Why do folks just think they can mosey on down here, start saying "ya'll", ordering grits, and then call themselves "southern". I hate to tell them, but it doesn't work like that. If you aren't from here, you're not southern. You can marry into it, move down here, or buy some land but it still doesn't make you southern.
And, for God's sake, please don't try to adopt a southern accent. Talk about giving us the heebie jeebies. (It makes my skin crawl just to think about it.) You can search your family tree to find some long loss relative who lived here at one time. Should you find one, then you have a relative who lived here a while back. That's nice, but it still doesn't make you southern, bless your heart. Which by the way does not mean "I pray for you" or "Thank you". Frankly, it is our polite way of saying, "God help you, because you are helpless."
Our question is, "Who's your mama?" or "Where're you from?" If you're from here, chances are we are kin. Every where else in the world, they say there are six degrees of separation between most folks, down here there are only three. Therefore, it's best to not say anything bad about anyone seeinshow there's a good chance they're kin to the person you're talking to.