I Am Not Ashamed Of My Appalachian Accent
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Politics and Activism

I Am Not Ashamed Of My Appalachian Accent

Our culture goes beyond our vowel pronunciation.

I Am Not Ashamed Of My Appalachian Accent

I spent the first 18 years of my life being molded by the mountains. I have explored every twist and turn on the back of a four wheeler. I know exactly how the Appalachian hills reflect each season with a beauty that only God himself could have crafted. When I left for college, a mere three hours away, I did not know how different I would seem to some of my peers because of where I call home. My accent was always the first topic of conversation, most out of genuine curiosity but some just condescension. The follow up question typically involved “...but what do you do there?” and ended with a causal “I could never live there.” It was confusing and sometimes hurtful how easily people could dismiss the place I loved. As college continued, though, I grew and made connections beyond that of my hometown. My accent still remained a tell-tale reminder of where I was from, though. I continued to get questions about it or be asked to repeat words because of the way I said them. I will not lie and say that I was never embarrassed, because I was, but I also knew that hiding my voice would be an injustice to my home.

We have been bestowed the honor of carrying the Appalachian culture with us everywhere we go. In the way we pronounce our vowels, there is history and a kinship among all who know this blessing. Outsiders may try to label us as ignorant or “hillbillies” because of this, but we can see deeper. We see a man who spent his entire life digging black gold until his hands were calloused and eyes tired. We see the exact color of the leaves on our mountains in October. We see the love of a family gathering together under a small roof just to have dinner. What a blessing it is to be reminded of this picture every time we open our mouths.

The Appalachian people are cut from our own cloths. We understand the importance of sweet tea on a Sunday and a win against the next town over on a Friday night. If someone doesn’t know you, I can guarantee they probably know your daddy. We stick together against all of the stereotypes and fight for our livelihood in Washington. Appalachia is comprised of some of the most genuine, hardworking people that you will find. We may not have a “nightlife” or a cluster of private schools at our disposal but that does not lessen our quality of life. We make up for those things through the love of one another and our mountains. I will not be embarrassed the next time someone is taken aback by my accent. It will only serve as a reminder that not everyone gets this gift. I am a child Appalachia and that is something I will never be ashamed of.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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