Monday, April 21, 2014

A Side Note on Appalachian Poverty

From the latest depressing article about poverty in southern West Virginia, this one by Trip Gabriel in the Times, I take away one illuminating anecdote. It concerns Emalee Short, a teenager who lives with her grandparents in Hensley, taking care of stray dogs and dreaming of being a biologist or veterinarian. (That's her above.) Describing her desire to escape from McDowell County, she said,
I don’t want people to talk about me.
Because in her experience, talking about people means reciting all the bad things that have happened to them: overdoses, injuries, arrests, prison terms. That's what talk is in McDowell County. That talking about people might mean bragging about their accomplishments is something outside of her experience.

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