The “non-regional” perspective
By Taylor Watkins, Ben Tellefsen and Taylin-Destiny Morris
Jodi Palmer has lived in Macon, Georgia for more than two decades, but she doesn’t consider herself a Southerner.
Palmer was born in New York and has lived in nearly every corner of the United States, including California, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. But for the past 26 years, she has called Macon home.
“When I tell people I live in Macon, they say, ‘Well, you don’t sound like you live in Macon,’ ” she said.
She believes the classification of “Southerner” is contingent on being born in the South, as well as having Southern pride and politeness. Because of her many moves around the country, Palmer sees herself as “non-regional.”
“People in the South have a different way of interacting with each other,” she said. “The whole idea of people being polite in the South, and having manners, and treating each other nicely, is really true.”
She and her husband, both longtime journalists, are the owners and editors of Macon Magazine, a local publication that focuses on Southern lifestyle, culture and history.
Palmer does see some differences between the south and other places. For example, when a red stoplight turns green but the driver at the front of the line doesn’t go, other drivers tend to be more patient and likely to refrain from honking their horns, something Palmer hasn’t noticed anywhere else she’s lived.
Her husband, James, is from the South. As a Georgia native, he takes offense when people assume Southerners are “barefoot and stupid.”
Palmer’s husband always says, “Just because I talk with an accent doesn’t mean I think with one.”
Outsiders’ views of the South are changing, though. They don’t consider Southerners to be as prejudicial, she said.
Palmer acknowledges that some Southerners are still interested in fighting the Civil War in their minds, but she points out, “I lived in New England for much of my life, and people there are still fighting the Revolutionary War, so it’s sort of a regional thing.”