Is the American South Racist?

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Southern Racism

The American South, racism, hatred, and bigotry are often immediate associations with the region. “I am so sorry” has become a typical response when some tell people I am from the South. 

Some say they have experienced more racism, homophobia, and classism in parts of the South than one ever has in other parts of America. Southern history is deeply shaped by the theft of indigenous lands and the exploitation of enslaved Black people. Bigotry permeates history, lingering through Southern lifestyles. Explaining things like white privilege, people would retort with, “We don’t act like libtards in the South.” Or most significantly, fraternity brothers would be held to lower standards of racial awareness because of their predominantly Southern membership. 

The Great Migration, sometimes known as the Great Northward Migration, or the Black Migration, was the movement of 6 million African Americans out of the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West that occurred between 1916 and 1970. It was caused primarily by poor economic conditions. Others believe that it was prevalent racial segregation and discrimination in the Southern states where Jim Crow laws were upheld. In other words, the American South was oppressive to Blacks, and the North was racist free land for Black Americans. Perhaps before, the racism of the South was true in the past, but was the North much better? Or was it purely the economic conditions of the two areas that motivated migration at the time and had nothing to do with racism?

So the mantra goes – the American South is racist! The American South culture is different, but is it a lack of understanding, or is it real?  Are these stereotypical anecdotal stories true, and are there real data points one can look at to prove or disprove this assertion? We are told that Blacks would not get the jobs, obtain political power, could not build wealth, because of the racist oppression still lingering from as far back as the Civil War times. Surely if the South is racist, even systematically racist, we should see big differences in economic outcomes between the two regions. The North would have a fairer, more inclusive economy than the South. Correct? 

In economics, the GINI coefficient, sometimes called the Gini index or Gini ratio, is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income or wealth distribution of a nation’s residents and is the most commonly used measurement of inequality. It was developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini. So using “real” data, let’s examine the GINI coefficients of the two areas – see source data here. One can search and find further data on other states, but here is a sampling of the two areas (note the higher the number, the more inequality there is):

Red Southern States:

  • South Carolina was 0.464, according to the GINI calculation.
  • Tennessee was 0.464, according to the GINI calculation.
  • Mississippi was 0.446, according to the GINI calculation.
  • Alabama was 0.461, according to the GINI calculation.
  • Louisiana was 0.466 according to the GINI calculation.

Blue Northern States:

  • Illinois was 0.480, according to the GINI calculation.
  • Massachusetts was 0.483, according to the GINI calculation.
  • California was 0.499, according to the GINI calculation.
  • New York was 0.493, according to the GINI calculation.
  • New Jersey was 0.493, according to the GINI calculation.

Hmmm … based upon the data, it appears that there is more inequality in the North and not in the South. How can this be? Many Leftists (Democrats) are quick to virtue signal their inclusivity and diversity – but the reality is, as many people already know, it is nonsense. Destroying the culture of the American South through some racial purge of history will not change these statistics. It may even accelerate it.

image RWR original article syndication source.