You’ve all read the lists – the references to sweet tea, and ending all your words with a vowel, and whether you ask for soda, pop, or Coke when ordering Sprite. Those are all telling, but, I suggest, the real test is far more subtle.
My own homage to Dixie – how to know if your’re a southerner; or more importantly (from a southerner’s point of view), how to tell if you’re not. You know you’re a southerner if
1. You’re related to somebody famous. To be southern, you absolutely must have someone – preferably someone from the Civil War or before, but really, anyone will do in a pinch – who is famous in your family tree. Because, of course, if you’re southern (at least if you’re white and southern)
2. You will have and know your family tree by heart because
3. It is all, always and only, about the past.
4. You will know how to insult someone in a way that they won’t realize they’ve been insulted until they’ve gotten home (if they ever figure it out) at least ten different ways.
5. You are really angry, but just too damned well-bred to ever show it, so that
6. The only way to really know when you’re angry is by virtue of the fact that the angrier you are, the less intelligible you become, as in your accent just gets thicker and thicker, as if your words were being choked out of you, which then means
7. A quiet person can be from anywhere, but a silent person is always a southerner, a very angry, very scary, southerner, but a southerner nonetheless.
8. Because remembering is so important in the south, you have an encyclopedic memory of everything and everyone and you always, if you went to college, majored or minored (whether declared or not) in history, which means
9. If you were smart, you married a northerner so you could win every argument, a fact your parents warned the unsuspecting northerner of in advance, because, after all,
10. Fair is fair. And southerners are nothing if not fair.