking inbred savages, an image that wasn’t broken until I actually met people from there and was overall treated very cordially (yes, despite the fact that I’m a product of miscegenation!). But the question remained: Why did I believe in such a negative stereotype, and why was that image created?
The answer to the first question was very simple: the reason that I, a boy from New Jersey, had such a negative image of the Southern United States was because that is what I had been taught for the majority of my life. Certainly, there were teachers in school making off-hand, hushed allusions to “The South” as a font of everything wrong with humanity (while avoiding making these statements too explicit in order to not be admonished by the administration), and of course pop culture did its fair share. Yet, I can’t help but feel that To Kill A Mockingbird, which exists in both the realms of high culture and pop culture, that has done more to entrench all of these tropes.
Bear in mind that Mockingbird has not merely created a blanket negative image of the South and its inhabitants—far from it. Instead, it presents the upper-class educated Southrons as inherently good, the middle-class/working class as somewhat ignorant but capable of redemption, and the poor as irredeemable scum who literally live in a garbage dump and are somehow the only racists in Maycomb—and I’m hardly the only person to point this out.
Needless to say, this unique set up has given the book an enormous popularity amongst those who would wish to lay all the faults of American society on the “white trash”, both domestic and abroad. But now that that question is answered, we must ask: Why would they want us to think this way?
I ask you to look at a few things: look at the self-evident desire of the media to leap upon any “Great White Defendant”. Look at how “goodthinkers” sanctify any minority mediocrity just by virtue of being a minority. And look how the media is outright celebrating the mass die-offs of poor white Americans—that is to say, when they’re not denying its happening at all. All these, I think, indicate the book’s importance to the modern world view
So to go back to my first question of why such a negative stereotype of the South permeates American culture, this is why: all forces of culture convene to create a boogeyman of evil whiteness that can be applied to everyone, not just people in the South. Whenever anyone in America says anything that’s “badthink”, they can just point to THE SOUTH and say “YOU DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THEM, DO YOU?” And of course, as nobody wants to be like THE SOUTH, they shut up.
When you get down to it, all virtue signaling is, in practice, the signaller saying “I’m not like one of those rednecks!”, which allows them to assuage their perceived guilt. The joined assumption is that there has to be a constant stream of “rednecks” to demonize: why else would the SPLC constantly bring up the KKK, which has essentially been defunct since the 1970s?
And of course from there, you’ve divided the country even further and with everybody squabbling with each other, the elites have prevented any change to the status quo.
Think of that each time you read about the deliberate covering up of black crime, or you read some journalist’s barely contained hopes that a mass shooter is an evil white man. It won’t take too long before you find a reference to those terrible, awful, Southerners.