Why Southern Inhospitality Needs to End

To those that choose not venture into the Deep South, antiquated notions of “Southern Culture” are still treated as reality. In the eyes of some, Strom Thurmond and George Wallace still rule the region from beyond the grave.

In reality, the Southeastern United States is far from a monolithic region and encompasses a wide array of viewpoints and backgrounds. Despite this, authorities in several Southern states seem hell-bent on reinforcing negative stereotypes that already plague their areas.

Over the past few years, Southern states have pushed for unnecessary legislation that has little impact beyond stirring up controversy.

A few years ago the debate centered around the Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder, where Southern states argued they were unfairly being punished for discriminatory voting practices they implemented during the twentieth century. The Supreme Court agreed and chose to repeal Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. In a “twist” that basically acted as the antithesis to every single M. Knight Shyamalan movie, several southern states almost immediately attempted to push new voter laws to limit minority turnout.

The laws were passed under the belief that they would help prevent Voter ID Fraud. However, it was obvious that these laws would make no real dents at diminishing the “dire crisis” that is voter fraud. With some of the laws quickly deemed as unconstitutional, the only impact the legislation had was leaving a sour taste in the mouths of U.S citizens.

Now we find ourselves on similar footing in response to Anti-LGBT legislation being considered or passed in several Southern states. In the aftermath of Obergefell v. Hodges, the GOP members in the South seem determined to symbolically voice their disgust in one way or another.

And before anyone attempts to argue that this law addresses a legitimate tangible concern, it doesn’t. LGBT people exhibit no demonstrated harm to those around them, and these new pieces of legislation attempt to place limitations on their ability to function as normal members of society simply because several members of the GOP are concerned about upholding moral and religious standards that don’t actually exist in our society.

The legislation being considered in states like Georgia (where it has failed), North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi is nothing more than a projection of power. Government officials are attempting to legislate and “uphold” morality, but are actually losing out in the process.

In their pursuit of morality they actually appear to be members of the ethical low-ground. Corporations like Disney and individuals like Bruce Springsteen have distanced themselves from areas supporting these types of policies. While Governor Nathan Deal logically backed down in the face of public outcry, several states seem less keen on doing so.

Unfortunately, in the process of doing so they simply uphold a stereotypical depiction of the South that should have gone extinct a long time ago. Members of Southern legislatures are so determined to “win” the war on public decency, that they actually end up losing it.

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