“Manners are one of many things that are central to a Southerner’s identity, but they are not primary anymore. Things have eroded,” said Charles Reagan Wilson, a professor of history and southern culture at the University of Mississippi.
The Times focused on a case in which two men were ordered by a restaurant to stand up from their bar seats so two ladies could sit. The men refused the orders, and a bar fight broke out over it. Many Southerners feel that giving up a seat to a lady is part of their culture. The men, who were both African American, didn’t see it that way; as the ladies they were told to get up for were white; and they claimed racism in a lawsuit over the fight.
Many Southerners are also attributing the erosion of manners to the influx of Northerners.