Here is what happens when universities, especially in the South, over-emphasize athletics. Particularly, football and basketball. Coupled with the inherent corruption in the South. I am aware I am applying a broad brush, but there is something rotten in the states of Confederacy.
I thought it was a very strange bias too. I googled to see if there are any indexes for corruption to turn this into an empircal question of naren’s beliefs. I found a calculation of public officials indited of crimes per capita from 2000-2010 or so. Most of the top states were southern; however, the question then becomes if we are measuring the same sort of corruption. Or perhaps they have less resources to get away with it. But it was interesting to see there may be something which may have helped formed her bias.
Well, according to this recent Fortune article, 5/10 most corrupt states are southern (Florida isn’t considered part of “the South”), but perhaps more interesting, there were no southern states in the ten least corrupt states.
Agree with Naren. When you hear southerners talk about their universities they are almost always talking about sports, and almost never their academics; in non-southern schools at least even sports fanatics will try to rep how great their schools are with some mix of the academic rankings and the team rankings.
Being a person that does not give a s#!t about university sports, I always hated vapid conversation with someone who begins talking about college teams and all of those dynamics of brackets and conferences and blah blah blah. What about the school’s, you know, ability to teach students? I get that the economics of the sports thing helps the schools stay viable, and clearly, I want my alma mater to succeed financially, but all I’m saying is that I wish that the mechanics of the whole thing were different such that college sports wasn’t so much of a driver.
I think the issue with the south is less that there is more corruption (there may be some more, but I don’t sense that it’s orders of magnitude more), but that it seems to be so brazenly tolerated. I think it’s just the “don’t turn on your own” tribalism which still is strong there. In the South, my sense is that they still feel as though they were beaten-but-not-defeated in 1865, and that banding together and flouting rules in preference to clan is part of their way of showing it.
When I was visiting the South, I was puzzled by the juxtaposition of Confederate battle flags with the Stars and Stripes. On the one hand, the older whiter south is one of the most patriotic flag-waving sections of the US, and at the same time, they still revere the old Southern cause, which would seem to be antithetical to supporting the Stars and Stripes. I guess the theme is that unlike traditional colonial imperialism, this was a different kind of percieved subjugation. Both Lincoln and Jefferson Davis revered the US founding fathers - Washington, Jefferson, and the like… they just thought the country should go in different directions by 1850. So people there are able to revere both flags simultaneously, but they do so in different contexts.
As for voting, the Republican party was the party of Lincoln, and got blamed for running the Civil War and defeating the South, and all the indignities of Reconstruction, etc… So for a long long time, the South was staunchly Democrat on principle. But Southern Democrats were by and large anti-integration, even though northern Democrats were pro-civil rights. So Southern Democrats really weren’t quite the same as northern Democrats during the Civil Rights era. Southern Democrats got their local electoral power from a tradition of upholding traditional southern values, church, obediance, traditions, etc…
This is where Reagan changed everything. Regan’s election came about largely because he managed to split Southern Democrats from traditional Northern Democrats and realign them into the Republican party. Rolling back civil rights had become another lost cause for much of the south, and so the “small government” message of Regan basically promised more local autonomy for the south, and that resonated with age-old grievances. Combine that with the family values and church and God stuff that the Republicans were now aligned with, and you have southerners voting Republican in far larger numbers.