Clannish Cultish Brutish People

I first came to the greater Nashville area in the early 1990s, the result of a job transfer. Being from the Deep South, and having been to the Smoky Mountains, I was very excited about living among the mountains, woods and streams. Well, folks, when I arrived in Middle Tennessee, I found something altogether different. What I found was a piece of rock covered by cedars and ticks, and some of the most rude, clannish people I have ever encountered. I'm still here, 20 years on, and certainly not by choice.

I am a Southerner. I am not from the North and I never lived there. I have, however, lived all over the world on job assignments, spending over 10 years overseas. I have had the opportunity to see and live in some really challenging places. The last one landed me here in Tennessee, and Tennessee takes the cake. I feel as foreign here as the day my plane landed at BNA years ago.

My first impression was that everyone was so friendly. What a joke.

I'd like to have a dime for every time I'm asked "You aint from around here are ye?" (Nope, thank God! ) Or, I'm introduced followed by the line, "He ain't from around here." Or I get a bland, blank stare after I'm asked who my family is, and I just say, "We're from another state, I have no family here." It's like I just told them my family comes from Bhutan. (Which, I'm sure, most Tennesseans think is a lighter...)

Doing business in Tennessee is difficult if you are not connected here somehow, either by being born here or marrying into it. If your "Diddy" didn't grow up living next to the boss' "Diddy" then you can just about forget it. You are not going to get promoted, either, unless you are connected. They take care of their own. Period.

I agree with other posters about the "Christian" values. They push and push for you to go to their Baptist or Church of Christ church, then when you politely inform them that you are of another denomination and are not interested in changing, they think you're some kind of Hale-Bopp Comet Cult worshiper.

Alcohol and drug (particularly prescription) abuse is rampant, yet these bozos are now fighting wine in grocery stores. Really? You have people abusing TNCare left and right; East Tennessee is worn out with meth, the cops losing the battle; Memphis is a festering swamp of welfare dependency, and you're worried about wine at Publix? So typical...worry about what the neighbors will think. Cover up everything that you can!

Even their football team, UT, is a bunch of losers. They are a disgrace to the SEC, can't even get a decent coach. I used to think Kiffin did them dirty, but in retrospect he just got the heck of of this rockpile and gave them a taste of their own medicine as he looked at Knoxville in the rear view mirror.

Finally, advice to new arrivals....Make no mistake. Never, ever confuse Tennesseans' friendliness with FRIENDSHIP.

RealSoutherner RealSoutherner
41-45, M
3 Responses Jan 14, 2013

You are from the south and they still don't accept you? After being laid off from my last job (a first in my entire career) I realized I was not going to be able to be myself. They stick together and they stab you in the back. Southern hospitality is pure propaganda.

OMG! They have a Publix now? Where? Where? I'm dying from lack of civilization. I found Earth Fare. It was like a candle in the window. heh heh I hear you about the South. I grew up in Tennessee and left years ago. South Carolina, Georgia, even parts of Alabama are so polite and friendly, but these people are rude and sneaky. Here is all about nepotism and how much they can get out of your pocket while playing that whole 'jest a dumb country boy' tune to see how much you can swallow. Never forget,................. the first KKK meeting was in Tennessee. Andrew Jackson was a pretty good President who was living in Tennessee when he became a politician. They like to claim him but he was born in Ireland, immigrated to Pennsylvania and was raised in the Carolinas. Andrew Johnson, their President from Greenville, TN, was a bigot and impeached.

I moved to mid TN in 2010. Most of what you said about TN you can and will find anywhere: drug use, alcohol use, cliques, disdain for outsiders, etc. You have to do your research and land in the right spot in any state. No one pressured us about what church to go to, and we went to a bunch before we found one. The only thing I agree with completely is your last comment: "Finally, advice to new arrivals....Make no mistake. Never, ever confuse Tennesseans' friendliness with FRIENDSHIP." We have acquaintances who are from TN, but our friends in Tennessee are transplants like us. One other thing you didn't mention, worst drivers in the world, including Tijuana, where I have driven many times. But you can't beat the cost of living.