Photo: Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

13 Assumptions We Need to Stop Making About Alabamians

by Scott Summers Nov 21, 2016

1. You’re not in our gunsights the second you step into our front yard.

Even if you see a private property or trespassing warning, you’re probably not going to get shot if you come onto our property. We might call the police, and the dogs we have around back might be very interested in getting to know you, but we’re not a bunch of trigger-happy folk who want to put you in the fast lane to heaven.

That being said, Alabama is a “stand your ground” state, and a lot of people have guns. Breaking and entering is a bad idea. There is “no duty to vacate”, and in a culture where family is the most important thing after God, expect people to fight if they feel threatened in their own home.

2. We don’t drive tractors down the road for fun.

Some of us might think that tractors are sexy but when they’re driving 20mph in a 55mph zone, trust me, we hate them, too.

Alabama has a booming agricultural industry, and it’s not uncommon to pass tractors hauling plows, seeders, or harvesting equipment — especially in the early morning. It’s necessary for business, and it’s not anyone’s favorite pastime.

3. We’ll hate you if you don’t attend church.

Religious salvation is a big to-do across Alabama and throughout the Southeast, but Alabamians aren’t going to hate you for refusing church. We’re certainly going to have some questions and try to convince you that you should join the congregation. That’s because your soul is on the line and we want to make sure you’ve heard the biblical Good News.

Hostility around church attendance usually comes from frustration. We’ve asked, you’ve said no, and that process has repeated itself a dozen times. Rejecting something that’s so highly prioritized in Southern culture can create misgivings, which leads to fallout.

4. It might be harder to put one over on us than you think.

Alabamians may have an amusing accent, but we’re not idiots. You’ll find very well-educated people here in a variety of professions. Even those who didn’t attend college will know their trade skills well, especially if those skills were passed down through a family heritage.

Just like anywhere else, you’ll likely find some under-informed and poorly-educated folks here and there, but most people have a good head on their shoulders.

You know why? ‘Cause momma didn’t raise no fool.

5. Not everybody was raised in the country or grew up on a farm.

That mental image you might have of a little house built far back into the Alabama woods, at the end of a winding dirt road? Yeah, that’s gotta go.

Alabama’s not all backwater swamp and country living. There are cities here, too, in small, medium, and large varieties. You’ll find suburban sprawl all around Montgomery, Birmingham, and Mobile. Small towns have a little more flavor to their neighborhoods, but you won’t find people stretch for miles apart in every direction unless you go looking for that kind of isolation.

6. We don’t go barefoot everywhere (though flip-flops could be our state-footwear).

If you’re thinking this, you just haven’t thought it through.

Alabama temperatures soar into the high 90s from early May to late August. Sidewalks and roads — even dirt roads! — are great at retaining heat. Going barefoot in the summer months would be like walking on hot coals all the time.

However, we do love our flip-flops, even in what passes for winter. You see (and hear) people wearing those everywhere from the beach to the supermarket.

7. We have power, roads, schools, and infrastructure.

It’s true. Alabama is a mostly civilized part of the world.

Sure, you’ll find dirt and gravel roads here and there. Asphalt is expensive and doesn’t really serve a purpose on farm roads or driveways. But where you need it, there’s probably a paved road or highway.

As for the rest of it? Yeah, we’ve got working lights and functional bathrooms. Our kids attend school, participate in afterschool programs, and go to college.

*Note*: In the event of a hurricane, some of the statements listed here may be temporarily false. n the event of the threat of light snow, ALL of these statements are temporarily false and you should panic and take immediate shelter.

8. We don’t hate you for being different.

Alabama’s racial dynamic is always changing, and given the state’s history with the Confederacy and Civil Rights Movement, there’s more than enough diversity to go around.

Alabamians won’t hate you for being different, but we may be put off by your differences at first — until our sense of family inclusiveness and southern hospitality kicks into overdrive. If you make an effort, most Alabamians will reciprocate.

We’re hardwired that way.

9. Not all of us hunt, fish, or shoot anything that moves.

It’s true. While hunting and fishing are huge industries in Alabama, not everybody is a gun-toting southerner. In fact, tens of thousands get by every year without even touching a firearm. Crazy, right?

However, even those of us who don’t hunt or fish still love the taste of a freshly caught and prepared meal.

10. We don’t all live in trailers with old, rusted cars on the front lawn.

While it’s true that there are trailers by the park load, you’ll find houses, estates, apartments, and townhomes as well. Trailers have a certain appeal in the Southern lifestyle in that they’re usually affordable and can often be relocated. In this part of the world, where it’s usually very hot, a compact living space is easier to cool and less of a drain on your finances.

As for the rusted car thing? There are plenty of front-lawn car ornaments, but it’s not the norm. Sometimes, we also use old trucks. In all seriousness, those old vehicles sometimes often start as a restoration project that someone never gets around to finishing.

11. There’s no money here.

Oh, yeah, there’s money here, both old and new.

You’ll find trade and investment markets in and around Birmingham, and no shortage of waterfront businesses in Mobile that are doing very well. You’ve got no shortage of old money real estate moguls, either. Overall, Alabama is a very blue-collar, working-class state. Agriculture and manufacturing are big businesses around here.

12. Not all of us drive lifted, mud-covered pickups with gun racks and spotlights.

Those vehicles definitely exist. And you’re likely to see one if you go for a country drive. It’s very popular with a specific subsection of Southern culture.

But again, it’s not the norm. Gas is expensive, and those trucks only get about twelve miles to the gallon when driving with the wind. Plus, they’re huge and don’t really fit into the parking spaces at the grocery store.

Most of us drive normal cars, built for normal highway, in normal civic areas. But you can almost always expect to find that one asshole who didn’t get the memo, so be on the lookout for that.

13. Not all of us like sports.

Equivalent to sacrilege in Alabama, some of us don’t like sports. We’d never self-identify because we might get kicked out of our homes and disowned by our families, but it’s true.

On second thought, that’s mostly a lie. Everyone loves sports here. Everyone.

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