White women who live in the Southern United States tell the Guardian that they face major pressure from both their husbands and their communities to adopt Republican politics and back President Donald Trump.
Chera Sherman-Breland tells the publication that she first had her eyes opened to Southern political culture when her stepfather kicked her out of his house after he learned that she was dating a black man when she was a teenager. In fact, she says her stepfather went so far as to tell her that “white men aren’t going to want you” as he forced her out.
She has been happily married to her high school boyfriend for the past 25 years, but she says that her experience is all too common among young white women who question Southern conservatism.
“I can’t tell you the countless number of times younger Caucasian girls who are going through the same exact thing have reached out to me for advice,” she says. “You understand as a young girl that your place is behind your man, not in front or beside him.”
49-year-old Mississippi native Lynne Schneider, meanwhile, tells the Guardian that young women are indoctrinated from a young age to be obedient through the teaching of false history about the American South.
“They don’t want to fall out of favor, not be accepted,” she says of white women in her state. “Mississippi is like a football game. People want to be on the winning team. If you’re not conservative here, you have to get used to your side losing.”
And 55-year-old Jan Levy Mattiace tells the publication that she was raised to be a staunch conservative, but that last year she voted for black Democrat Mike Espy in the 2018 Senate race. Like the other women interviewed, she says the South’s education system does not give students a complete picture of the region’s history.
“As children, we did not realize what was going on,” she said of racial issues in Mississippi.