Yes, the Deep South is ever-so-gradually growing more purple. There are islands of blue in the sea of red counties. The larger cities, the college towns, and the MS Delta where I grew up all tend to vote Democratic. Yes, the South is getting more tolerant, more accepting of those who are different…
…but no, there is no other multistate region of America where racism is so deeply entrenched, accepted, and even encouraged. To be sure, there are other, smaller areas in America that are every bit as racist, but none can compare to the Deep South in terms of size and political influence.
I strongly agree that one can appreciate and even honor one’s Southern heritage without allowing it to be irrevocably tainted by racism, for that’s what I try to encourage in my household. Southern heritage also includes respect for elderly, chivalry (chivalry is NOT dead), reaching out to family/friends/strangers in their time of need, having some of the best food on the planet, and having a healthy dose of patriotism.
In fact, as one travels, one finds the above traits are not just Southern culture, but found all over the planet. That, and one will also see that every culture has undesirable traits as well (though most cultures don’t have a recent history of supporting policies like Jim Crow).
What I’m getting to here is that as Obama pointed out, there is more that unites us than divides us. With culture, then, we must take the good and leave the bad.