I’m Appalachian–it’s an invisible ethnicity

Avery-County-Vance-search-008Catherine Vance Agrella,
Asheville, NC.

I’m white, and by definition am associated with some of the worst perpetrators of racism. But I also come from deep Appalachian Scots-Irish roots and have a clear ethnic identity. I do know what it feels like to be mocked for my speech, or thought of as a dumb hillbilly, even though I have two MA degrees…

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • barry irving

    …What’s your point?

  • Owlqueen

    Appalachia is one of the poorest, most disadvantaged places in the US. I am also Appalachian of the same Scots-Irish ethnicity. I live in Tennessee. Lots of towns here, rural places in the mountains are just wastelands of poverty and drug abuse. No jobs, nothing to do, people either turning to precription drugs and/or meth or becoming religious fanatics. Its a depressing place that some people don’t know exists. A lot of people think only black people in big cities are poor in America, but in Appalachia the life is similar.

  • Jim Zeirke

    I volunteer with Christian Appalachian Project in eastern Kentucky several times a year. I’ve been doing so for abou 15 years now. In that time I have met some of the kindest, generous, and hard-working people that I know. Yet, back home in Wisconsin, folks who have never been to the region always mock the Appalachians as toothless hillbillies who marry their cousins. It is galling, disgusting, and when I hear from someone I let them know in uncertain terms that I will not tolerate their hateful and ignorant remarks. It’s bad enough that the region is wracked by poverty and isolation, do we have to add sectional hatred to mix as well?

  • Beth Albright Johns

    This is the same background as my parents in Eastern Kentucky. Scots/ Irish, poor and not so poor.
    My mother who is 88 does proudly tell folks she’s from Appalachia. She grew up in a farm during the last days of the depression and in WWII. There seems to be a great sense of community and pride from her days in both Berea and Wildie. They were well off compared to others. My father on the other hand grew up in different circumstances but the GI bill was his ticket out of poverty and to opportunity.

 

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