Essay on Kentucky Stereotypes

Essay on Kentucky Stereotypes

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"You know you're from Kentucky if your house is mobile and your three cars aren't" This is a joke my younger brother recited to me when I returned to my Yankee home from the University of Kentucky for Thanksgiving break. He went on to ask, "If a Kentucky couple gets divorced are they still brother and sister?" The lists of redneck jokes surrounding Kentucky stereotypes are endless. Many people get a good laugh out of the jokes, but they don't realize that they are portraying a crude message about all Kentucky folk. More so than any other state, Kentucky is labeled and illustrated as redneck and poor. Much of this may stem from many of the small towns in Kentucky and in the Appalachian area. However, Appalachia has been misunderstood and misrepresented: "Appalachia has long been characterized as a region of feuds, moonshine stills, mine wars, environmental destruction, joblessness and hopelessness" (Billings cover). Although Appalachia tends to be a very poor region, they are very rich in family values and respect for life.

It was a few days before I left for school and my best friend, Kate, was throwing a good-bye party for our group of friends. I was so excited for this bash seeing that it would be the last time our group would be together for a while. It was a time for all of us to move on and embark upon futures that held so much for all of us, and to say farewell to the people and memories that had shaped us.

Kate's family had rented out a ballroom in a neighborhood country club, and we intended to dance the night away. As I approached the scene, disco lights streamed through the large windows and ran all over the lawn. Music enveloped the parking lot as my adrenaline began to elevate. I sauntered in, waving to my friend...


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...ia struggle to over come these labels that burden them and that their jokes simply add to the pain. "Stereotypes are attacks upon the human spirit. They find their mark and no good comes of it" (Billings 160). Everybody I have met here, regardless of where they are from are just the same as everybody I have ever known. They are just trying to make it through and trying their best to follow their hearts and dreams.

Works Cited

Billings, Norman, Ledford. Confronting Appalachian Stereotypes: Back Talk from an American Region. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1990.

Beaver, Patricia. Rural Community in the Appalachian South. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1981.

Murray, Kenneth. Down to Earth People of Appalachia. Boone: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1974.

Norman, Gurney. Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories. Frankfort: Gnomon Press, 1977.

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