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“The Chicks” Hated George Bush Before it was Cool

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Unfortunately, American University students have a general disdain for country music. Although one’s personal music taste is not cause for concern, this dislike of country music often translates to general contempt towards the South.

Many associate the South with racism, bigotry and intensely conservative values. Although all of these things can be found in the South, Northerners can most certainly possess these as well. Racism is still racism even if it’s covered in a Canada Goose jacket instead of a hunting jacket.

Left leaning movements are not solely exclusive to large northern cities. The South is inherently diverse and is rich is Black American history. This influence most certainly comes out in country music, as it is a pillar of the South.

The country girl band, The Chicks, is one of the most notable examples of liberal ideals infiltrating into country music. In March 2003, Natalie Maines was quoted exclaiming to a London crowd that they were “ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas” in reference to George W. Bush and their home state. Maines stated this in response to the US invasion of Iraq which sent thousands of American troops abroad. 

This quote led to the downfall of The Chicks and one of country music’s biggest controversies. Radio stations began to stop playing the band and death threats were sent to the members. 

Despite an incoming comeback of the band, this dispute was detrimental to their rising career. Three women essentially lost their careers over a quote that is similar to something many young liberals would utter today. 

To discount liberalism in the South is to disregard prominent Southerners who have done immense work for a more progressive and accepting America. This includes Dolly Parton and her donation for the vaccine as well Stacey Abrams and her work for voting rights. However, liberalism in the South is not only found in a few prominent figures, but is prevalent throughout the region.

Historically, the South has produced some of the most progressive movements in our nation’s history with the many civil rights movements taking place in the South and many civil rights activists coming from the region including Martin Luther King Jr. The notion that the North is not a producer of racism is historically inaccurate.

Trivializing Southerners to “hillbillies” and “hicks” when their state votes red in an election is just another way to enforce the already established classist power structures within the nation. Voter suppression is a prominent factor in Southern elections and a lack of acknowledgement of this is detrimental to our democracy. 

Civil rights leader, Fannie Lou Hamer described the regions as “up-South and down-South” stating “the man shoot me in the face in Mississippi, and you turn around he’ll shoot you in the back here.” 

The North is ultimately not that different from the South in terms of race relations and is not the “paradise” it is made out to be. The South does have certain racial power structures and a lack of diversity within leadership that is not as prevalent in the North, but it is necessary to separate the government from its people.

Women, like the members of The Chicks, did not nearly lose their career to be minimized down to “hillbillies.”

Jordyn Habib

American '24

Jordyn is a rising Senior at American University double majoring in CLEG and Arab World Studies. She writes about anything in terms of politics, DC news and history, as well as pop culture. She is currently serving as HCAU's President.