Everyone is aware of stereotypes; they are constantly and unconsciously running through your head. Stereotypes are so widespread and farfetched that they rarely make sense. Let me tell you how I know.
I’m from West Virginia and very proud of it. My heart and soul will forever belong to the mountains. However, I get so sick of hearing comments like: “you’re from West Virginia?! Where’s your accent?” “But wait, you’re wearing shoes?” “No way, you don’t look like you are from West Virginia!” There is always some type of chuckle or smirk that follows after comments like those. It never fails, ever.
First of all, not everyone from a different place than you has an accent. I’m from north central WV, so there’s no reason for me to have an accent. My hometown is just a town like Radford. I don’t have an accent, unless you’re from a different country or Ohio. I talk just like everyone else from Virginia except for those from Carroll County (they’re just different altogether). So no, being from WV doesn’t require an accent.
Yes, I wear shoes all the time — unless I’m in a house, on a beach, or any other place where shoes aren’t required. I actually love shoes. Let’s feed into a stereotype for a second; my favorite pair would probably be my cowboy boots — and yes, they are legitimate boots. Not only do I wear shoes, but everyone in my family wears shoes. I have never seen anyone walk around in a public place at home without shoes, so that’s not even a funny stereotype. You just sound ridiculously uneducated saying that.
No, we don’t wear overalls on a regular basis, make moonshine in our basements or burn couches every night. Although there may be a small percentage of people who do those three things, they would be the minority. Don’t we live in a place where majority rules? I thought so.
How do you “look” like the place you come from? I get so confused when people say I don’t look like I’m from WV. How is that possible? I mean, I don’t look like mountains, a river, or a 12-point buck so I’m not sure how that question is even relevant. That’s like me asking you where you are from, hearing “Virginia” and expecting you to look like the “Virginia is for Lovers” sign or a beach.
I may not be from the 757 or NOVA, but I’m proud of where I am from and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Next time, think about how ridiculous you sound asking questions or making statements like that. Stereotypes can be fun sometimes — just don’t make yourself sound (to put it nicely) senseless.