We, the people, of Appalachia
We, the people of Appalachia, may be among the most misunderstood and underappreciated cultures on the planet. Opinions vary widely as to why this is so, but the fact of the matter is almost universally agreed upon.
Many who live outside our region tend to think that our culture could be made more “right” if only we locals could be taught how to live more within the orbit of the modern world.
As with any culture, there are undoubtedly a few things we Appalachian natives could do a bit better.
But in reality, we already have much that is “right” about our region. So much that is right, in fact, that when the facts are actually known about us, it may indeed be that many another culture could actually learn a few things from us.
We, the people of Appalachia, have the type of independent spirit that George Washington, if he were alive today, would admire, respect, and love dearly. Though relatively few Appalachian residents publicly display a Harvard MBA degree on their wall, our local people have no living superior as entrepreneurs. In fact, many of our local business owners could likely teach those Harvard MBA graduates more than a thing or two about the self-reliance, resourcefulness, and savvy needed for the “real-life” business world. The people in this neck of the woods generally want to “do things on their own”. They don’t want “the gov’ment” telling them what to do, or even to help them in any way – if they can help it at all.
This spirit of independence allows self-employment to blossom and flourish throughout our hills and hollows, communities, and small towns. Many local residents work two jobs or more, with at least one of those jobs often being entrepreneurial in some way (although their existence is not always widely known to the IRS).
As for the commonly-held impression of Appalachian culture being “backward” regarding general intelligence and education (as is often the perception gained by those living outside our region), I would offer that the contrary is actually true; the people of Appalachia are so intelligent and resourceful that they can fix just about anything – and fix it pretty much on their own. Our residents are often a “jack of all trades”.