Appalachia Blog

Changing Appalachian Stereotypes

Mountains

“The only thing we see on UK TV about Appalachian people is food stamps and sad faces.”


The comment above was left on one of my YouTube videos close to a year ago. You might think I’m strange but it’s a comment I really liked.

Why?

Because for the last 14 years I’ve shown a bright positive light on the region of Appalachia and I truly believe I’m making a difference.

On a regular basis I hear from folks who tell me I’ve made them feel proud and thankful for being raised in the Appalachian mountains. I also frequently hear from people who say they are pleasantly surprised to realize there is goodness in the people who call Appalachia home and they are impressed by the quality of life that can be found within these mountains.

As I head to Kentucky those are the thoughts that will be on my mind. Even if I don’t win the award for best vlogger, I’ve already won. Having people like you read, watch, and support my endeavor to celebrate and preserve Appalachian heritage and culture is more than enough reward.

Last night’s video: Eat Hosta Plants and Feed Your Family From Your Yard!

Tipper

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50 Comments

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    April 11, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    There are good, hard-working people everywhere. It’s a shame that people stereotype Appalachia and its people. You and your family are fine people. I feel like you’re neighbors, even though we live in different states.

  • Reply
    OkieJammer
    April 10, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    OH! OH! SO stinkin’ excited for your BEST VLOGGER WIN at the 2022 Appy Awards. Absolutely well-deserved!

  • Reply
    Lisa Lynn Stollings
    April 9, 2022 at 11:56 pm

    I am 100% Born and Raised Mountain Lady!!!! Now you want to know what I mean??? Well I am a 5th generation coal miner daughter, granddaughter, niece, wife and a huge supporter of our coal miners. Anybody crawling in a hole sticking their heads between two mountains to make a living should have EVERYONE’S RESPECT!!!! IT’S A HORRIBLE HARD JOB AND THESE MEN WILL STILL NEVER HESITATE TO CRAWL IN THE MOUNTAIN AND MAKE A LIVING MORE THAN HAPPY AND BLESSED TO DO IT. Now also being from these mountains also means we live hard have always lived hard and worked harder to survive. I don’t know about the whole Applichian Mountains but someone got it wrong. We don’t all live on food stamps. We don’t all sit around and are miserable. We all are most definitely not ashamed of being from here!!! That is the last thing some of us are. I was a hospice nurse 20 years and I worked raised my babies as a single mom. My children all work they know that you have to work to have anything. My family wasn’t born tired or allergic to work. I still work to not as a nurse but I counseling and therapy for people. Now also will say this I worked when I was growing up My grandma had a orchard, a farm plenty live stock had gardens and literally fields to work. We also as kids we packed water because we didn’t have running water in the house until I was a teenager and we also packed in coal and wood everyday. My grandma also had 3 good coal seems on her land and if we wanted to hand dig coal and sell it she let us. However you read what I just said We worked for it. I was taught how there’s always a way to make a honest dollar. I was taught about herbs and making medicine digging roots and herbs that was medicine a money. Yeah we worked hard. Yeah we had it hard. Guess what the rest the world needs to live one year down here and then see if they can survive the world We don’t get cell service many places. Most of us don’t care We are busy doing the best we can. My favorite or insult of all is I’m head of the hill holler dumb. You know what I sure am!!! I can also live with or without power with or without running water with or without a phone. I’ll still be alright even if I have to raise everything I eat and use wood and coal to heat and cook with. I can show make blanket, quilts, afghans, and make homemade medicine. I was taught by my grandma mostly cause my parents worked also. We wasn’t raised on food stamps either. It depends on how you want to live or choose to live here. Yes they are alot of poverty and alot of people give up and get on assistance programs. They don’t see how to live like some of the rest Some people give up and let the government take care of them. Some people honestly can’t help it. Some people don’t care and have no shame I was raised better than that I know that we are all not like that too. I will leave the day I walk out and don’t see the beauty of the mountains. That not gonna happen. I don’t an can’t see living anywhere but here. To be from the Appalachian Mountains is one thing. To show your pride of being from here is when you are truly a Mountain person. Oh yeah I almost forgot. My accent is definitely strong I don’t call it Southern I don’t call it broken English We have people here that fight to distance themselves from our accents because they don’t like to be made fun of Well I am not fake!!! I promise you what you see is definitely what u get and to say I’m proud of my Heritage is most definitely an understatement!!!! So this is my experience from one of the poorest parts of the mountains and from a place that only exists to certain people. IM A MOUNTAIN WOMAN THAT CAME FROM A LONG LINE OF STRONG MOUNTAIN WOMAN AND HAVE MORE PRIDE THAN MOST PEOPLE EVER HAVE FELT BEFORE!!!! HAVE A BLESSED DAY

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    April 9, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Tipper, you are already a winner! And you’ve done it by being your own, Appalachian-proud self and quietly educating those who want to learn about our heritage. From living most of my adult life outside the Appalachians I’ve found that many people have skewed perceptions of us. Many of those are looking through distorted lenses, perhaps from watching too many movies about “hillbillies” or movies like “Deliverance,” assuming that all southerners have single-digit IQ’s. Having said that, I sincerely believe that there are more good people out there with open minds and a willingness to learn.
    Wishing you the best of luck in Kentucky. If it were up to me, I would stuff the ballot box with votes for you!

  • Reply
    Frank
    April 8, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Tipper, you’re doing GREAT!! Also, there is good in everyone…in some folks you just have to look a little longer and deeper to find it…!

  • Reply
    Mary Retaleato
    April 8, 2022 at 6:08 pm

    You have done a great job of showing how special Appalachia is! Well done from a Long Island, NY girl – I now want to live there!!

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    April 8, 2022 at 5:09 pm

    I think what you are doing is just wonderful and I wish you the very best and sure hope that you win. You are already a winner to me! I look forward to reading your blog and watching your vlog everyday!

  • Reply
    Tommy
    April 8, 2022 at 4:42 pm

    We in northeast Mississippi consider ourselves in the foothills of the Appalachians, and yes we are proud of that. A few years ago my bride and i got to visit Philadelphia, and on a separate visit NYC. After seeing all the historic sites i wondered, what would we have to show those folks? Since then it has occurred to me; the PEOPLE; the MUSIC; the CULTURE. Lived in the north for several years. Every day i was careful to guard my dialect. Just visit the Appalachians with an open mind – you might be surprised.

  • Reply
    Ron Bass
    April 8, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    I looked at the nominees for best vlogger, without a doubt you deserve to win!!!!!
    Each day when I open my tablet the first sites I go to are devotionals, next is Blind Pig.

  • Reply
    Christine
    April 8, 2022 at 3:25 pm

    You and all your family has made us Appalachia Proud! Thank you for sharing all the history, pride, beauty and fun we all can relate to, one way or another raised and/or living in the Appalachian region.
    Hoping you win that award because you sure do deserve it! If you don’t get their award, they have recognized your talent by nominating you. I’m sure ever reader or YouTube subscriber, would agree with me in saying, you are a “Winner”!

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    April 8, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    Why are you heading to Kentucky? That’s where I was born and where I will die. I’m there as often as I can.

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    April 8, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    I’m very proud of my Appalachian roots. Part of my heart resides In those mountains even though I visit them only rarely. Thank you for helping to keep my connection to Appalachia strong.

  • Reply
    Judy
    April 8, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    Good luck and God speed. You certainly deserve the honor, hope you win. I grew up in a small coal mining town in pa. Took a bath in a big metal galvanized tub of which sits in my home today, went to the out house until I was thirteen. Then we got the inside bathroom. That’s just the way it was, don’t feel any the less for it. I don’t know how I found your page but I really enjoy your stories and even ordered a necklace from chatter or chitter and some some soap just because I wanted to feel a little closer to your Appalachia. Have made you lemon condensed milk pie and put fresh cooked raspberries on top and froze it. I must say the frozen pie is so refreshing. Thanks for enlightening the world about your culture.

  • Reply
    Regina
    April 8, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    Tipper, thank you for everything you do to shine a brighter light on all of us! 🙂 I have felt like for years we were looked down upon in a lot of ways and deemed as ignorant Hillbillies. That couldn’t be more false because the way a lot of us has had to live has made us smarter and stronger. My Daddy was illiterate. He never came right out and said it, but I believe he felt ashamed. What he lacked in “book sense” he more than made up for in other ways. He was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, and some of the most valuable life lessons that I’ve learned were taught to me by him. Some of our core values like honesty, hard work, respect, and love for your fellow man are missing in a lot of “high society” places. And common sense isn’t so common anymore. 🙂 I’m currently reading “The Moonlight School” by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It’s based on a true story about a school that was started years ago here in Kentucky to help teach older people to read. If you get a chance to read it I think you would like it too and Suzanne is a wonderful author. Thanks again for everything you and your family are doing. You’re already a winner, but I hope you win the prize! 🙂

  • Reply
    Gloria Hayes
    April 8, 2022 at 11:24 am

    Even though I live in North Carolina but not near the mountains I grew up in a way that reminds me of Appalachia. I have learned so much and also can relate so much with the people and their ways. Thank you Tipper and wishing you the best of luck! God Bless you and your family!

    • Reply
      Meredith
      April 8, 2022 at 7:29 pm

      Don’t squash the stereotypes! Shhhh! Everyone will try to come here.

  • Reply
    Edwin A Ammons
    April 8, 2022 at 11:08 am

    According to what I read 22% of the households in the UK have an income below the poverty line. Appalachian households average out to 16.3%. Mississippi, which is not considered part of Appalachia, has the highest rate at 18.7%, well below the UK. Do you ever get the feeling that the media are only showing us what they want us to see?
    I have watched many videos pertaining to Youtube and yours is the ONLY one that accurately portrays the life of an average family living here!
    I climbed on your wagon a long time ago because I saw something special that I wanted to be a part of. I have not been disappointed! You are a winner in my book whether or not you bring home a trophy!

  • Reply
    Carol Roy
    April 8, 2022 at 11:01 am

    So proud of you and your work you put in to this Blog I really wish you tons of Good Luck !

  • Reply
    Mary Clutts
    April 8, 2022 at 10:49 am

    I appreciate your writings and your celebration of Appalachia. People who are not from the region and those who do not know folks from the region simply do not understand. In a word they are ignorant. As is the case with any culture, region, religion or difference, one must first be educated. With the wonderful work you are doing Tipper – you are sharing with the world all that is beautiful about Appalachia. The mountains, the food, the stories, the songs, the history and most importantly, the people. Thank you for your work.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    April 8, 2022 at 10:26 am

    Ah, Tipper, you absolutely SHINE! You & your family are such a treasure. I learn so much about my roots & rich mountain heritage. I have the Dorie book , but how I love to hear you read it!

  • Reply
    OkieJammer
    April 8, 2022 at 10:16 am

    Break-a-Leg! Good Luck and know how very proud we all are of YOU and the impact you’ve made, not only for the glorious region of Appalachia, but by touching the hearts and minds of MILLIONS of folks now.

  • Reply
    Jenny Young
    April 8, 2022 at 10:12 am

    It’s interesting how we forget that the vast majority of people are quietly going about their lives doing the right thing….working, feeding their families, helping their communities, ect. But hollywood & the media don’t get ratings from ordinary people I guess? For all the bad & crazy you see there so many more ordinary good people. It looks a little different in the midwest or the deep south or great lakes but we are here.

    • Reply
      Jan
      April 9, 2022 at 7:36 pm

      Hope Grannies plum tree blossoms survive the snow. I live in Yancey and am concerned about my peonies that are sprouting up. Good luck in KY. You do us proud!

  • Reply
    O. P. Holder
    April 8, 2022 at 10:10 am

    Good luck to a deserving person.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 8, 2022 at 9:52 am

    I hope that at some point en route to or returning from the event that you hear or can play an absolutely wonderful Dwight Yoakum song that captures so much of the essence of what makes Appalachia distinctive. The song, of course is “Readin’, Rightin’, and Route 23.” In the lyrics, which he penned (he’s from that part of the world), Yoakum specifically mentions Prestonsburg. He also offers other verbiage that leaves no doubt he is genuine hand has great passion for his people. Phrases like “sweet hillbilly charm” or “pulled up in a holler” ring with authenticity, and his pronunciation of the word heard is the capstone. Like him, albeit in different fashion, you are an ambassador for all that is good and gracious, enduring and endearing, about Appalachia.

  • Reply
    sandra henderson
    April 8, 2022 at 9:14 am

    i agree with miss cindyand the other comments today. i hope you win, but you are a winner in my mind and heart.
    i have read many accounts of how folks who never knew they were poor during the depression in appalachia. at least, the kids and younger ones for sure … they had all they needed. i think folks in cities , areas where there is industry and hustle n bustle, they always want more. chasing something with material things to make them happy. we dont need much and the greatest gift, i think, is the peace of the mountains. the daily life of gardening, putting up, cutting wood, quilting (for me, and im sure others) and my crafts. cooking a good meal and having a community and family.
    thank you for validatinf what ive always felt, and teaching me things i never knew. ive learned so much…
    one day, when you get time, id love to see craft people making baskets or quilts or ax handles or carving or spinning, or whatever they do. if you are so inclined. i have many books of oral histories and photos from by gone days. one favorite is john rice irwin. he started the museum of appalachia in clinton, tn. its now a smithsonian affiliate. i want to go there one day. it began small with his own love of collecting and now its a village type with cabins, etc. a living history museum. anyway, like the song catchers, he was a story catcher.
    another is tim barnwell, the face of appalachia. i think most of his oral histories and wonderful photos are from the 60s n 70s, as things were quickly changing. i can see you doing a book of these sorts… in your spare time. lol as you can see, i have great fatih in your abilities and feel you have been given a mission from God. you are doing a fine job!

    have a safe trip and come back home to us all. im always like the country mouse going to the city. lol i dont go too far and always happy to come home when i do.

  • Reply
    Lewis Kearney
    April 8, 2022 at 9:13 am

    Just keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    Joseph Mazurek
    April 8, 2022 at 9:05 am

    Hope you win.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    April 8, 2022 at 8:58 am

    Tipper, you will feel right at home in Prestonsburg, a little town right down the road from where I grew up. You deserve the award and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you win. I get so mad when the TV producers search out the poorest people in Appalachia to do their stories. They won’t be satisfied until they find a family who drinks Mountain Dew for breakfast and has no teeth. They failed to tell their viewers during one such filming in the 70s and 80s coal mine boom that same town had more millionaires per capita than any place in Kentucky.

  • Reply
    Nina Chastain
    April 8, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Tipper , I enjoy reading all your blogs and we know you make a lot of people’s days more enjoyable by starting out with an enjoyable blog to read . You are the Best Vlogger in our Book and and many thoughts and wishes for a safe trip and hope you win Big Time ! Proud to call you one of Our Friends and Neighbors !

  • Reply
    Charles K. Hof aka Chuck
    April 8, 2022 at 8:57 am

    I was born and raised in California and was sent by the US Coast Guard to North Carolina for school. There I met a couple of boys from Charleston. They had to my ears funny accents and I took that to be the stereo type depicted in movies and film. They turned out to be best of students and totally changed my idea of people from the South.
    I very much enjoy reading your blog and watching your videos. I wish you all the best with you contest.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    April 8, 2022 at 8:52 am

    Tipper, best wishes on winning the best blogger award! We all here know regardless of the outcome, you’re a PROVEN WINNER in all our books!!!! Tipper, all my life people have been surprised by my education, honesty and candor which is only Appalachian. My values are rooted in family, God and culture unique to us. People expect hillbillies to be toothless, uneducated, brutal and inner bred. They’re surprised when the old gal from WV can outthink ‘em, out work ‘em, our shoot ‘em and always end up on the top as opposed to the bottom! Don’t tell me I gotta do anything cause that’s when I will not. I’m used to being outcasted, mocked, laughed at and jeered. Just the other day a dud I went to school with stopped by to tell me how some old gals we went to school with went to a “particular” sort of show in Key West with most unsavory entertainment. I told him I’m not amused. Those “socialites” are as dumb and foolish as the day is long and so was he for mentioning it to me. I also told him when your kids do wrong, remember YOU went and found the devil and even paid him to come home with you and bring that sin into your life! Bet on it! Popular? Probably not and Do I care? Probably not because TRUTH will stand when the world is on fire and it appears to be just that!!!

  • Reply
    Rhonda
    April 8, 2022 at 8:44 am

    People need to stop stereotyping others for what region of earth they live on and for what Hollywood portrays of that area. Photos taken long ago in poor rural areas, people were cautious and not to mention they couldn’t afford or have access to a dentists as we do in todays times so they didn’t smile for pictures as much. Way back in the day (late 1800’s) they had to sit for a long time to have a photo taken so they couldn’t smile because they had to hold it for a long period and again their teeth wasn’t alway nice. Appalachian people were self-sustaining, hard working and loving people. Thank you Tipper, Deer Hunter, Chitter and Chatter for showing that the stereotyping of Appalachian people and the area isn’t what it has been portrayed as for many of decades. Keep up the great work and good luck on the best vlogger award, you deserve it.

  • Reply
    Catherine Spence
    April 8, 2022 at 8:43 am

    After Appalachian State beat Michigan in the football season opener a few years ago, I read a guy’s blog post about how he and his wife traveled to Michigan for the game. They were walking around the farmers’ market there, wearing their Appalachian State shirts, and someone wanted to take their picture because they had never met anyone from Appalachia before. The negative stereotypes persist, unfortunately.

  • Reply
    JC
    April 8, 2022 at 8:33 am

    Tipper, I for one am appreciative of your hard work in preserving our Appalachian/Smoky Mountains heritage. My own family was Cherokee on one side and Scottish on the other and had lived in and around the Qualla boundary. We talk slowly; but the PhDs and other achievements show we aren’t stupid either. We value our neighbors; we try to treat others with kindness and then there is the DCS: Doctorate in Common Sense that most people of the mountains hold in high regard. We aren’t paradise but I think God smiles when we try to be that much kinder and caring.

  • Reply
    John A. Adams
    April 8, 2022 at 8:15 am

    The work that you do is so important. I think it will lead to people getting along better, and probably has already.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    April 8, 2022 at 8:11 am

    You are making a difference. I appreciate all that you do. You have been a blessing to our beloved region and far beyond. May God continue to richly bless you and your family.

  • Reply
    Starr Lawson
    April 8, 2022 at 8:10 am

    Tipper, you are a winner in my book. My family came down from Patrick County Virginia in 1740 and settled in StokesCounty. I was not raised in North Carolina, but I identify with all my aunts, uncles and cousins who still live in the Tar Heel State. Your blog brings me closer to my roots every time I read your out pouring of love, knowledge and good common sense. I particularly like your love of family. God bless you.

  • Reply
    Martha Justice
    April 8, 2022 at 8:03 am

    You’ve already won the award in my heart and I ‘m sure the hearts of many more who wake up every morning looking forward to your posts. Safe travels ❤

  • Reply
    Brad Byers
    April 8, 2022 at 7:57 am

    Have a wonderful trip to Kentucky. I wish I could vote for you!

  • Reply
    GoodGriefLouise ( Bill )
    April 8, 2022 at 7:50 am

    I’m so very thankful I found your Vlog, as well as your YT Channel and The Pressley Girls. It’s just been wonderful to follow you, Matt, Chitter & Chatter and Paul. Along with Granny and Miss Cindy. Can’t wait until the next day to see what new adventures are going on in your world.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    April 8, 2022 at 7:49 am

    Tipper you do a wonderful job! Yes, you’ve already won. Any time you can enjoy what you do for a living it is not a job. You brighten the lives of so many people with the stories you share. Thank you for sharing your life and knowledge. Congratulations!

  • Reply
    Denise R
    April 8, 2022 at 7:41 am

    Hope you win!! But if you don’t, what you are doing is so important for that region of the country. You are changing stereotypes and people need to see the good not the bad. Congratulations on your nomination!!!!!

  • Reply
    Charles
    April 8, 2022 at 7:12 am

    Your whole family has been “Winners” for many years… Thanks for what you do !!!

  • Reply
    AWGRIFF
    April 8, 2022 at 7:02 am

    GOOD LUCK TIPPER!! Br careful and don’t get lost in the big city of Prestonsburg KY. Just kidding of course. Pop. about 3,500. That’s a beautiful drive on north 23 through the mountains.

  • Reply
    Randy
    April 8, 2022 at 6:36 am

    Hope you win, good luck. I enjoy reading your blog each day, it is one of the first things I do. Even though I don’t live in your area I can relate to a lot of things you write about. Me, my family and neighbors live and have done a lot of the same things , especially some of ways of the past.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 8, 2022 at 6:12 am

    Tipper, these mountains are my mother. They have raised and nurtured me. They are home to me. I love the wonderful job you’ve done with the Blind Pig. You have shined a new life on us, a light that speaks the truth. We are an interesting and determined people, without that determination we would not have survived the tough times.
    I am so proud of you and your work, and I think you are already the Top Blogger!

    • Reply
      sandra henderson
      April 8, 2022 at 9:12 am

      i agree with miss cindyand the other comments today. i hope you win, but you are a winner in my mind and heart.
      i have read many accounts of how folks who never knew they were poor during the depression in appalachia. at least, the kids and younger ones for sure … they had all they needed. i think folks in cities , areas where there is industry and hustle n bustle, they always want more. chasing something with material things to make them happy. we dont need much and the greatest gift, i think, is the peace of the mountains. the daily life of gardening, putting up, cutting wood, quilting (for me, and im sure others) and my crafts. cooking a good meal and having a community and family.
      thank you for validatinf what ive always felt, and teaching me things i never knew. ive learned so much…
      one day, when you get time, id love to see craft people making baskets or quilts or ax handles or carving or spinning, or whatever they do. if you are so inclined. i have many books of oral histories and photos from by gone days. one favorite is john rice irwin. he started the museum of appalachia in clinton, tn. its now a smithsonian affiliate. i want to go there one day. it began small with his own love of collecting and now its a village type with cabins, etc. a living history museum. anyway, like the song catchers, he was a story catcher.
      another is tim barnwell, the face of appalachia. i think most of his oral histories and wonderful photos are from the 60s n 70s, as things were quickly changing. i can see you doing a book of these sorts… in your spare time. lol as you can see, i have great fatih in your abilities and feel you have been given a mission from God. you are doing a fine job!

      have a safe trip and come back home to us all. im always like the country mouse going to the city. lol i dont go too far and always happy to come home when i do.

    • Reply
      Cheryl Miller Brown
      April 8, 2022 at 11:12 am

      Tipper, fingers crossed that you win, but if you don’t please know you are a winner to all of us folks who enjoy your blogs. I know you have been a bright spot for me during this pandemic—not only for sharing great information, but relating so well with people
      that we soon claim you as family. I live in Northern Mississippi & I am very familiar with a lot of your vocabulary. Your sweet, soothing voice, along with your great information, simply makes my morning (along with a mug of coffee). Have a safe trip!

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    April 8, 2022 at 6:11 am

    Everyday I look forward to your lessons, and I call them that, to how your area is as I used to live in North Georgia not that far away from you. Never knew that hostas could be eaten and what they taste like. Will for sure try them. You are opening a door to the people, traditions, speech and a whole lot more. Can’t wait for today’s chapter about Dorie. Thanks for all you do.

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