By now you have probably heard about Richard Spencer’s talk at Auburn yesterday. I listened to the talk, and one part resonated with me emotionally the most. He described the emptiness many white people feel due to being cut off from our sense of connection to our people, which is in a way an extended family.
I agree with his assessment, but I believe this experience is a little different for those of us who are Southerners. More than most, we do still have at least some of this sense of ourselves as a “nation,” not in the political sense, but in the sense of this extended family with shared culture, history, and values. In this we are uniquely blessed.
Our detractors, who view us as their obvious inferiors, cannot understand why we take any pride or pleasure in being Southern. In part this is because of their need to feel superior and to project their own faults (“hatefulness,” etc.) onto others. But it’s also because they have no concept of being a part of an extended community with whom one has transcendent bond. They simply can’t relate to the love of one’s people.
The uniquely shared experience (among Americans) of defeat, occupation, reconstruction, and generations of poverty has led to a great deal of suffering, but it has also helped to define and bond us.
This is why, despite the fact that we are continuously derided, villified, and have suffered more poverty than the rest of America, so many of us still enthusiastically declare that we are “Southern by the grace of God.” Yes, indeed.