Upon considering Bryce Taylor’s claim that the South is superior to the North (“The South is better than the North,” April 22), I was perfectly prepared to arm myself with all the usual psychological defenses against superiorist thinking. The claim is unprovable, I told myself. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I only want to believe it because it appeals to my Southern pride and vanity! No, mind, forget you ever heard it!
Just then I opened The New York Times to read a story about the revival of West Point, Ga., due to the opening of a new Kia plant. The paper carried a photograph of a yard sign that read, “Thank you Jesus for bringing Kia to our town!”
Taylor’s thesis was proved in an instant. This was the very essence of the Southern spirituality he cites: the ability to find God in everyday events; the need for a deeper meaning. I gave the photo a hearty laugh, as anyone would, but I imagine that the nature of my amusement draws the line between the Southern and Northern cultures. Rather than laughing derisively at the “silly” or “primitive” beliefs of this family, as a true Southerner I laughed along with them out of joy for their job-creating godsend.
Faith, like honor, is a beautiful thing, and Northerners miss out when they choose to disdain rather than to understand. I hardly think my Northern friends lack faith, honor or spiritual joy, but I am thankful that I grew up in a place where these values are celebrated with appropriate reverence.
The writer is a freshman in Pierson College.