The South is an economic powerhouse by today's standards, as it's a fast growing region with cultural and political diversity. Other areas of the country have the kind of stereotypes sometimes associated with the South as well. The South has large cities like Atlanta and Charlotte, which contrast with the negative outlook some Americans have on the rural nature of some areas like the South.
Now unlike the stupid liberal stereotype of how the South is rural (like it's a bad thing, I mean farming is fun and natural way of life), there are some real hateful stereotypes about the South which should be taken seriously -- like the South being racist and hateful, and being a place where others are not treated with acceptance. In some cases that's true. But it's not the case anymore. If anything it's on par with the rest of the country.
One example of this was the movie "48 Hours" which was when white Americans were really racist still, and that movie was not set in the South, but in San Francisco.
I do agree that the South does get a bad rap in American culture. Many people when thinking about the South, will think about Rednecks, the Confederates, and high crime. Unfortunately, many Southern states suffer from low economic factors such as high unemployment and a higher than average high school dropout rate. These factors in turn lead to a high crime rate which helps lead to the bad rap.