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Yes, we still need civility


One of my colleagues sent along this NYT article with the remark: "The reporter seems to equate manners, politeness and civility as tools of those in power to keep down those they want to control. . . . Yes, the South is known for a passive aggressive sugar-coated meanness as in this example from the article: 'Manners also helped create the South’s famous “bless your heart” culture -- a powerful way of seeming to be polite without being genuine.' But manners, civility and politeness are positive character traits -- putting others first, showing respect for others, etc. Civility done rightly for the right reasons is a good thing. I’d rather live with civility than selfish barbarism."

Comments:

Yes, we still need civility
And to what does the reporter equate the rudeness and in-yout-face arrogance by which many New Yorkers are characterized? Honesty and deference? I have been around both and, quite frankly, I prefer the "pretense" of Southern civility. Of course, maybe we could simply take it sometimes as courtesy instead of putting a postmodern spin on people's motives by judging them in light of our own trenchant cynicism.
I think this kind of grace and civility is nicely displayed in the gentle film, "A Trip to Bountiful."
My mom is from NW Arkansas, and lived much of her childhood in Kansas City, and though we were not brought up with "Sir" and "Ma'am," just the other day my sister-in-law (who I found out became a Xn just this past April) commented on the 'sweetness' she finds in the Peet boys (4 sons).
One wonders how this filters into and through a family, and how it relates to the NT teachings about the family being sanctified through the believing parent (I Cor. 7:14).
One of my daughters lives in rural North Carolina. When we talk, I'm always saying, "Oh, bless her heart!". It's an expression I took on years before she moved south to have something to say when there was nothing else to say. So, she's taken to starting out conversations with, "I don't want to hear about blessing anybody's heart, tonight!"

LeeQuod, I have also taken on the "ma'am" and "sir" for adults, even though I'm a 68-yr-old grandmother and look it. You're right: the look on younger people's faces is priceless!
I don't know Lee. The recent unpleasantness showed a number of examples of Southerners doing things through strife and vainglory.

However the south was settled by caviliers and the north by puritans. The south is the land of rapiers and pistols and the north is the land of hot tar. Farther west is the land of bowie knives. In between settled quaker merchants. That was the land of waterfront brawls and shanghaiing.

I suppose the South's favorite means of uncharity to their fellow men are more pleasant on the ear.
I'm frightful sorry, Miss Gina; I saw the NYT article earlier, but I couldn't carve out the time to forward it to y'all.

I've deliberately adopted referring to people as "ma'am" and "sir", and it has served me well in relationships at my work. (Plus, it's fun to see the shocked look on the face of someone three decades younger than me when I call them that.)

Missing from the article (but not surprisingly, since this is the *New York* Times after all) is the influence of the Bible Belt on respect for others. In particular, I always figured Southerners had taken Phil. 2:3-4 more to heart than us Yankees. If so, then something far more important than civility (important though it is; I agree with your colleague) is being lost.