I consider myself a Southerner first and foremost. It is a term I wear with pride, while realizing that our history is every bit as ugly as those from the North would like to pretend they don't have. I'm proud to be a Southerner, and I'm proud of the food and culture I grew up with, especially the food. When I'm talking about Southern food, I'm not talking about this "everything deep fried" crap, though that is an important part of it. I'm talking about gumbo, and collard greens with ham hock, and biscuits, and good buttermilk cornbread. I'm talking about, yes, fried chicken, and sweet potato casserole, biscuits and gravy, and chicken and dumplings. For a more convenient example, just go to your nearest Cracker Barrell restaurant. Though locations outside of the South may not get it right, at least they'll have the right idea.
We're often portrayed in popular culture as dumb hicks, or inbred rednecks, or as racist troglodites. Just for fun, why don't I list a few such people from my native beloved/hated Alabama: Harper Lee, W. C. Handy (one of the grandfathers of Jazz), George Washington Carver, Truman Capote, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Condoleeza Rice, Booker T. Washington, William Edward Campbell, Hank Aaron, Courtney Cox, and Jim Nabors. Also, the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Medicine is one of the most highly respected medical schools in the United States. But we're all just hicks. To my friends outside of the South, if you happen to come across a Southerner who seems slow, or stupid, or clumsy, or just apparently has trouble understanding what you want, there are a few people who fit that description, but more likely, it's just our way of politely telling you that you're an asshole. Toodles.