Houston, TX

According to a New Map, Houston's no Longer in the South

Genius Turner

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Has Houston's "West End" neighborhood sign become a representative of the city's regional location?(West end civic club/Wikimedia Commons)

A new map floating around Twitter, which removes H-Town from the South, has ruffled some feathers

HOUSTON, Texas — According to the numbers, Houston is the largest city in the South. Ahem, well, that was until this week. After all, if R.J. Lehmann is correct, Houston is about as "southern" as Los Angeles.

Lehmann, editor-in-chief of the International Center for Law and Economics, argues his map precisely defines the South down to the county level. According to Lehmann, the true South includes the following states:

Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and both Carolinas (I'm listening), parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, West Virginia (okay...), one single county in Kansas (I mean, I guess?), and smatterings of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Delaware and Maryland (????). 

Clearly if Lehmann was looking for a "Twitter brawl," fought with Twitter fingers, he picked the right city. Because one thing Houstonians won't stand for is having their southern membership revoked — in particular by a non-southern, New Jersey native.

Perhaps when sketching his new map, Lehmann overlooked why it takes over a day to drive from West Virginia to a border town in Mexico. And remember, Mexico is literally "south" of America. Hop in a car in Houston, on the other hand, and in about 5 hours later you'll find yourself — south of the border.

Somewhere Ricky Ricardo can be overheard griping: Lehmann, like "Lucy, you've got some 'splaining to do!"

Yet Lehmann is adamant he's going to "stand behind" the claim that West Virginia, despite averaging over 30 inches of snowfall a year, is in the South. Houston, on the other hand, despite occasionally having a Christmas with temperatures in the 70s, isn't in the South.

According to Lehmann. ...

Pennsylvania . . . in the South? Wait!

If Pennsylvania's in the South, that would make PA a next-door neighbor to NY. Lehmann can't possibly be suggesting, or is he, a state next door to New York City is in the South, unless his intent was to draw a map that ends in reductio ad absurdum?

Ah, but wait a second. If part of PA is included in the South, and New Jersey (Lehmann's home state) borders PA, then that would mean Lehmann — a Newark native — is just as southern as a Houstonian.

In short, though I doubt Lehmann's revolution in redrawing regional lines will catch on anytime soon, he's managed to move the needle. And this accomplishment alone makes his map — despite how absurd it appears to most — a success.

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