Photographer: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Every Place Has Detractors. Consider Where They're Coming From.

There is grave danger in judging the South or the Middle East or any culture by the accounts of those who chose to leave it.

“I am not the only Southern child,” writes Maggie Young, “who fled for more progressive, urban pastures as adulthood approached. Today, I occasionally cross paths with my fellow Bible Belt refugees. In coffeeshops, we swap stories of our dysfunctional families, relatives who plant themselves in church pews but would never apologize for the physical, mental, and emotional abuse they have inflicted on us. We bond over the post-traumatic stress of growing up in a conservative culture rotting away behind its Dixie facade.”

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