Amy Christa Erano wries ...
Southern white men in general (“Southern Man”) and white Alabamans in particular (“Alabama”).
Those two songs painted a very negative picture of Southern white men, and while the South certainly has a history of racism as well as slavery, Ronnie Van Zant was a Southern white man (from Florida, not Alabama) who was not a racist, and he took exception to the generalization Young made (especially seeing as Young was a) Canadian and b) had never lived in the South).
Neil later said he “richly deserved” the hit Ronnie gave him, and all ended well between them — they ultimately ended up becoming friends.
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