If the author and editors of “A Last Bastion of Civility, the South, Sees Manners Decline” from today’s New York Times have adjourned to a coffee shop to eavesdrop on the conversation, I suspect they’re hearing what I’m thinking: Does that bold assertion come with evidence?
Here are a few examples from the “growing portfolio” of behaviors the Times draws on to plot the decline of Southern manners.
· Two black men drinking at a bar were asked by a bartender to surrender their seats to two white women. They declined and a lawsuit ensued.
· A professor of history and Southern culture at the University of Mississippi tells the Times, “Manners are one of many things that are central to a Southerner’s identity, but they are not primary anymore. Things have eroded.”