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One thing to remember is that the Southern states formed much later in the game than New England, so a lot of them have more a sense of regional pride rather than state or local pride. But the idea of some sort of local/regional pride isn’t unique to the South. Texas, California, Pacific Northwest – these are areas that have a strong sense of pride, too. It’s just that the South has always been more fluid about the movement of people and culture, so they tend to lump together a bit more. Back in the pre-Civil War days, the North has major cities everywhere and the South was much more spread out; state borders were just bureaucratic designations, not really anything else.
I’m a Southern liberal, and so are my parents. I have NEVER considered the Confederacy or the Confederate flag to be a part of my heritage. My heritage is Northern European, Scandinavian, Native American, Appalachian, and also Southern. I don’t identify as “Confederate” in any way. But the South does have its own cultural ways and that qualifies it as a cultural region. And yes, the North East, Midwest, West, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest are cultural regions as well. Each having their own cuisines, art, folkways ,and music. I don’t consider any to be better than the others, but they exist. however there are regional cultural heritages … i am proud to say i was raised in the san francisco bay area. known for being “too inclusive”, ha!