February 1st, 2014


newsflash: not all Southerners are dumb hicks

Apparently ignorant people are saying idiotic things on the internet. In YouTube comments, no less. Stop the presses!

People in the South are trying to prove that snow is actually fake because it’s a government conspiracy

Normally I’d go on about the stuff I need to get through after taking most of yesterday and today off from getting things done. There’s just one problem: these particular ignorant people went online when the South was getting hammered by a snowstorm. Anomaly, the author of this piece, is sure they must be southerners because –I’m just guessing here– they all had screennames like ClemsonPride1978 or TheSouthDoneRiz or some other clever variation. Actually, to be fair, Anomaly says he reached this conclusion because Southerners “aren’t used to snow (I’m trying to help them find an excuse) so they have all suddenly become scientists, because they think it has to do with chemtrails and the government trying to push a climate change conspiracy, or something.”

That’s me, by the way; hello. Not the scientific illiteracy stuff by a longshot –I actually received a really top-notch education in science and maths, including a B.S. in maths from a state university– but the Southern part? Absolutely. That B.S. I mentioned? From the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also had basic chemistry and physics so I know it’s possible for a frozen substance to be heated so quickly it vaporizes rather than melting into a liquid. I learned that in school, actually in an adjoining class to where I learned how to tritate and dissect (and, since we’re on the subject of science education, that the earth is most certainly more than 6,000 years old). Most people I knew were exposed to these kinds of things. Not all of them remembered it, but then again, a good number of the people I’ve tutored in Cleveland and taught in New York were similarly fuzzy on the details.

Speaking for myself, the science education I received in the Carolinas gives me a bit of ability in evaluating empirical claims. I like to test what I read, so much as the available evidence allows. That’s why I particularly appreciated Anomaly’s specific, quantified claims that I could verify. There are, after all, “tons of videos out there trying to disprove snow,” and a “lot of people think the snow that has hit the Southeast was “geo-engineered.”" So that answers my basic skepticism, I guess. I suppose it’s not at all possible that people in (say) Iowa or New Jersey were responding to a national story and used it as an opportunity to take a swipe at global warming. (Because, you know, national journalists like Iowa-born Steve Doocy are completely innocent on this topic.) Clearly this is enough to justify our outrage that these people can vote, as quite a few people can on that site. One particularly memorable comment refers to “snow ball goobers.”


As I said, ignorant people are saying idiotic things on the internet. Better save room above the fold for this one.

Here’s the truly frustrating thing about all this: Southerners are getting blamed as a group for this. For comparison, a news story recently popped up on my FB page talking about a correlation between high incidence of whooping-cough cases and high percentages of non-medical vaccination exemptions [that is, where people chose not to vaccinate their kids without a medical justification] in California. They said these overlapping areas “‘were associated with factors characteristic of high socioeconomic status such as lower population density, lower average family size, lower percentage of racial or ethnic minorities,’ higher incomes and other factors, the researchers wrote.” But I can’t imagine any news piece referring to silver-spoon granola flakes who (guess what) actual vote. That kind of generalization, denigration, and name-calling seems saved for white Southerners. I can’t even imagine a headline along the lines of “People in California are refusing to vaccinate their children, leading to whooping cough outbreaks.” You just don’t get that level of marking a few individuals’ reaction to a region-wide vice for any other area of the country. It might get attributed to anti-vaxxers or something similar, but that’s at least a group that more or less overlaps with the behavior being called out. Not true here.

And that, in case you’re wondering was the point I had to calmly leave the library, make my way to the bathroom, lock the stall door, and scream. Because sometimes? This shit just gets so, so old.

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.