May 27, 2017

This Ain’t Appalachia

Figures. We have to head back to our Arlington home today and it’s raining. Rained hard last night and we may need to think about building an ark to get out to Buffalo Mountain Road.

Interesting discussion over at Fred First’s Fragments From Floyd Blog. Fred’s looking for a title for his book and the suggested names range from nostalgic to far out.

Some of the good back-and-forth centers around whether or not we live in “Appalachia” or the “Blue Ridge.” Tom Montag, who writes an excellant Blog called The Middlewesterner offered this observation:

“Appalachia is where people live; Blue Ridge is where the tourists go; so the term was used with derison in the past? – embrace it.”

Tom is right in saying “Appalachia” is insulting to those of us who grew up and live in the Blue Ridge, but he is wrong to say we should embrace the term. It’s like telling an African-American that he or she grew up in the ghetto. Lyndon Johnson declared Appalachia to be the most poverty-stricken area of the United States and sent in VISTA volunteers to save us from our poverty.

Which was a crock. Yes, there are areas of the mountains that are dirt poor, must as there are areas of the city where poverty rules. But calling where we live “Appalachia” was like saying we lived in some foreign land, not America. We live in the Blue Ridge. Period. End of debate.

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