Friday, June 6, 2008

Sneering at the Appalachian Rednecks

As an Oklahoma-based blog, AT likes to pride itself on its egalitarian outlook. We believe that citizenship and human rights apply to all sorts of people, even folks whose background and lives are different from our own. 

That's why we were distressed to hear NBC's Andrea Mitchell stumble over the notion that Barack Obama might actually be interested in wooing working class voters in Virginia. When Obama spoke in Bristol, Virginia, this week, Mitchell said: "This is real redneck, sort of, bordering on Appalachia country." 

Okay, Ms. Mitchell, how many stereotypes can you imply in a single sentence?

Let's count a few: 

First, she implies that Obama is an elitist, which means (apparently) that he would not care about "rednecks" in the mountain South. 

Second, she implies that uneducated "rednecks" (read "hillbillies") would (apparently) never vote for a Democrat or a black man—never mind that the Bristol area is represented in Congress by a Democrat and has been for many years. 

Third, she appears completely unaware that some people in the mountain South find the term "redneck" offensive at worst and inaccurate at best

As it happens, Bristol is part of rapidly growing area called the Tri-Cities that includes Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, home to dozens of major industries, colleges and universities, and much more. It's not New York City, we admit, but it's not a cultural and intellectual wasteland any more than, say, good ole Tulsa or Oklahoma City. 

A word of advice to Ms. Mitchell: Next time, skip the stereotypes. 


Tulsan said...

Kind of reminds of the recent Cheney "inbred" joke at West Virginia's expense:

"We'd always known about the Cheney family line on my father's side of the family, back to Massachusetts in the 1630s. My grandmother was named Tyler but it turned out she was descended from a Richard Cheney, same last name, who landed in Maryland in the 1650s.

"So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family -- and we don't even live in West Virginia."

Good going, GOP. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Mitchell is awful. Just like her husband, Alan Greenspan!