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Un-White: Appalachia, Race, and Film by Meredith McCarroll

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This is not at all a book about Blacks, or other racial minorities, in Appalachia. Instead it is a book about stereotypes of Appalachians, in the context of racial stereotypes, particularly in films. As Meredith McCarroll, the author, states in her Introduction, “There is now, in your hands, a book about the stereotypes used to represent Appalachia in Hollywood because, as the mainstream culture industry has shown with African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans, it believes that it knows well enough how to portray these types.”  Her chapters are, “Hillbilly as American Indian,” “Appalachian Woman as Mammy,” “Mountain Migrant as Mexican Migrant,” and “Appalachian Documentary,” with an “Appendix: Appalachian Types in Cinema.”  In her Introduction, McCarroll is explicit “that white privilege pervades even in situations of white poverty,” and that she resists “the notion that [similar stereotypes] make Appalachians similar to those who have been systematically and legally oppressed because of race.” Hopefully, those who continue to read the book will keep that in mind. The danger is that some will conclude that mountain people are just as oppressed as people of color or, worse, that it is racism that makes mountain people so resentful of sharing stereotypes with people of color. Meredith McCarroll grew up in the North Carolina mountains and, after several years at Clemson, she now teaches at Bowdoin College in Maine.

Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2018. 159 pages with an Index, References, and Notes. Trade paperback