|Dad & Mom in Kentucky-late 1950's|
Something else that I've noticed through the years is that these negative comments and stereotypes about Appalachia haven't just shaped the outside world's opinion of the southern mountain region. They've really done a number on many of those that have left the region, and that effect has trickled down to their children, grandchildren, etc. When others, out of lack of understanding, make fun of who you are and/or where you came from, it naturally creates a motivation for assimilating and just wanting to blend in with the crowd. Because, let's face it, who wants to stand out like a sore thumb within a community? But too much blending in creates a tremendous loss...a loss of identity, a loss of culture, a loss of connection, a loss of shared values, and a loss of history. Pretty sad...especially when culture, connection, shared values, and history can help keep youth or anyone afloat when peer pressures and negative influences try to tug us in the wrong direction.