As a very dark-skinned, Mestizo Mexican guy (born in Mexico but raised in the Southwest of the US the majority of my early life), I have recently traveled to Alabama (I work in a job that involves traveling from state to state) and never was I ill-treated by the people from the state of AL because I was racially and culturally different.
When people think of any Southern States of the US, they think of Slavery, the KKKs, dumb rednecks, the Rebel/Confederate Flags (even though they don't really have much of a negative signification behind the flag as many people think). If anything, I've dealt with more racist hostilities from Californians, New Yorkers and people from Oregon than from any of the Southern States who constantly assume that I was an illegal (when my parents actually have been citizens of the US for over 15 years, therefore, getting me full American citizenship) tell me to go back to Mexico.
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Actually it's not that surprising... I mean for the most part we're past slaverly and earning equal rights so with that being said I know exactly what you mean.
It's that Southern Hospitality most people are very polite, kind, say yes and no mam/sir verses many of the northern states...0