Southerners Quotes

Quotes tagged as "southerners" Showing 1-30 of 61
Maureen Johnson
“I decided to deflect her attitude by giving a long, Southern answer. I come from people who know how to draw things out. Annoy a Southerner, and we will drain away the moments of your life with our slow, detailed replies until you are nothing but a husk of your former self and that much closer to death.”
Maureen Johnson, The Name of the Star

Susan Sontag
“Every culture has its southerners -- people who work as little as they can, preferring to dance, drink, sing brawl, kill their unfaithful spouses; who have livelier gestures, more lustrous eyes, more colorful garments, more fancifully decorated vehicles, a wonderful sense of rhythm, and charm, charm, charm; unambitious, no, lazy, ignorant, superstitious, uninhibited people, never on time, conspicuously poorer (how could it be otherwise, say the northerners); who for all their poverty and squalor lead enviable lives -- envied, that is, by work-driven, sensually inhibted, less corruptly governed northerners. We are superior to them, say the northerners, clearly superior. We do not shirk our duties or tell lies as a matter of course, we work hard, we are punctual, we keep reliable accounts. But they have more fun than we do ... They caution[ed] themselves as people do who know they are part of a superior culture: we mustn't let ourselves go, mustn't descend to the level of the ... jungle, street, bush, bog, hills, outback (take your pick). For if you start dancing on tables, fanning yourself, feeling sleepy when you pick up a book, developing a sense of rhythm, making love whenever you feel like it -- then you know. The south has got you.”
Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover

Natalie Goldberg
“No matter what a person does to cover up and conceal themselves, when we write and lose control, I can spot a person from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina a mile away even if they make no exact reference to location. Their words are lush like the land they come from, filled with nine aunties, people named Bubba. There is something extravagant and wild about what they have to say — snakes on the roof of a car, swamps, a delta, sweat, the smell of sea, buzz of an air conditioner, Coca-Cola — something fertile, with a hidden danger or shame, thick like the humidity, unspoken yet ever-present.

Often when a southerner reads, the members of the class look at each other, and you can hear them thinking, gee, I can't write like that. The power and force of the land is heard in the piece. These southerners know the names of what shrubs hang over what creek, what dogwood flowers bloom what color, what kind of soil is under their feet.

I tease the class, "Pay no mind. It's the southern writing gene. The rest of us have to toil away.”
Natalie Goldberg

Eudora Welty
“Southerners love a good tale. They are born reciters, great memory retainers, diary keepers, letter exchangers . . . great talkers.”
Eudora Welty

Margaret Mitchell
“[Yankees] are pretty much like southerners except with worse manners, of course, and terrible accents.”
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

William Faulkner
“Only Southerners have taken horsewhips and pistols to editors about the treatment or maltreatment of their manuscript. This--the actual pistols--was in the old days, of course, we no longer succumb to the impulse. But it is still there, within us.”
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

Richard Ford
“She said that it was a mistake to have made as few superficial friends as I have done in my life, and to have concentrated only on the few things I have concentrated on--her, for one. My children, for another. Sportswriting and being an ordinary citizen. This did not leave me well enough armored for the unexpected, was her opinion. She said this was because I didn't know my parents very well, had gone to a military school, and grown up in the south, which was full of betrayers and secret-keepers and untrustworthy people, which I agree is true, though I never knew any of them.”
Richard Ford, The Sportswriter

“A determined Yankee book drummer once told a Southerner that 'a set of books on scientific agriculture' would teach him to 'farm twice as good as you do.' To which the Southerner replied: 'Hell, son, I don't farm half as good as I know how now.”
Grady McWhiney, Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South

“The past that Southerners are forever talking about is not a dead past--it is a chapter from the legend that our kinfolks have told us, it is a living past, living for a reason. The past is a part of the present, it is a comfort, a guide, a lesson.”
Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton

Tom Robbins
“Jerusalem was capital of southern Israel, known then as Judah. Isn't it true that there's always a rivalry between north and south? North and South Korea, North and South Vietnam, Northern and Southern Ireland, Yankees and Rebels, uptown and downtown. Somebody please tell me why that is? Maybe southerners get too much sun, like Mr. Sock over there, frying his threads, and northerners don't get enough (although I hardly think northern Israel a cool spot in the shade), but southern peoples--tropical and downtown types--always seem to lean toward decadence, whereas uptown, in the north, progress is favored. Decadence and progress obviously are at odds.”
Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

“Well, Southerners like to eat well. You see, it's an event when it's done right.”
Stan Shaw

Wilton Barnhardt
“Southerners. Such literate, civilized folk, such charm and cleverness and passion for living, such genuine interest in people, all people, high and low, white and black, and yet how often it had come to, came to, was still coming to vicious incomprehension, usually over race but other things too - religion, class, money. How often the lowest elements had burst out of the shadows and hollers, guns and torches blazing, galloping past the educated and tolerant as nightriders, how often the despicable had run riot over the better Christian ideals... how often cities had burned, people had been strung up in trees, atrocities had been permitted to occur and then, in the seeking of justice for those outrages, how slippery justice had proven, how delayed its triumph. Oh you expect such easily obtained violence in the Balkans or among Asian or African tribal peoples centuries-deep in blood feuds, but how was there such brutality and wickedness in this place of church and good intention, a place of immense friendliness and charity and fondness for the rituals of family and socializing, amid the nation's best cooking and best music... how could one place contain the other place?”
Wilton Barnhardt, Lookaway, Lookaway

Frances Mayes
“Growing up in Fitzgerald, I lived in an intense microcosm, where your neighbor knows what you're going to do even before you do, where you can recognize a family gene pool by the lift of an eyebrow, or the length of a neck, or a way of walking. What is said, what is left to the imagination, what is denied, withheld, exaggerated-all these secretive, inverted things informed my childhood. Writing the stories that I found in the box, I remember being particularly fascinated by secrets kept in order to protect someone from who you are. That protection, sharpest knife in the drawer, I absorbed as naturally as a southern accent. At that time, I was curious to hold up to the light glimpses of the family that I had so efficiently fled. We were remote-back behind nowhere-when I was growing up, but even so, enormous social change was about to crumble foundations. Who were we, way far South? "We're south of everywhere," my mother used to lament.”
Frances Mayes, Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir

“It is a great comfort to a rambling people to know that somewhere there is a permanent home--perhaps it is the most final of the comforts they ever really know.”
Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton

“I am often asked “Why do Southerners still care about the Civil War?”… Because it is unique in the American experience. Defeat was total, surrender unconditional and the land still occupied.”
Tim Heaton

Sally Mann
“The proverbial hospitality of the South may be selectively extended but it is not a myth.”
Sally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

“We have been told to ask about everything: Will it leave us free?”
Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton

Rick Perlstein
“I think the people from Mississippi ought to come to Chicago to learn how to hate." Martin Luther King, Jr. after the violent reception he received in Chicago in 1966.”
Rick Perlstein, Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

Vicki Covington
“Wasting talent is a sin. I’m not big on sin, but I know a sin when I see one staring me in the face. I’m not big on sin, but I know a sin when I see one staring me in the face. It’s just not courteous to not use or wear something that somebody’s given you as a well-meaning gift. It goes against Southern ways, not that God is Southern by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think He expects us to be an example for the rest of the country, as far as manners go.”
Vicki Covington, Bird of Paradise

Karen   White
“. . .I've been the sheriff here for about five years now, and I'm surprised we haven't met."

"She's been gone awhile--out to California," Trip explained.

The Sheriff nodded, replacing his hat,"Sorry to hear that.”
Karen White, A Long Time Gone

“If the least thing goes wrong with a saddle, or clothes, or a boot, you cannot find a soul to make repairs, and the other day a cobbler answered us, 'Yes, that's right, I'm a shoemaker, and sometimes I work, but I'm not in the mood right now.”
Louis-Philippe, Journal de mon voyage d'Amérique

James Baldwin
“The South is very beautiful but its beauty makes one sad because the lives that people live, and have lived here, are so ugly that now they cannot even speak to one another. It does not demand much reflection to be appalled at the inevitable state of mind achieved by people who dare not speak freely about those things which most disturb them.”
James Baldwin, Collected Essays: Notes of a Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work / Other Essays

Michael Lee West
“The first time I saw my father-in-law's cotton, I though of the Original Sin, gardening being the root of the South's downfall.”
Michael Lee West, She Flew the Coop: A Novel Concerning Life, Death, Sex and Recipes in Limoges, Louisiana

Tony Horwitz
“We're not migrating people,' she said. 'We live in our old houses, and eat on our old dishes and use our old silverware everyday. We're close to the past and comfortable with it. We've surrounded our lives with the pictures of all our relatives hanging on the walls, and we grow up hearing stories about them. It gives these things personality beyond just the material they're made of.”
Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Tony Horwitz
“But in the intervening decades, something curious had happened, an act of what psychologists today might term "recovered memory." Locals had reclaimed a past of their own , in which Todd County was staunch rebel territory, a pastoral land of Southern belles and brave Confederates. "History, like nature, knows no jumps." Robert Penn Warren once wrote. "Except the jump backward,”
Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Abhijit Naskar
“People from the country ought to be at the forefront of humankind's struggle for kindness and equality, and yet, the situation is quite the opposite.”
Abhijit Naskar, Heart Force One: Need No Gun to Defend Society

Abhijit Naskar
“The Country Sonnet

I stand beneath the southern sky,
Looking up at the heavenly bodies.
The twinkling stars know no color,
Then why we mortals beneath act so puny!
Country means heart, country means humility,
All that is pure is born in the country.
How could we poison its innocent soul,
By our savage escapades of bigotry!
It's high time we be the example of kindness,
For the streams of Mississippi carry acceptance.
Behold ye all blind with confederate pride,
Conscience rises above the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Let's resuscitate the country with love and passion.
We'll turn this land into a cradle of amalgamation.”
Abhijit Naskar, Heart Force One: Need No Gun to Defend Society

W.E.B. Du Bois
“First, it is the duty of black men to judge the South discriminatingly. The present generation of Southerners are not responsible for the past, and they should not be blindly hated or blamed for it. Furthermore, to no class is the indiscriminate endorsement of the recent course of the South toward Negroes more nauseating than to the best thought of the South. The South is not “solid’; it is a land in the ferment of social change, wherein forces of all kinds are fighting for supremacy; and to praise the ill the South is today perpetrating is just as wrong as to condemn the good. Discriminating and broad-minded criticism is what the South needs,—needs it for the sake of her own white sons and daughters, and for the insurance of robust, healthy mental and moral development.

Today even the attitude of the Southern whites toward the blacks is not, as so many assume, in all cases the same; the ignorant Southerner hates the Negro, the workingmen fear his competition, the money-makers wish to use him as a laborer, some of the educated see a menace in his upward development, while others—usually the sons of the masters—wish to help him to rise. National opinion has enabled this last class to maintain the Negro common schools, and to protect the Negro partially in property, life, and limb. Through the pressure of the money-makers, the Negro is in danger of being reduced to semi-slavery, especially in the country districts; the workingmen, and those of the educated who fear the Negro, have united to disfranchise him, and some have urged his deportation; while the passions of the ignorant are easily aroused to lynch and abuse any black man. To praise this intricate whirl of thought and prejudice is nonsense; to inveigh indiscriminately against “the South” is unjust; but to use the same breath in praising Governor Aycock, exposing Senator Morgan, arguing with Mr. Thomas Nelson Page, and denouncing Senator Ben Tillman, is not only sane, but the imperative duty of thinking black men.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

W.E.B. Du Bois
“Atlanta must not lead the South to dream of material prosperity as the touchstone of all success; already the fatal might of this idea is beginning to spread; it is replacing the finer type of Southerner with vulgar money-getters; it is burying the sweeter beauties of Southern life beneath pretence and ostentation. For every social ill the panacea of Wealth has been urged,—wealth to overthrow the remains of the slave feudalism; wealth to raise the “cracker” Third Estate; wealth to employ the black serfs, and the prospect of wealth to keep them working; wealth as the end and aim of politics, and as the legal tender for law and order; and, finally, instead of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, wealth as the ideal of the Public School.”
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk

Lindsey Rogers Cook
“Sarcasm and passive-aggression, two tenets of Southern speech, are difficult for non-native speakers. Bless their hearts.”
Lindsey Rogers Cook, Learning to Speak Southern

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