State Lines (or, I'm a Regional Stereotyper)

I love getting my fellow Her Kentucky contributor Sarah Holland all riled up, y'all.  I may not always agree with her, but Good Lord, she always makes me think.

Sarah's recent blog entries, in response to my musings on Appalachia and in defense of the oft-ignored WKY, were no exception. As I read Sarah's insight that "I'm not from that part of Kentucky" is an easy mindset for so many Central and Western Kentuckians, I cringed a little.  I've seen that attitude a million times, and I've often assumed that people were thinking it,  but I've never really read it put forth so nakedly.  It stung for a second*, even though that view was put forth in a passionate essay about solidarity and love of the Bluegrass State.  And then, it hit me.  I'm just as guilty of this kind of segmented thought.

Northern Kentucky is basically Cincinnati.  I really only stop there to use the restroom or hit up the Florence Y'all on my way to a ball game or a concert.  I know some good folks from that area, but they're pretty much Cincinnatians anyway.   Now, do we have time to go to Tiffany's between dinner and the show?

People from Southern/South Central Kentucky drink Ski and listen to the Kentucky Headhunters, right?  And I think they have a lot of Catholic yard art...

Live in the East End of Louisville if you want to avoid the U of L fans. 

Western Kentuckians make that weird mutton barbecue.  And they sure do get out the vote for Ed Whitfield.

At some point in my life I have participated in all of those conversations.  They were good-spirited and joking.  They weren't intended to be critical or hurtful.  They were just off-handed observations.  And yet, they kind of were stereotypes.  Not in the methhead, hillbilly vein.  But a broad and overreaching means of describing people nonetheless.  Some of it was shorthand, based on the folks I've known from those areas.  Some of it was based on my very limited personal experience with these areas.  And some of it was meant solely in jest.  But it's also a reminder that I need to keep a little perspective when all Appalachian Kentuckians are lumped together.  Sometimes, it is an act of overt derision.  Sometimes, it's out of limited information.  And sometimes, it's nothing more than an unthinking joke. 

How about y'all? What are your experiences with Kentucky stereotypes?  Anybody want to meet up in NKY and have an afternoon at Tiffany's?

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*Sarah sent me the most gracious string of emails regarding this project, and could not have been more thoughtful and lovely about the entire endeavor. No Interwebz drama here, y'all.