Stereotypes. Blondes are dumb. Americans are rich. West Virginians are rednecks. Oh boy, do I hear that last one a lot! I’m from Ohio, but I now live in West Virginia. West Virginia is known for it’s rolling hills and breathtaking natural beauty. But sadly, it’s also know for hillbillies. A few years back, I went to a professional teaching conference in Virginia. Other professionals, people with master’s degrees and PhDs, would ask me where I was teaching. When I told them West Virginia, I actually had people respond with, “But you’re wearing shoes!” or “But you have all your teeth.” Wow! Really? Others from further away said, “Oh, what city in western Virginia?” There literally exists United States citizens who don’t know that West Virginia is a separate state. Hello! Civil War. 1863.
And now MTV is further perpetuating the stereotype with their new show Buckwild. Buckwild follows some young adults in Sissionville, WV, which is actually about an hour away from where I live.
The commercials advertising this show make me cringe. They make Joe Manchin, the WV senator, upset as well. He said, “This show plays to the ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia.” It seems like it’s MTV’s specialty to target a group of people and milk the stereotypes about them- i.e. Jersey Shore. Hopefully America will recognize that not all West Virginians are like the ones in this show, just like any intelligent person understands that all Italian Americans aren’t like Snookie or Pauly D. And hopefully people will stop asking me which part of western Virginia I live in!
The first episode airs January 3rd at 10 p.m.