The small city of Hazard, Ky., shown Tuesday, May 26, 2015, nestled in the heart of the coal fields of Appalachia and is at the heart of an injection drug use problem in the region. Public health officials warn if the region doesn’t get the problem under control, it’s likely to see a Hepatitis C or HIV outbreak. (AP Photo/David Stephenson) (Credit: AP Photo/David Stephenson)
During the 2016 presidential election, broad support for Donald Trump came from most communities in Appalachia, where he received 63 percent of the vote. A great deal of national attention was directed to the people of this region, which spans from southern New York to Mississippi and Alabama.
Much of this attention was negative, with some critics calling for the political separation of Appalachia and others simply dumping their woe in Appalachia’s blame bucket. Lately, this turn against Appalachia has been dubbed “the hillbilly problem.”
It’s nothing new.
Whether it’s hillbilly hooch, hillbilly hot dogs or hillbilly mascots, there’s probably no other cultural trope that’s so widely and derisively employed as hillbilly, a term broadly used to refer to the people of Appalachia.
Many qualities come prepackaged with the hillbilly stereotype: poverty, backwardness …read more