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So Hillary Clinton walks into an Alabama church and speaks to the folks there with what some people think is a "Southern Accent."

"Har-har-har" say the nattering nabobs of conservativism. "That's a Clinton for ya; she'll be anything to anybody in her relentless ambition."

Yes, very funny.  But this time the joke is on them, because to many in the South - the great artesian spring of nascent conservatives - too many of us know all too much about adopting a "fake" accent everyday.  Only it's not a Southern accent we fake - it's Yankee.

More on the flip.  

I am from the South. I am a Southerner. I am from that region that gave birth to both the Confederacy and the modern Civil Rights movement. To the consternation of my fellow liberals on this board and elsewhere I remain a proud Southerner and embrace all my history and culture and revel in its contradictions. If you and I are talking face to face, and you insult my region or culture, then you are cruisin' for a bruisin'.

And yet ....

Every single day I get on the telephone to people who are not from the South and with whom I must do business. I need to do the business with them because I need to eat and I need their money to survive. But if I speak to them with my native accent - the one that reflects all the deep, flowing culture of which I am so proud - I am considered a dolt; an imbecile; an uneducated doofus, riding into town on a turnip truck just waiting to be bamboozled, flim-flammed and generally hoo-rahed into prostrate submission.

So I pretend that I am a Yankee. I do all I can to drop the drawl and chop off my syllables in neat, precise cuts. I pretend that I am a TV weatherman from Anywhere, USA.  

And I hate myself for doing it.

You cannot do business in this country if you are perceived as an uneducated hick, something I most certainly am not. I have attended a four-year college, received a degree and have spent the last 30 years in a field of immense technical complexity.  When I am home with my folks in West Georgia I speak in a way which is indistinguishable from other family members who are just as intelligent as I, yet some never went to college; a few never made it through high school.  We are a family, and a microcosm of the South at that.

Yet however comfortable we may feel among ourselves, each of us know that when we leave that cozy environ and go back to our working worlds we must conceal the only sign that most people have of our heritage and all the stereotypes it represents: our voice.  So I start speaking in a different way.  I don't succeed, entirely, of course, but at least I do not sound like an early Andy Griffith episode.

But all the time I am doing it, I am angry.  I am angry at you, America, for believing all that horseshit about dumb Southerners. I am angry at  you, my fellow liberals, for believing the notion that we are all a bunch of conservative yahoos.  On the one hand the stereotypes about the South inhibit me in my dealings to earn my keep in the world; on the other hand the prejudices keep my voice from being heard among the constituency with which I identify.

Southerners are among the few people that all people enjoy stereotyping and making fun of.  But it isn't funny to some of us, even if we join in from time to time. Not funny at all.

Originally posted to GarySeven on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:12 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  so you're angry at america, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, Alegre

    liberals...may i ask who you're not angry at?

    "heartless heather wilson's got a soul encrusted with ice; heartless heather wilson, well she's not very nice"

    by memofromturner on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:14:40 AM PST

    •  You. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Come on, kiss me.

      •  kiss a southerner? are you joking? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        i am...

        "heartless heather wilson's got a soul encrusted with ice; heartless heather wilson, well she's not very nice"

        by memofromturner on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:36:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just A Thought... (0+ / 0-)

        Has it ever occurred to you that she might not be trying for a southern accent?  That she might be doing it without meaning to?

        I do that without thinking when I'm visiting my inlaws in Ireland, or hanging out with some Irish friends here at home.  After a while I find myself suddenly taking on an Irish accent - totally without meaning to.

        And it's not only when I'm around the Irish.  I used to do that when friends & I went up to New York for Irish festivals. If I spent a little time around native new yorkers I'd suddenly find myself picking up on it.  Or if I'm watching a few Brit coms (fawlty towers, monty python, keeping up appearances, as time goes by, last of the summer wine) on the telly I'm suddenly saying things like telly, bloody hell, and bolloks.

        Some people are naturally like that without meaning to be.  I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and think maybe they're like me in that regard.

  •  How many years did she live in Arkansas? (13+ / 0-)

    You tend to pick up on the speech patterns of people you are around.  And it's easy to slip back into them when you go back to the region.  I went to college in the U.P. of Michigan.  I picked up some of that accent and find myself doing it again when I visit.  I'm not poking fun at anyone, it's just the way brains work.

    Republican Debate Handbook: Obfuscate, misdirect, insert talking points here

    by bherner on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:14:43 AM PST

    •  More than 12 years because (12+ / 0-)

      Clinton served nearly 12 years as governor.

      She has every right to have picked up something of an accent.  I learned to speak in the South and had a very thick Alabama - Tennessee accent - then lived in DC and it softened - moved to the West Coast - then NYC - some London and British protectorates and basically I've got it all now and my speech pattern changes based on where I am - one adjusts because it is easier to communicate in a tempo, tone and with vocabulary that the majority of people around you understand.

      I tend to doubt that she was mocking anyone.

      •  I have no doubt she wasn't mocking (6+ / 0-)

        Conservatives are using her sudden rediscovery of her old accent as yet another sign she is disingenuous. I agree with you entirely; that's a bogus argument.

        My point is that Conservatives are ignoring the fact that while we all speak in tones similar to those groups we are with (eventually) Southerners must do so everyday. Not just to "get along" but to be considered a equal human being.

        •  Gary - don't do that to yourself. (7+ / 0-)

          My Dad was born and raised in Alabama and has taken his licks for having an accent over many years.  He taught me to laugh at people who were that narrow-minded and get them laughing with me instead of hiding who I am.

          What the Conservatives who are doing this mocking are showing is how elitist and stupid they are.  Expose their elitism.  They've used it against us far too long and while in some portions of our party that elitism exists - elitism is one of the pillars of conservatism.  Their entire philosophy is centered around prejudice, racism and bigotry - without those weapons - they'd be done for.

          •  Well, I agree with you generally but ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            how far should I go?  How much longer should Rosa Parks have gone sitting in the back of the bus?

            •  Sit down in front and be yourself. (4+ / 0-)

              San Francisco was so difficult for my Father that he really still hates the place.  I loved it, but I didn't experience head on attacks on my character the way he did when we lived there.  But he never lost his sense of humor.  He loved to drive people nuts by speaking extra super slowly and intesifying his accent when someone had the poor manners to make a rude comment about his accent.  It was most amusing to watch if the person was in a really big hurry, but had to wait for him to finish talking to get on with whatever the transaction was.  He looked a lot smarter and in control than they did all freaking out about waiting an extra 15 seconds for someone to finish a sentence.

              •  I like San Francisco too (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                inclusiveheart, blueyedace2

                but then I've only visited, never tried to live there. I did spend a lot of time in Seattle, however, and never felt so accepted anyplace outside the South.

                Your dad sounds cool; I myself have done the same thing from time to time with rude folks. Of course, when I have to kowtow to their holier-than-thou butts to earn a little business, that's when I find it galling.

                •  Try being a woman in biz sometime :) n/t (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, Alegre, brownsox, hypersphere01
                  •  Yes, the experience is very similar (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    but I bet that if you posted about it most of the people on this board wouldn't say you should just "get over it."

                    Not saying that you have done so; just using your excellent point to make my own.

                    •  I dunno. I chose to get over it on some (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      level and learned to use it to my advantage.  Sometimes when people make assumptions about you because of shallow prejudice, you gain an advantage over them.  If someone thinks I'm dumb because I am blonde for instance, it usually means that I can outsmart them - and not necessarily because I am smarter - but because they discount my value they aren't prepared to deal with me.  I think that is where I get my focus on not underestimating an opponent.

                      In any case, I was being glib on a certain level - not trying to compete with your challenge as much as trying to illustrate that prejudice is a shared problem in the greater scheme of things.  Most of the time, I try not to get mad and to get things on an even playing field (without being angry) instead if you see what I mean.

    •  Yep. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fabian, hypersphere01, slksfca, bherner

      I went to college in the Chicago area...I'm originally from Massachusetts.

      Four years of college did plenty to flatten my vowels in a classic Midwestern manner.

      When I hang around my Indian extended family, I often pick up a bit of a South Indian accent. I don't have one naturally. It just sort of happens.

      Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

      by Arjun Jaikumar on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:34:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Even in England (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    When I was visiting I was asked about my accent.(which is not that pronounced).When I said I was from TN everyone laughed and mentioned the Beverly Hillbillies.Just suck it up.No matter how many brilliant men like Clinton and Carter we give to the world this will not change any time soon.Gomer Pyle and the Hillbillies did their job too well.
    •  Use it to your advantage. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Billy Bova, slksfca, kayfromsouth

      Their loss if they think you are an idiot just because of where you grew up.  Lull them to sleep with your drawl and then 'Boom!' they'll never know what hit them!

      Republican Debate Handbook: Obfuscate, misdirect, insert talking points here

      by bherner on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:19:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, well, who MADE those shows? (0+ / 0-)

      a stereotype only remains true as long as people continue to reinforce it. And there's money in reinforcing it.

    •  You would have been comfortable in Ireland (7+ / 0-)

      though.  The Southern accent in TN, AL, North GA is largely rooted in Scots Irish accents.  It is a slowed down version of theirs.  It was funny because years ago when I was living in Greece with a bunch of Brits there was an Irish guy who showed up that no one but I could understand when he spoke.  I couldn't figure out why - I hadn't spent any time in Ireland or with many Irish at that point in my life.  It wasn't until the following year when I returned to the states that PBS ran a documentary called "The Story of English" when I learned about the connection to the accent.

    •  Perhaps the diarist should take note of the fact (0+ / 0-) college and department heads are disproportionately from south of the Mason Dixon Line. The South has the distinction of producing both fine lines of red necks and intellectuals; also I suspect the majority of our General Officers in the military hail from the South. Too many Yankees make the mistake of thinking talking slow equates to thinking slow.

      Ergo GarySeven, stop spilling the beans as forewarned is forearmed. :-)

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:48:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A lot of people in England are rude (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about America.  

      "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." Plato

      by JPete on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 12:51:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a northerner living in the south (10+ / 0-)

    I assure you it also goes the other way.

    When I deal with people outside the university, people who do technically complex things like putting a roof on my house or fixing my car or any number of other things that I need local residents to help me with, I force myself to slow down my speech, to flatten my vowels into the Illinois twang that I picked up in ten years of living there (and which seems to "pass" as a regular-guy accent even if it's not Southern), and to not use the plethora of fourteen-syllable words that I, as a scientist, have stored in my giant veiny brain.  

    As a woman talking to men, in a field dominated by men, even in professional situations, I turn on every ounce of charm I have while still projecting enough authority to keep them from running me over.

    We all have to adapt to the person we're talking to to get what we want, especially if they're the one holding the cards.

    But mostly, Ann, you will just shut the fuck up! -- Henry Rollins

    by kismet on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:23:07 AM PST

    •  And if I didn't... (5+ / 0-)

      I'd get all sorts of nasty epithets thought about me.  Damned Yankee.  City slicker.  Cold.  Unfriendly.  Bitch.

      But mostly, Ann, you will just shut the fuck up! -- Henry Rollins

      by kismet on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:25:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I butched my hair. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, brownsox
        On a whim, I got it cut waaaaay short.  Then, I decided it liked it that way.  Now, people don't know what to think.  Somtimes they think I'm a guy.  Embarrassed some poor woman that way.  Now I make an effort to reassure people that I'm really okay, I'm really just normal person.  Cause you know how scary a 5'1" dyke could be!  (Even though I'm not lesbian, but what else could I be?)

        It's my private joke.  I don't let people know how amusing I find their reactions.

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:37:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, that's true ... but (0+ / 0-)

      There's something more loaded about having to fake a  Yankee accent to get accepted among competitors who are based up north. It would be the equivalent of you or I cross dressing to get treated with respect. And I, for one, hate wearing a thong.

      •  There Are Definitely Some in the South (7+ / 0-)

        I have encountered who apply a certain stereotype to you if you have a "northern" or "midwestern" accent.  You are seen as out-of-touch, not having small-town-values, as though small towns exist solely in the south.  I've even come across a few who think they're still fighting the civil war and I'm the enemy.  

        My wife finds particular humor and irony in that here in Kentucky.  "People from Kentucky," she says, "are Yankee but they don't know it."

        You can have your "Under God" back when I get my "Liberty and Justice For All" back.

        by karateexplosions on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:33:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  These stereotypes will persist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Until they universally stop. If I am to unilaterally declare a cease-fire, I at least would like an understanding from the other side that I will treated equally.

          •  You'd have it a lot easier if you didn't keep (5+ / 0-)

            referring to "the other side" like some monolithic enemy. As someone who's spent his fair amounts of time in Red and Blue states, this cannot in any way be described as one "side" beating down on another. It's simply adaptation to one's surroundings.

            ...i'm searching for a color...don't think it's got a name...

            by Diaries on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:45:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is - until it isn't. (0+ / 0-)

              One of the sides may have to adopt a regional accent to "get along" but the other side - mine - has to adopt the accent to be taken seriously.  That's what  years of cultural stereotyping will do.

              Certainly we all adopt the mores and customs of other people to fit in, but I am asking for something a bit more consequential than that. I am asking to be thought of as intelligent. That's something that most people take for granted; that they will be considered intelligent.  Yet when a Hollywood director puts out a casting call for "slobbering oaf" all the actors who show up read the lines with a Southern accent.

              •  This is a classic inferiority complex. (2+ / 0-)

                It isn't about "sides". It's about being in the majority v. being in the minority. Someone with accent X moving into region Y will be under more pressure to conform to the norm in region Y (including accent Y) than when person with accent X is in region X. The same applies in reverse. There's plenty of cultural stereotyping in every direction. Spitting "Yankee!" at someone is as much of a slight as poking at someone's drawl. If you honestly think someone moving from Massachussetts doesn't have to adopt a local accent in Kentucky to be "taken seriously", you're behind an incredibly thick veil of bias from the get-go.

                This isn't a "North" and "South" issue. It's one of regionality.

                ...i'm searching for a color...don't think it's got a name...

                by Diaries on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:22:48 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  definitely (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hypersphere01, Diaries

          I've been throughout the south and never discovered "southern hospitality". On the subject of Kentucky, in college I was passing through there on the way to New York and stopped in a small town diner in a little town fairly late at night. At the time I had spiked hair dyed a very vivid red, a pierced lip, and a pierced eyebrow. The entire diner was silenced by my entrance as everyone turned to get a look at me and then whispered to whoever was near them. The wait staff were slow and rude and throughout the meal everyone in their kept glaring at me and no one spoke above an angry whisper. It was scary as fuck because I could tell people were not saying nice things and I half expected some of them to try something when I walked out of there. I've been all over the US and have encountered a lot of rude people but I've never found as much overt hostility as I have among southerners.

          "The power to dominate rests on the differential possession of knowledge" -Foucault

          by Jett on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:40:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Riiiiight. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
          •  they're pretty nice when they think you are like (0+ / 0-)


            as soon as they find out you are from the North, Hollywood or support gay rights, then don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, is how it usually goes.

            Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

            by hypersphere01 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:39:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Really! When I moved from Princeton, NJ, (0+ / 0-)

            to Houston (which can think of itself as old South), I was shocked at how nice people are.  In a supermarket in NJ, a crowd (in my experience) in a supermarket will start to make rude remarks to

            • people who are slow cutting meet
            • someone who goes down the fruit-vegatable aisle the wrong way

            and so on.  A friend visiting from Boston was horrified that they obviously hadn't down time-motion studies in the coffee shop we went to.

            Not saying it goes all the way through.  Some people are obviously furious about the grossly unequal distribution of wealth and privilege and others are stoned enough to shoot you for your purse (as happened to a friend's mother).  

            "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." Plato

            by JPete on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 12:57:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "cutting meat" that should be nt. (0+ / 0-)

              "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." Plato

              by JPete on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 12:58:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is just a practice piece to (0+ / 0-)

                see about using colored letters.

                <DIV style="color:red; font-style:italic; font-weight:bold; font-family:Arial">
                Now I'm also bold and have an Arial font!

                <DIV style="color:green; font-style:italic; font-weight:bold; font-family:Arial">
                Now I'm also bold and have an Arial font!

                "False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil." Plato

                by JPete on Sat Mar 10, 2007 at 10:04:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  I work in the South (0+ / 0-)

        in a professional office with educated people and every time my boss or coworkers have to speak with someone up North they walk around the office all day cursing Damn Yankees!!  They hate Northerners with a passion and given the choice would never work with them.  

        "You sit on a throne of lies" - Buddy the Elf

        by Phatty McButterpants on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:10:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My Uncle Still Gets Called Carpetbagger (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phatty McButterpants

      He moved from MI to TN some 20 years ago and he's still considered an ousider.

  •  DOn't Get Pissed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, hypersphere01, elie

    When us northerners show pride in our region.

    Clinton is from Chicago, and the suburbs at that.

  •  I Was Born and Raised in Michigan (10+ / 0-)

    Now I live in Kentucky.  Most of the people here in Louisville speak just like the people in Michigan, as far as I'm concerned.  However, for my job I have had to travel across the state, and there are a variety of dialects just within the state of Kentucky.  I adjust to the person I'm speaking to, usually without really noticing that I'm doing it.  

    My wife is from Alabama, and she has a little Dixie accent and some language quirks I'm not really used to.  

    I get groceries in a "shopping cart", she puts them in a "buggy".  

    I call carbonated beverages "pop".  She calls them "Coke", no matter what flavor or brand they are.  

    When I'm getting ready to go somewhere, I'm "getting around", she thinks I'm insane for saying that.  Then she says she's "fixin' to" leave as well.

    I think it's awesome, and I certainly don't think my wife or her family are idiots or backwater hicks.  However, the way she sometimes calls me a "Yankee" like she's spitting the word out of her mouth...

    You can have your "Under God" back when I get my "Liberty and Justice For All" back.

    by karateexplosions on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:26:46 AM PST

  •  My sympathies. (5+ / 0-)
    Should I give you my sob story about how I can't change my height or gender like you can change your accent?  Imagine being thought of as a child because of your height, not an adult.  Yes, it was flattering for a little while to be thought younger than I was.  Then I began to wonder how far that perception went and I caught clues that young sometimes = inexperienced, incompetent, uneducated.  And short = physically handicapped, in need of assistance.  There's that look of surprise when people realize that I am not as dumb or helpless as they think I am.  Totally charming.  

    I've seen before, I'll see it again.  I don't obssess about it.  Got better things to do with my time.

    We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

    by Fabian on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:28:39 AM PST

    •  Yes, that's what I do all day ... (0+ / 0-)

      sit in a dark corner of my parent's basement with my comic books and have my Star Wars figures fight over accents.

      •  ? (0+ / 0-)

        Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

        by Arjun Jaikumar on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:49:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, hells! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brownsox, hypersphere01, Diaries
        There's nothing wrong with a Southern accent.  But let me tell you a little story.  My sister left the cold, frozen North and ended up in SC and raised her three kids there.  She came up to visit with her teenagers and we went to eat at some chain breakfast place.  Could have been a Bob Evans, but you get the idea.  We were seated and some minutes later, a table of black folks were seated nearby.  One of her daughters said "You know, I'll bet they get served before we do.".

        That wasn't her accent talking, that was something else talking.  It wasn't my sister's parenting skills at fault - it was something she learned in SC. (My sister has issues with minorities, but it's the undocumented hispanics competing for jobs in the poor rural South.)  I have no idea why she said what she did.  The restaurant was mostly white customers and white employees.  The blacks were the minority, not the majority.

        We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

        by Fabian on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:58:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a northerner in the south (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, hypersphere01, Diaries

          I have heard more shockingly racist comments here in three years than I did in my entire life in the north.  Nothing to do with accents, I guess it's just acceptable down here. I am not saying everyone from the south is a rcist, I am simply relating my own experience.

          "You sit on a throne of lies" - Buddy the Elf

          by Phatty McButterpants on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:43:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You hear (0+ / 0-)

            what you expect to hear. I suspect that you have been listening a little more closely than you did before to see if your expectations would be confirmed.

            You have more in common with Rush Limbaugh's audience than you might think.

            •  Oh Gary (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Fabian, brownsox

              it is silly to say I have anything in common with Rush Limbaugh's audience.  In fact I don't even see how that relates to the discussion.  I certianly didn't expect to hear that ni**gers should be hung from trees in the public square.  I never expected that I would hear anyone refer to black people as apes who should be sent back to Africa and yet I have heard that and more. And I didn't have to "listen a little more closely" to hear it.

              This post was about accents and I strayed from the subject - apologies about that.

              "You sit on a throne of lies" - Buddy the Elf

              by Phatty McButterpants on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 10:21:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You came to the South (0+ / 0-)

                expecting to find tobacky-chawin', sittin'-on-the-front-porch-whittlin' slack-jawed yokels and, by gum, you found them. Congratulations.

                You didn't expect to find such people up North, so you never heard what they said about Jews and Puerto Ricans and Hindis and Arabs and ...

                What a pristine, little shining citadel is the North.

                •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

                  I came to the south to marry my husband - a born and bred southerner.  He is not slack-jawed, nor does he chew tabacco or whittle on the front porch.  Neither do any of my in-laws. I own a home here and will raise my children here. TN is a beautiful state full of many wonderful people - I never said otherwise.
                  I have personally experienced more racism in the south and to insinuate that I live in a magical, mystical, fantasy land where I have made up everything I have seen and heard for the last 37 years is ridiculous.

                  How many years have you lived up north?  Just curious when you heard all of the comments about Jews and Puerto Ricans

                  "You sit on a throne of lies" - Buddy the Elf

                  by Phatty McButterpants on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 11:04:26 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Never lived up North (0+ / 0-)

                    wouldn't care to be that cold in the winter.  All I know about racist northerners is what I have seen on the TV news. Haven't seen a thing about racist attacks in the South for years; happens all the time up north, it seems.

                    •  Well I do love the weather (0+ / 0-)

                      It is one degree in Maine today so I am going to enjoy the flowers blooming outside.  

                      Hubby and I are planning Yankee/Southern hybrid children that will bring peace to the country with their Yankee sensibility and Southern charm.

                      Hope you'll welcome me as a neighbor - I am really quite nice for a Yankee.

                      "You sit on a throne of lies" - Buddy the Elf

                      by Phatty McButterpants on Tue Mar 06, 2007 at 07:04:38 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Don't want to open a can of worms (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            sorry to change the subject from accents.  

            "You sit on a throne of lies" - Buddy the Elf

            by Phatty McButterpants on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:57:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It just happens to be (0+ / 0-)
            one of the weirdest statements I had ever heard.  It was as if she was saying "You know, in the the North, blacks are treated better than whites.  I'm glad we live in the South...".

            As for Northern predjudice, I got an earful from Dad who would explain how lazy certain ethnic groups were.  He certainly was an equal opportunity denigrator when it came to criticizng them.  One of the older generation when it was the other immigrant nationalities who were whatever, ignoring the fact that his parents got off the boat about the same time.

            We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

            by Fabian on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 12:11:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Southern Accent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, Fabian, bherner

    Maybe it was the nearly twenty years she lived in the South that made her talk like that.

    I recommended your comment. And then I un-recommended it.

    by bink on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:36:37 AM PST

  •  I'm a liberal from the Northeast. (6+ / 0-)

    I assure you, there are plenty of offensive stereotypes about us.

    Although, I must admit, I do drive a Volvo, wear Birkenstocks in the summer, and I enjoy lattes and Chardonnay.

    Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

    by Arjun Jaikumar on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:38:29 AM PST

  •  Newsflash! You can travel 20 miles south of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, Billy Bova, Fabian

    Chicago (where Hillary was born and raised) and hear southern accents - In a Yankee state.

  •  Just stop! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yoshimi, TiaRachel, Fabian

    Hillary lived in Arkansas most of her life. It's probably easy to fall back into it, and sound like her husband--after all, she lives with him.

    •  left the south when i was 26 with degrees in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel, hypersphere01

      speech and theatre and NO accent - yet, give me three minutes with a southerner (less if their drawl is strong) and all that training goes out the window unless i set my mind to it!

      sound is emulated - old sounds and accents are the hardest to permanently dismiss.

      this type of diary focuses on the surface and not the issue - it isn't productive.

      arguing whether someone from arkansas has the RIGHT to "sound" southern instead of arguing whether what that person is saying will AFFECT southerners (and northerners and mid westerners and west coasters...) is counterproductive!

      soon as i got arthritis, most of my caps ran away from home! those that remain, huddle together in fear!

      by edrie on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:11:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm on the same truck you are Gary... (0+ / 0-)

    ...I remain proud of my heritage and the drawl that goes with it.  We're increasingly surrounded with Yanks and are rapidly becoming the minority down here if we're not already.

    It's true that it's tough to get a message across since they turn on the ignorance immediately upon hearing the accent but hey, like bherner's their loss.  Of course it costs a few bucks in income over a lifetime but, a true southerner won't let that get in the way of being true to himself...."down to earth"...if you know what I mean.

    Just ignore the ignorant.....plenty to ignore huh?

    If I typed bush above, the lack of capitalization was intentional on my part.

    by suspiciousmind on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:50:37 AM PST

  •  I haven't heard the audio, but... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, Fabian, hypersphere01

    I will say this much: In certain company, it's possible to "slip" into an accent if you've had the accent before. My wife has a Southern/Midwestern accent that she inadvertently adopts when she is around her family, especially her brother.

    Hillary is from Arkansas, so I can see how she might lapse back into a Southern accent during a trip to Alabama.

    "I want everything I've ever seen in the movies!" --- Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom in "The Producers"

    by droogie6655321 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:51:54 AM PST

  •  Politicians Manipulate Accents All the Time! (0+ / 0-)

    This is an old tactic, nothing new.

    Whether or not Hillary tried this in Alabama is beside the point.  Well before our lifetimes began some pol somewhere layed on heavy ethnic or regional slang in a desperate attempt to build a rapport with the intended demographic.  The most offensive today, IMO, is the spectacle of white politicians acting like their version of a black preacher.

    As for Hill, she is likely trying out all the tactics Bill used so effectively in 1992 hoping she can increase her favorability rating.  I'd like to see her woof down a Big Mac.

  •  I too am of Southern descent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karmafish, brownsox

    I am a descendant of the Loiusiana-Mississippi diaspora that spread north beginning in the 1920s up through Memphis, Gary, IN, Chicago, IL and Milwaukee, WS. I am African-American and love aspects of the South. Having lived in Atlanta I know that many Southerners are intelligent, capable and articulate people. I too love the (at times) warm and vibrant culture. I understand and sympathize with your frustration and anger. But two points. Despite the reality of Northern stereotypes about Southerners YOU make the decision to participate in the deprecation of your heritage by masking who you are. Unless Southern accents are really a language not English, I suggest you let your skills, technical exprertise and professional bearing prove the lie of Northern stereotypes. "Yankeeing up" your accent only proves Northern perceptions right. Secondly, as much as I agree with you about the unfair shake so many Southerners get, too, too, too many of your kinsman continue to proudly live up to the worst fears of the nation. This is not to say that the South is the only victim in this drama. As I write some where there is a New Yorker being rude as shit to another New Yorker, or there is a Californian flaking out on a friend, etc. Unfortunately too many of your kinsman of the reactionary sort, rise to national prominence or get in front of a television camera and reify superficial notions of the South. Fighting for the right to display a flag representative of slavery, treason and opression does not make anyone North of Virginia think that the "new South" has arrived. Constant support for the most socially reactionary and culturally abusive stances (and those public figures who support them) is not good PR. Yes brilliant, progressive, talented people have come out of the South in droves (ex. MLK, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Otis Redding, Little Richard, Huey Long,Huey P. Newton, Zora Neale Hurston, Geronimo Pratt, etc) but keep in mind these people went against the perceived grain of mainstream, white Southern culture. There is no single Southern culture, there are several Southern cultures. The one we in the rest of the country criticize is the one most willing and able to make its voice heard.

    There is room for all at the rendezvous of victory

    by Sansouci on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:59:08 AM PST

    •  "Yankeeing up" - that's good (0+ / 0-)

      Excellent post, Sansouci. Thank you. Of course it would be easier for me to release my inner Southerner if I had more people like you at my back. But unfortunately too many people want to burden me down with their stereotypes; not only the stereotype of intelligence but also, as you point out - and unfortunately (?) reinforce - the stereotype of the demagogue.  In dealing with many Northerners, I don't know which I am to apologize for more: my accidental relation to relatives who fought for the Confederacy, or my accidental birth in a culture where a Southern accent is equated with intellectual laziness.

      No, I don't like to "yankee up" to do business in the world. That's what I am trying to tell these Northerners - that I shouldn't have to and that they should put their judgments of me on hold until they have discovered "the content of my character."

      •  I definitely have your back (0+ / 0-)

        As an African American I certainly know the burden of stereotyping. However, a long time ago I decided the only thing I could honestly do was to "be who I be." I too wish that more non Southerners were able to see the great aspects of life in the Southland. Certainly some of our Northern friends could use some lessons in politeness and an appreciation for a long lazy day. I wish just more progressive Southerners like your self, those I think of as the "Molly Ivinites" could gain a greater foothold on the national stage.
        I agree you are not responsible for your accidental relations but those forward looking people in the South, for all of our sakes, must take responsibility and work to correct the results and repercussions of your ancestors' prior actions as I work to realize the expectations of my ancestors.

        There is room for all at the rendezvous of victory

        by Sansouci on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:54:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  let me clarify one thing for you... (5+ / 0-)

    i'm a southerner, born and bred southern - with no accent.  four years of intensive speech and pronunciation training of where tongue placement, lips, mouth, etc... cuz i have my masters in theatre, minor in speech and oral interpretation.

    your "assumption" that clinton faked an accent is inaccurate.

    she is originally from arkansas - a location with very similar sounds to the south.

    secondly, no matter HOW hard she works/ed to rid herself of her heritage (accent), surrounded by similar accents, it WILL return with a vengeance.

    thirdly, the basis for the southern accent is the SHAPE of the mouth while speaking - and in the south, that "shape" is defined by a continuous smile... speak slowly with a non-stop continuous smile and VOILA! you ahve a "southern" accent!  the broader the smile, the bigger the drawl!  now, add a "singing" of the vowels and you can emulate deeper south accents.

    the "assumption" of an accent being "faked" for the purpose of political gain is cynical, unfair and innacurate.

    as for your 'sounding like a yankee' - i imagine what you do is speed up your delivery, stop smiling and talk with similar cliped sounds.  unless you are doing this to "mock" those with whom you speak or you are attempting to "deceive" them in some way, i suggest you are simply adapting your vocalization to effect better communication and remove stereotypical assumptions based on speech.

    the "attitude" about dumb southerners isn't based on a drawl, imho, it is based on the continual smile while that "dumb southerner" fleeced the green out of the yankee wallet!  yankees don't understand the slower pace, the public "face" that is always smiling (while saying as soon as the person leaves, "i cain't STAND her/him!" - they don't understand the culture - anymore than the southerner understands the fast paced intensity driven yankee...

    they are two worlds that both offer wonderful aspects of america - (i know first hand, moved to ny as soon as i could and still am a new yorker! even while living in ca...)  

    the great southern thinkers and movers and shakers like sam ervin, martin luther king, john edwards, bill clinton, lyndon johnson (i know, many of you will argue with me on this one, but history will prove him a great president), jimmy carter.... should i go on?)

    wide generalizations don't heal stereotypes... facts and cogent arguments and accuracte representations will.

    soon as i got arthritis, most of my caps ran away from home! those that remain, huddle together in fear!

    by edrie on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:08:42 AM PST

    •  no (0+ / 0-)

      she is originally from the suburbs of chicago.

      •  and she lived the bulk of her adult life (0+ / 0-)

        in arkansas....

        accents are contageous - especially southern ones... see smile description in other post.

        don't challenge me on this - i know what i'm talking about... and you can't win.


        soon as i got arthritis, most of my caps ran away from home! those that remain, huddle together in fear!

        by edrie on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 10:05:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh my God... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you're right!!!

      I just said "how interesting" with a smile, a neutral expression and a frown.

      The smile was definitely the most "southern" sounding, and the frown definitely the most "northern."

      I guess that just shows us northerners are the most unhappy people in the country.

      The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

      by kmiddle on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:15:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not my assumption ... (0+ / 0-)

      it's that of conservative blowhards like Drudge, Boortz, et al ilk.

      The rest of your post is well stated.

  •  Odd, that .... (4+ / 0-)

    none of the conservative pundits even raise an eyebrow when Bush speaks in terrible Spanish when addressing a Hispanic or Latino audience.  How is that different from what Hillary did?  He's pandering, clearly, and she is not.

    Also, I listened to the audio clip they are linking to on Sludge's site, and I think it's completely out of context.  The "southern drawl" is pronounced on certain phrases common to the Civil Rights Movement, and is not present when conversational dialogue returns.  It's a disingenuous effort to smear Hillary, but what else is new for these cretins?

    I'm sick of America being covered by conservative crap

    by emsprater on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:09:00 AM PST

  •  And bush's accent is 'real'? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:10:24 AM PST

  •  The Southern accent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    suspiciousmind, GarySeven

    is an acquired taste just like fine wine. It's not for others but for ourselves. It's like fine music, most people hate it because they don't take the time to appreciate it.


  •  Chip on shoulder (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phatty McButterpants, Diaries

    I have lived in the south, midwest, northeast and southwest, and the only place where I have heard this sort of regional paranoia is in the south.  Believe it or not, the rest of the country is not that concerned about your accent.  The hick reputation comes from statistically demonstrable failures to adequately fund public and higher education and the apparent results thereof.

  •  You are an ignorant redneck cracker (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenskeeper, brownsox

    Just like all your Southern bubbas; Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, and Mark Twain. Embrace it, you mush-mouthed backwoods hick.

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC) -8.13, -7.74

    by AWhitneyBrown on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:24:50 AM PST

  •  Ten minutes ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Give me 10 minutes on the phone with a Southerner, and you'll swear I'm from Mississippi. 'Course, I grew up about 60 miles north of the Mason-Dixon line, so I consider myself a Yankee only in a strictly academic sense; everybody in my hometown drawls, at least a little bit.

    When I was a kid, I faked a northern accent because I loathed my hometown and wanted to sound like I came from somewhere else. I grew out of that rot 15 years ago.

    I find that I tend to be a bit of a linguistic chameleon; my accent shifts from situation to situation and moment to moment, depending on my mood and my surroundings. Living in Tulsa, I find my Southern Illinois accent tinged with Okie overtones.

    All of which is to say that I find it not at all surprising that a woman who lived in Arkansas for years and has spent 30 years or so married to Bill Clinton would slip into a drawl after a few minutes south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    "We are all capable of more than we do." -- Mary Baker Eddy

    by sundayjohn66 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 08:25:46 AM PST

  •  Waaaah! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Diaries

    I get that you're from the SOUTH and maybe you have a legitimate regional chip on your shoulder, but what you are describing is the American need to sound like a person with a flat, unidentifiable, accent - NOT a "northern" accent. This is an American problem with REGIONALISM not with the south per se.

    I grew up in MAINE and I can guarantee you that the only time you ever hear anyone on the national stage sounding as though they are from Maine is when they are being portrayed as the ignorant butt of Network comic genius. Most actors can't even carry off the accent without making it sound like fingernails on the blackboard to a native speaker. We get made fun of fully as much as you. I cannot count the tourists who have spoken to me with that sloooow, patient, patronizing tone that tells me they just know they're speaking to an idiot. No one from Maine who wants to be taken seriously in business, or anything involving public speaking, retains their native accent for long. I also lived in Montana for ten years and can assure you that the attitude toward the “cowboy” accent (let alone the various Native American accents) is just the same. Its seen as quaint, adorable, and a sigil of the uneducated.

    But that's the way we are in the U.S.A. regional differences are seen as suspect and regional accents are almost universally treated as a sign of ignorance. How do you propose that we change this?

    •  I would suggest we all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Step 1 - Stop being stupid
      Step 2 - Get a clue
      Step 3 - Get back to work.

    •  Maine accent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I grew up in Wisconsin, and hadn't traveled much or encountered people from different areas. I went to college in PA, but rarely heard any kind of accent ON campus, just when I went into Philly.  There were several Southerners in my dorm, but they sure didn't sound like it-until their family or friends showed up from home.  

      In the summer, I was in Maine, and picked up a local who was hitchhiking.  We talked, and I was having trouble understanding some of what he said.  As I was thinking about that, he told me he was having trouble understanding me, because my accent was so strong...Guess so, since I was on his turf.  

      I spent the following summer in Texas, where I was usually asked to slow down, I was talking too fast.  I tried to adjust my speech, because I was sooo tired of being called a Yankee.  Drove me nuts-to me, that was someone from New England, not just any Northerner.

      •  We all modify our speech (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to be better understood. That isn't the point.

        It isn't an issue of being understood - it's of being perceived as much less intelligent simply because of your speech patterns. Its about Southerners actually taking classes to get rid of their accent so they can be taken seriously by business rivals or potential clientele. Its about the loss of a cultural identity because of the stereotypes of others.

        •  It is also about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Phatty McButterpants

          the homogenization of America. All I am saying is that this is not just a southern problem; it is in many ways a national tendency. We all stereotype one another, we all tend to use colloquial expressions not understood outside our region, we all feel put upon, we are all made to feel stupid by outsiders at times. You might perceive the problem as being worse for Southerners because you are tuned for that kind of assault on your character and culture, I might perceive it worse for those of us in the Northeast, etc. All we can do is try to respect one another and perhaps learn to understand, if not use, one another's regional dialogical preferences.  If we can , “by Christ that’d be wicked good.”

    •  When I first moved from Maine (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to TN I was at the supermarket using the self-check-out line.  Since our supermarket in Maine was not as advanced I had never used one before and wasn't exactly sure what to do.  My southern friend leaned over to explain to one of the employees "she's from Maine, she doesn't know any better"  

      "You sit on a throne of lies" - Buddy the Elf

      by Phatty McButterpants on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 10:44:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i live in Dallas (0+ / 0-)

    and a lot of the people here aren't well educated.

    after doing tech support for years, i lost my drawl. now people think i am from New York when speaking over the phone.

    i think it's great. accents make it harder to understand anyway. they also give the other person something to stereotype. when i talk to friends or family the drawl creeps back in. so what. no biggie.

    Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

    by hypersphere01 on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:29:54 AM PST

  •  Is it just me or does Barack modify his diction (0+ / 0-)

    when speaking before different audiences?

    I watched him on TV speaking before a predominately black audience and his speaking had a, for lack of a better term and with no disrespect, 'patois' that you don't normally hear him speak with before white audiences.

    I guess it's just part of tailoring your message for the audience.

    •  Hell, I talk different (0+ / 0-)

      when I'm talking to lawyers than when I'm talking to clients ! We all tailor our speech to whoever we're talking to.

      Let's get some Democracy for America

      by murphy on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:47:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes we do - but (0+ / 0-)

        it's a somewhat different matter when you are adapting your speech to someone else's in order to strike up a relationship and yet another to change your speech to avoid his prejudices and stereotypes.

        My point is that Southerners often must pretend to not be Southern just so they can be taken seriously and not perceived as either slack-jawed yokels or racist KK'ers.

  •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

    Hillary lived in Arkansas for years, married to an Arkansan whose accent is decidedly not Ivy League, so she slips into "southern" when in Alabama.

    Why am I not scandalized ?

    Let's get some Democracy for America

    by murphy on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 09:42:18 AM PST

  •  i feel your pain living in MS, working all over (0+ / 0-)

    this past fall I worked campaigns for 3 months in the upper midwest. everywhere I went it was like I was an alien from another country, all I got when I started talking was " where the hell are you from " ? Everyone in a conversation seemed to talk down to me like I was not bright. And I have a Master's degree from a college in VA. I get tired of it myself, friend, they think ya gotta be a YE-HAW if your from down south, even find a lot of liberal dems outside of the south think this way. how damn elitist on their part!

  •  Wut the hale is yore point? (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Billy Bova

    The title of your thread is "Hillary's 'Fake' Accent." The word "Hillary" is not mentioned once in your diary. Did you use that title just to get attention for a long-simmering beef? Or were you obliquely making the point that tons of netizens have made straight out on other blogs and sites -- that Hillary is a pandering changeling and liberal audiences can't even tell when they're being insulted?

    Senator Clinton, if you knew then what you know now, would you have married Bill?

    by Miss Orange on Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 12:12:13 PM PST

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