confronting stereotypes: appalachia

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Confronting Stereotypes: Appalachia. Tara Hannum C&I 689 Summer Session. Welcome to. Where is Appalachia?. What is considered to be Appalachia- - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Education in Appalachia

Confronting Stereotypes:AppalachiaTara HannumC&I 689Summer SessionWelcome to

2What is considered to be Appalachia-

The Appalachian Region includes all of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The Region is home to more than 25 million people and covers 420 counties and almost 205,000 square miles.Where is Appalachia?Home - Appalachian Regional Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved from

AppalachiaThe orange denotes the area considered to be Appalachia.4Different Subregions

These subregions were developed by the Appalachian Regional Commission as a basis for analysis. The creation of the five subregions on this map were completed in 2009 for the purposes of generating more detailed research. This map is based on current economic and transportation data. The Appalachian subregions are contiguous regions of relatively homogeneous characteristics (topography, demographics, and economics) within Appalachia.Map by Appalachian Region Commission, November 2009.5What Makes this Region Different than other areas in the U.S?Its HistoryAndStatisticsHistoryEducation StatisticsPercent of Working-Age Adults (Ages 25 to 64) With a Bachelor's Degree or More, by Appalachian County Type, 2006-2010

Educational Attainment

Source: Appalachian Regional Commission, The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview From the 2006-2010 American Community Survey (Washington, DC: Appalachian Regional Commission, 2012.)

9Learning OpportunityAmericas Favorite Joke is Anything but Funny:Why are jokes and stereotypical portrayals of Appalachians acceptable?Ask students what they know about Appalachia and the people that live there?What are they using as a basis for this knowledge?Fact vs. FictionIs it Appalachian Culture or a Stereotype?

1. Individualism, Self-Reliance, Pride - most obvious characteristics; necessary on the early frontier; look after oneself; solitude; freedom; do things for oneself; not wanting to be beholding to others; make do

2. Religion - values and meaning to life spring from religious sources; fatalistic (outside factors control one's life, fate, believe things happen for a reason and will work out for the best); sustains people in hard times

3. Neighborliness and Hospitality - help each other out, but suspicious of strangers; spontaneous to invite people for a meal, to spend the night, etc.

4. Family Solidarity or Familism - family centered; loyalty runs deep; responsibility may extend beyond immediate family; "blood is thicker than water"

5. Personalism - relates well to others; go to great lengths to keep from offending others; getting along is more important than letting one's feelings be known; think in terms of persons rather than degrees or professional reputations

6. Love of Place - never forget "back home" and go there as often as possible; revitalizing, especially if a migrant; sometimes stay in places where there is no hope of maintaining decent lives

7. Modesty and Being Oneself - believe one should not put on airs; be oneself, not a phony; don't pretend to be something you're not or be boastful; don't get above your raising

8. Sense of Beauty - displayed through folksongs, poems, arts, crafts, etc., colorful language metaphors, e.g. "I'm as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs."

9. Sense of Humor - seem dour, but laugh at ourselves; do not appreciate being laughed at; humor sustains people in hard times

10. Patriotism - goes back to Civil War times; flag, land, relationships are important; shows up in community celebration and festivals

10 Common Characteristics of Appalachia

Jones, A. 1994. Appalachian Values. The Jesse Stuart Foundation.

13Positive attributes associated with Appalachian Culture emphasize perceived traditional community valuesa strong commitment to land, kin, and religious beliefs, an emphasis on self-rule and social equality, and patriotism.

What are the negative characteristics associated with the people living in Appalachia?Appalachian CultureAPPALACHIA. (2003). In Encyclopedia of Community. Retrieved from



On the one hand, Appalachian culture has been viewed by Americans as backward, incestuous, isolated, and poverty-stricken. Billings (1999, p. 6) referred to this view as "a traumatized culture where withdrawal, depression, inertia, self-blame and resignation rule." On the other hand, Appalachian people have also been romanticized as "'strong women, noble African Americans, and virtuous Indians' and 'a fierce and solitary people' (p. 10). Witness the differing worlds of Deliverance and Andy Griffith (Herzog, 2004).

For a quick explanation on this dichotomy, read:

For a more in depth introduction to this topic, read:Billings, D., Norman, G., & Ledford, K. (Eds.) (1999). Confronting Appalachian stereotypes. Lexington: The University of Kentucky Press. Herzog,M.J. (2004). Appalachia Presentation. Retrieved from

Appalachia in Popular Culture"Is it pronounced "Ap-uh-lay-chuh" or "Ap-uh-lach-uh? Those outside the region use the former Those inside the region use the latter.Color Me Appalachian. (October 2, 2011 Sunday ). The Chronicle of Higher Education, Retrieved from OpportunityDialectsIn an article for the Smoky Mountain News, Gary Carden recalls the words of his own grandmother: Every time you open your mouth, you will be weighed and found wanting. Her message is clear: every time you speak in this dialect, people will immediately take stock of you, your intelligence, your integrity, your manners, and will conclude that you, as an Appalachian, are backward and inferior (Chapman, 2009).

The Appalachian Dialect Chapman,A. (2009). Illiterate Hillbillies or Vintage Individuals: Perceptions of the Appalachian Dialect | Commonplace. Retrieved from United States is a vast country with many different cultures living within its borders. Often the manner in which someone talks or the words they choose can offer assistance in determining what region of the country or what culture someone was raised. Dialects are fundamental to our identity and our communitys identity.There are many stereotypes associated with dialects.

LessonThis lesson is designed to teach students to appreciate the differences in dialects and understand that a particular dialect does not indicate prejudice or intelligence. Use the following links for an explanation of American dialects and their origins.

LessonFor a fun and interactive classroom (or at home) experiment, have students take a dialect quiz.Here are some options (these are not scientific and are missing many of the less common dialects). *Ask students if they can identify different regional dialects.Have students take this quiz from PBS

LessonThis quiz has the word whore in it. While it is meant to offer an example, it may be offensive to some. Please use this quiz only if you believe the word will not offend. There are many of these quizzes online. See if there is something else that might work just as well.25Ask Students about their own experiencesAsk students if they have heard words or pronunciations different from their own?What did these words convey?Has anyone ever asked the student where they were from because of the dialect they spoke was different than the other persons?Have students ever heard classmates use a word that was different than the one they were familiar with?*What might explain the differences?

Lesson*Where I am from, I often heard classmates refer to peppers as mangos. This was a term I was unfamiliar with until my classmates explained that in their families that was what a pepper was also known as.26What does a dialect tell us about someone?What doesnt a dialect or accent tell us?How do we combat stereotypes associated with regional dialects?

QuestionsTreatment of AppalachiansEducation IdeasHow is it possible that we, as educated individuals, allow such images of Appalachians to exist?Furthermore, do we let such images that are being propagated alter our views on the entire Appalachian population based solely on their dialects?QuestionsAppalachians are not only fighting the coal conglomerates and out-of-state landholders in their struggle to end strip mining, but are also struggling against cultural assumptions that mark them as expendable. If we are choosing to fight injustice and exploitation, whether generally or in their specific manifestations through the destruction of the globes most ancient mountain range, we must examine our own understandings and popular representations of hillbilly culture. To win this struggle and any other that impacts Appalachia, it is imperative that we stand in solidarity with its people and call on our comrades to do the same.- Wren AwryAwry,W. (2010). No, I Dont Find Your Hillbilly Jokes Funny: Cultural Stereotypin