In the rest of the country, particularly in the Northeastern United States and among some in the West, the South is not particularly respected. The people who live in the Southeastern U.S. are seen as uneducated, averse to progress, and racist.
I would venture to guess that the non-Southerners who hold to this view have, for the most part, not spent much time in the South. One only has to visit the Southern states to see that, while there are elements of the society that fit the stereotype (and there are Southerners who proudly wear some or all of the labels I described above), there’s more to the South than you think. I’ll make a few comments based on our most recent trip, which took us through Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia (briefly), Alabama, and Mississippi.