Friday, November 30, 2012

BuckWild: Why Is Making Fun of Rural Whites So Cool?

There are few things I hate more than political correctness but one of them is hypocrisy. While stereotypes are often central to humor, most of the public and media have grasped the harm they can often do- often imposing an extreme level of sensitivity to the way many groups are portrayed. Rural Appalachian whites remain as a group it's more than cool to make fun of, as embodying everything that's dumb in America.

It's not new.

From an essay on Yahoo :Appalachian Americans: The Invisible Minority
These sentiments are deeply ingrained in American history. For centuries politicians displayed prejudice towards Appalachians, making comments like "[They are] the lowest scum and rabble..." "the vilest tricking and cheating... people into whose heads no means can beat the notion of a public interest or persuade to live like men," and "the laziest two legged animals that walk erect on the face of the Earth. Even their motions are slow, and their speech a sickening drawl... a natural stupidity or dullness of intellect that almost surpasses belief," (Heilman, 2004). Although Appalachians are considered 'white Americans,' such statements reek of racist social Darwinism. The centuries-old stereotype that anyone with an Appalachian accent possesses a "natural stupidity," is still perpetuated by the media. Television shows like "Beverly Hillbillies", "Green Acres" and "Hee Haw" have been described as "the most intensive effort ever exerted by a nation to belittle, demean and otherwise destroy a minority people within its boundaries"
Sadly, our tolerant nation seems almost more divided than ever, with "sophisticated urbanites" eager to point out the contrast between themselves and the ... other people out there. BuckWild, a new "reality show" of course shows you exactly how most people live in West Virginia.

See Trailer Here:

From The Charleston Gazette:
"Bailey said these kinds of reality shows tend to sensationalize and exaggerate, and she hoped people watching "Buckwild" at home will see it not as how West Virginians really live.

"Obviously, the show is just perpetuating a stereotype West Virginia has been working hard to shed ourselves of," she said. "Unfortunately, a show of this nature, if it becomes popular, will make it very hard to sell the state of West Virginia or the city of Charleston."

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