Squalor Appalachian People Publication
Poor, illiterate, and dirty. These are few, of many, words that come to mind when someone says "Appalachians." These cliché stereotypes have followed Appalachian people for centuries yet shaking those won’t come any time soon. Here the question arises, "Isn't squalor a negative term?" The answer is yes. Squalor is the combination of poor, illiterate, and dirty. None of which are a part of an Appalachian’s identity. "Why Squalor?"(adjective) In other communities we've seen terms associated with a negative connotation directed from an outsider, then turn to an endearing term within the community it was once used against. This is an act of semantic shift, or amelioration. Taking a word used to degrade and belittle Appalachian's, now to uplift and evoke new and creative thinking. It's not owning our stereotypes but instead redefining them. An artist, writer, photographer, coal miner, or even grocery store clerk is a Squalor (noun). It's someone who takes pride in their Appalachian community, culture, way of life, and chooses to educate themselves and others around them about it. This is their platform.