Culture in the South

Published 1:48 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Alabama game. I joined my sister-in-law Martha to watch the game and enjoy yet another win.
After the game, I headed to the quad to see my other sister-in-law Liz and meet up with her family who was tailgating.
Standing on the Quad, I soaked in one of my favorite fall pastimes- tailgating.
Later on that evening I was introduced to a German girl who is currently living and working in Alabama.
I asked her what she liked about our country, particularly the South, and what she did not.
Her answer surprised me.
She stated the U.S.’s lack of culture as her biggest dislike.
I looked at her and looked around thinking, this isn’t culture to you?
Sure it might look like a bunch of idiots running around yelling chants and cheers and just yelling in general, but pretty or not, it’s still culture, our culture, and one I am happy to claim.
I will say it caught me off guard when she said this, not just because I disagreed, but because I had been contemplating this myself in the past couple of weeks.
What got me thinking about this was thinking about the rich culture of Native Americans.
I admit I made the same mistake as her. I thought of other countries and their cultures and couldn’t see what ours would be.
When I really started thinking about it, it took no time.
I actually felt a little embarrassed. Here I am in the South, which probably has the richest culture, definitely the most colorful, in the U.S. and I doubted it.
My friend Nick also partook in the conversation with the German girl (forgive me I’ve forgotten her name) and made the excellent point about our country’s youth.
Not youth as in age demographic, but as in the age of our country.
Our country, compared to most, is just a baby and just because our history isn’t as rich doesn’t mean our culture isn’t.
After Nick and I threw out several valid cultural points, even some not pertaining to football, she still wasn’t seeing it, saying while she thought it was neat that everyone got so into football she couldn’t understand it and was very ready to get back home to Germany.
When I asked what she thought of Southern food she crinkled her nose in disgust making the international face of dislike.
I was floored. Who doesn’t like Southern food?
She told me it was too fattening and worried about gaining weight.
She ruled out Southern food because it was fattening. Ridiculous.
I guess being from another country it’s hard to see everything that makes up a culture. I think this is especially true for the South when it’s the relationships that are so vital.
It’s the friends and families calling to check on you and bring food anytime there’s an event in your life that make up part of so much of what we are as Southerners that I can understand looking from the outside would be hard to see.
So, I want to know, what is American culture to you?
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox