Thanks for the thoughtful response Michael,
I agree with everything you’re saying and enjoy the examples.
What I was getting at is illustrated by your example of the black kid who wasn’t a cowboy. You had an idea/stereotype in mind and, as a thoughtful person, you revised it when presented with new information. Hopefully most people encountering real Appalachian culture do the same thing.
The mountainous challenge you face is: Many people find the mythical Hatfield/McCoy and ‘Deliverance’ side of Appalachia much more compelling than the truth. Then, you drive through Morgantown, WV and see little futuristic pods going up and down the hill —What? Why don’t we have that in Duluth?
I guess, if you had to choose, it’s better if the expectations of the stereotype are low. Imagine what the Native Americans face. The impossibly high expectations of the ‘Dances with Wolves’ image and the challenges of life on the typical reservation are in stark contrast.
Again, appreciate the discussion and look forward to future posts.