Skip to comments.The White Ghetto
Posted on 01/12/2014 9:34:36 AM PST by Jack Black
Owsley County, Ky. There are lots of diversions in the Big White Ghetto, the vast moribund matrix of Wonder Breadhued Appalachian towns and villages stretching from northern Mississippi to southern New York, a slowly dissipating nebula of poverty and misery with its heart in eastern Kentucky, the last redoubt of the Scots-Irish working class that picked up where African slave labor left off, mining and cropping and sawing the raw materials for a modern American economy that would soon run out of profitable uses for the class of people who 500 years ago would have been known, without any derogation, as peasants. Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentuckys Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. and they are getting shorter, womens life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
Pretty much where all my ancestors came from except one branch that came from Ireland during the potato famine. My ancestors (and Mr. Mercat’s) looked around about the time of the Civil War and decided nope, not marrying any of these cousins, and moved west.
Yes this is where I read about how cans of cola have become the transfer medium from EBT into cash at 50 cents on the dollar.
Transferring cases and cases of beverages from one store to another.
It's a good look at the subcultural of West Virgina.
There is a huge difference between a ghetto and impoverished sections of the country. Of course all sections are screaming towards poverty these days. keynes... what a guy!
The discussion of the low crime rate was interesting
That is the story of my family as well - lol.
Lots of White Ghettos in America these days.
The article doesn't mention the diners I go to, but it does tell me that the author of the article is an elitist idiot.
"We Accept Food Stamps is the new E pluribus unum are swamped with locals using their public benefits to buy cases and cases reports put the number at 30 to 40 cases for some buyers of soda. Those cases of soda then either go on to another retailer, who buys them at 50 cents on the dollar, in effect laundering those $500 in monthly benefits into $250 in cash a considerably worse rate than your typical organized-crime money launderer offers or else they go into the local black-market economy, where they can be used as currency in such ventures as the dealing of unauthorized prescription painkillers by pillbillies, as they are known at the sympathetic establishments in Florida that do so much business with Kentucky and West Virginia that the relevant interstate bus service is nicknamed the OxyContin Express. A woman who is intimately familiar with the local drug economy suggests that the exchange rate between sexual favors and cases of pop some dealers will accept either is about 1:1, meaning that the value of a woman in the local prescription-drug economy is about $12.99 at Walmart prices."
Its not idiotic. The transport problem discourages investment in these places. The unavailability of delivery services and amenities discourages internet based businesses and services like call centers, not to mention tourism (the place is actually beautiful, after all).
Not even close. This hack has turned hard working not necessarily ‘rich’ folks who love their independence into a trite stereotypical joke. I venture to say he has spent NO time in the Appalachia that I live in and certainly has not gotten to know any of the fine folks who reside there. He has decided to find drunks and dopers . gosh what a concept cause I sure can’t find those in the big city.
This a%$ wipe couldn’t last ten minutes trying to keep up with the folks he sneers at
Yes thank you exactly
I spent plenty of time in Eastern Kentucky working on coal mining equipment and this guy describes life exactly as it is.
He doesn’t claim that EVERYBODY is this way, just a significant chunk of the population.
your dependence on so called ‘amenities’ tells me you are sift and will not survive when things go bad (and they already are).
Oh no we don’t have a call center or an internet business oh how awful. Particularly since most of those got shipped to India long ago.
You act as if no one can even get to the Appalachia what a joke. Tourism is in every state that runs its spine. Delivery services exist through out and it shows you might have walked the width of the trail but that is all.
Stay in the city we don’t want you
The draw, the monthly welfare checks that supplement dependents earnings in the black-market Pepsi economy, is poison. Its a potent enough poison to catch the attention even of such people as those who write for the New York Times. Nicholas Kristof, visiting nearby Jackson, Ky., last year, was shocked by parents who were taking their children out of literacy classes because the possibility of improved academic performance would threaten $700-a-month Social Security disability benefits, which increasingly are paid out for nebulous afflictions such as loosely defined learning disorders. This is painful for a liberal to admit, Kristof wrote, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that Americas safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency.
Haven’t been there, but my intuition says it’s orders of magnitude safer than impoverished black areas.
Not sure that follows. The inability for each household to buy crap from China online means there can't be a leased line to a call center? Of course you can say that is true using the at-home "call center" example. But those jobs are not much more than a scam.
The fact is that the rural economy is adequate. The author seems to think that progress is defined by the number of Walmarts but that kind of economic "progress" is an unsustainable charade.
I object to his elitist view of these hard working honest folks. Because they have ‘dirty jobs’ and they talk with a local accent (tell me if you can understand some one from Jersey) and local colloquialisms doesn’t make them ignorant or stupid.
SInce the country’s inception the people inhabiting this region have been independent and not really interested in pleasing outsiders.
It is the arrogance of the city dweller that is so annoying. They do not know where their food comes from or their water or their heat. They are superior in every way . just ask them
And thank you for your post. I measure civilization by the number of people stopping at the 4-way stop. Often we will just sit there and gesture while nobody goes. In contrast I get to drive to the suburbs and work near the city where they literally step over corpses on the way in and out of the store.