Appalachia and New York City …I Heart Apple-at-cha

Real Life
   
A Baby Boomer in Appalachia

I love Appalachia

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Red High Heels and pocketbook It's a statement

I had another post in mind for today, but something triggered my wrath and my sorrow. It troubles me when outsiders come here, sum up our community as a third world country, then go out and raise charitable funds painting the bleakest of pictures of our living conditions.
Appalachia has problems. So does New York City. No one for one instant believes that all the people in the Big Apple are homeless. Yet, somehow when Appalachia is mentioned everyone jumps to the lazy, uneducated hillbilly stereotype. Why is that?

Why is New York City given the benefit of the doubt and Appalachia is not? Someone explain it to me.

I came to Appalachia over twenty years ago, by choice. I was in love….and I still am.

My husband is the son of a coalminer. His daddy worked third shift, maintained a large family garden, and sent all his kids to college. He used to speak of the shame of being lazy. An old tradition was to put a “bag of switches” on the porch of people who were deemed derelict in their family duties. It was the worst of humiliations.

This is the same man who greeted every guest, invited or stranger, with the words “You eat yet? You hungry?”

He supported several local charities, and encouraged his children to do the same.

I weep when outsiders portray us at our worst…..never stopping to see our best. Yes, when an organization comes to do good works I am excited. We need help. But when that same organization paints miserable pictures of Appalachia, it just furthers the negative stereotype.

That stereotype stops businesses from relocating here. That stereotype carries over, as our children go to college and are mocked for their Appalachian ways.

When we succeed it is unremarkable; when we fail it is newsworthy.

Yes, we in Appalachia have problems. So does New York City. Maybe we in Appalachia need to launch a “I heart Apple-at-cha” campaign. I wonder if some outsider would fund that? Maybe we can share the WHOLE picture.

Hmmm… it worked for New York City.

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.