I was condemning southern stereotypes, not celebrating them

I would never intentionally insult Southerners or the South. Although I was born in Florida, owing in part to my mother’s poor health (she needed a mild climate but died young anyway), South Carolina has been home to my maternal family since 1670.

In fact, my mother was the only family member to have left the state up to that point, except for the men who left, some for eternity, to fight in various wars. Her other reason for leaving was because she had committed the unpardonable sin of marrying a Yankee pilot during World War II. My father said he couldn’t have found work in South Carolina back then.

My Southern résumé otherwise includes the fact that my permanent address is still South Carolina, that my first job was at the Charleston Evening Post and that I’m married to a native son whose bona fides are not in question.

To those angry e-mailers who pointed out that I’m no smarter than people with Southern accents, I would add only, “Amen, sister.” I have one of those accents myself but adapt as circumstances require. Catch me on NBC and I probably sound like the Midwesterner my father was. Catch me on S.C. Highway 97, and you won’t know me from any other local.