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The Lazy South

There were many instances in the Olmsted reading talking about laziness. Laziness seems to be an epidemic. Everywhere you look there are lazy whites, blacks, and Indians. So why? Where does this laziness come from? Even today there are southern stereotypes of laziness, I know everyone has heard the raciest comment: “Lazy Mexican.”

We already discussed some of the reasons for this Southern Laziness in class. The northern woman who complained that, “they [her slaves] didn’t do half so much work as one good Dutch girl,” caused Olmsted to observe that enslaved people didn’t care about their work because it wasn’t their own. Also we can infer from the text that having slaves made the Texan white masters content with being idol.

But I think there is more going on with the southerners than that. We have to consider climate at the time. There was no air conditioning, and the long hot summers in Texas are bound to make anyone shuffle their feet. Also, who were the majority of the people who had come to Texas? Families that left their more difficult lives to move out west, seeking the rich, fertile land to make their fortunes. While on the surface this doesn’t seem lazy, but couldn’t this be seen as taking the easy way out? Imagine, instead of grinding your teeth and getting through hard times, you just pack up and leave it all. Set out for a new start. Maybe the “Gone To Texas” ideal added to the atmosphere of laziness, being passed down to their children, the future generations of Texas.

Do we still see these attitudes today? I think so. There are still stereotypes of southern people sitting out on the porch on rocking chairs, drinking iced tea. The slow, southern draw. Even our ACCENTS are lazy!

Interesting to think about the latent results of the legacy of slavery. Does the rest of the country still see us as lazy?


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. trilderos
    February 14, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    For me atleast, the way I see the perception of “laziness” has more to do with older people calling the younger generations lazy. The rest of the country really does not see the south as any more lazy than any other people. That is atleast what I can see from living on both the west and east coasts.

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