Leland's attempt at humor falls flat and rather than being an informative piece it does nothing but dumb down the area while trying to promote Charlotte as the nation's "21st Century energy hub".
|Charlotte from back in the 1980's|
Her take on DNC 2012 attendees: "Some people are sure to show up with the usual stereotypes about Southerners as bigots and rednecks, slow-walking, slow-talking, slow-thinking. They may be wary of venturing here because of the ugly legacy of slavery. Or they may arrive with a cinematic vision of magnolias and mint juleps."
And it gets worse: "We’re only a few generations removed from separate water fountains and the lynching of hundreds of innocent black people."
It becomes comical as Leland pens the follow up about how Southerner's speak with "Y’all ever wonder why Suthinas talk the way we do? With the sub-hed "Like many things, our accents date back to the Civil War" which is here.
According to Leland "The Southern drawl owes its lyricism to those first black Southerners. While forced to work as slaves, they created an unwritten creole language of their own".
Leland is of course wrong, but understandably so, a reporter's job is to condense a lot of information into a news story. However when the subject is something as complex as language the result is garbage.
Immigrants from England, Scotland and Ireland who arrived in the Southeastern states in the 16th and 17th centuries are the foundation of our southern way of speaking. Nearly 150 years before the war of northern aggression.
Leland is also wrong in that her piece promotes the misconception that speaking "Southern American English" is limited to a small geographic area. The truth is SAE is the language of choice for almost 1/3 of Americans.
Read them both of Leland's stories if you like, but if you grew up in Charlotte as I have, and if your family's southern roots go back to the early days of the American Revolution as mine do, you might just grab your coffee and head outside to take in the beauty of a surprisingly cool Carolina morning, instead.
Thankfully, my New York Times Sunday Edition "is fixin" show up in my driveway right about now.