Letter writer: Stereotyping WNC newcomers is insulting

Graphic by Lori Deaton

What is the writer’s [“Newcomers Fail to Respect WNC Natives,” Nov. 4, Xpress] definition of a “newcomer”? I have lived most gratefully in Asheville for nearly 20 years and appreciated and respected the indigenous culture and traditions of this unique part of our country.

To paint all people not native to this area with the proverbial broad brush is insulting and narrow-minded. Is this unfair and biased opinion based upon a few encounters with people new to Western North Carolina?

Although an uncommonly high percentage of natives I have met do indeed exhibit the character traits that make the quality of life here enviable, sadly, I have also experienced meanness and hostility interacting with “natives” at times.

As evident, the writer is from Swannanoa. I would advise her to consider all the good the newcomers at Warren Wilson contribute to our community.

To conclude, during my 20 years here I have volunteered at local schools, taught at Haywood Community College, have made many close friends — old-timers and new-timers — and have tried to be of service to my fellow humans.

By the way, when considering the role of unions, particularly related to teaching, I was able to retire here at age 55 because my union made sure I was treated and rewarded as a professional. Perhaps if our educators were treated as such, we would not see signs and bumper stickers reading: North Carolina First in Teacher Flight.

If the writer of aforementioned article would do me the honor breaking bread with me, perhaps she will have a change of heart and I might acquire a new friend.

— Ed Wolfsohn
Asheville

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6 thoughts on “Letter writer: Stereotyping WNC newcomers is insulting

  1. NFB

    “Is this unfair and biased opinion based upon a few encounters with people new to Western North Carolina?”

    Probably. This may not be fair but the fact is that such encounters can leave a long lasting negative impression.

    Examples: I have heard many a reference to natives of WNC being referred to as “Deliverance extras” or some other allusion to that mean spirited movie. Not long ago I heard someone say about “Shindig on the Green” — a long standing local institution (“Banjo music! Paddle faster!”) As a native of WNC myself I am often greeted with great surprise and even disbelief when newcomers find out this about me, frequently with comments like “but you are so educated” and “but you don’t talk like you’re from around here” as if 1) natives are all supposed to talk like Jed Clampett and 2) as if there is something wrong with speaking like Jed Clampett.

    Then there are the comments like “you’re a native? I’ve never met a native before” which more than suggests the very, very limited circle in which these newcomers travel in. I could go on.

    In no way do I suggest that the letter writer has even made any comments like this or has a negative or stereotypical view of WNC natives, but he should realize that not all newcomers have as an open minded view of the people here before them nor of “the indigenous culture and traditions of this unique part of our country.”

  2. Another victim of the “Teacher Exodus” propaganda. Maybe this writer should do more homework and less reading of bumper stickers.

    Money Can’t Buy Teachers’ Love
    If you watch the evening news broadcasts or read the local paper, you have been told that more educators than ever are leaving North Carolina to teach elsewhere because the N.C. General Assembly “slashed” public school funding. Most of these stories, however, omit key facts and research findings that would otherwise undermine their ideologically motivated tales of woe..
    http://bit.ly/1MTzfmP

    Full of Sound and Fury
    Remember the collective gnashing of teeth from liberal advocacy groups a few months back bemoaning the mass exodus of teachers this year from North Carolina’s public schools? Turns out that it wasn’t true..
    http://nchouse117.com/full-of-sound-and-fury/

    Teacher Turnover Rate Goes…Down
    Yes, you read that correctly. Despite all the ideological rhetoric of the campaign season — including the claim that Republicans cut $500 million from education last year (funding actually increased by $300 million) or that election reforms would suppress voter turnout (turnout actually increased from the last mid-term election) — regarding a supposed mass exodus of teachers from North Carolina, it would seem the opposite is in fact true: teacher turnover was down last year.
    http://nchouse117.com/teacher-turnover-rate-goes-down/

    Upgrading Data Collection at DPI
    There’s been a lot of speculation about why public school teachers leave their current positions, and that speculation is usually the source of a lot of rancorous political spin in social media, on blogs, and in the press — especially around election time. Teacher “turnover” data is often used by partisans on the left to give weight to their deeper political agenda: defeating anyone with an “R” next to his or her name. Alarm bells sound from well-funded non-partisan left-wing think tanks, which are then quoted in stories the mainstream media, which are then cited in campaign mailers. “The data proves teachers are leaving because they are underpaid and under-appreciated!” goes the mantra. “Further proof that Republicans are anti-education!”
    http://nchouse117.com/upgrading-data-collection-at-dpi/

  3. The Real World

    “Is this unfair and biased opinion based upon a few encounters with people new to Western North Carolina?”

    NO, Ed! Good grief, we really do need to seriously worry about the mental capacity of Americans. Can’t anyone follow a straight line? Or, is it that we’re back to the ‘comprehension issue’ again. Sigh……there are letters or comments regularly on Mtn X that are off on some tangent only slightly related to the source content. (NFB, you should know better since you read this website regularly)

    Here people, let’s get straight about this:
    The original Commentary article in which Prof Ready is identifying 3 GROUPS related to the title of his piece — “Overall, the critics can be divided into three groups: the transplants who didn’t, some surrounding mountain neighbors and the conservative sanctorum in Raleigh.” And he provides a representation of the views of some in each group. https://mountainx.com/opinion/anywhere-but-asheville

    Next is the letter from Janet Burhoe-Jones in which she decided to (rather narcissistically) ignore 2 of the groups and focus only on the one that most reflected herself. She totally didn’t understand the entirety of the article. http://mountainx.com/opinion/letter-writer-most-newcomers-fail-to-respect-or-appreciate-wnc-natives/ Which resulted in plenty of off-target comments from people who decided not to read the original article, even though a link to it was provided.

    Now we have poor Ed, who couldn’t (or didn’t want to) follow a straight line either. It’s a regular Barnum and Bailey around here!

  4. Lulz

    LOL. because of government unions, he continues to live off the taxpayer lulz. LOL, they got to retire at 55 in Greece too. Ask then how they’re doing these days lulz. He is part of the problem.

  5. Solutionist

    why do liberals always falsify the facts about NC education and teacher retention ? why are they so ignorant ?

  6. Big Al

    Some WNC newcomers, specifically the hipsters who move to Asheville, INVITE criticism and ridicule. They move to a place to be near beer, art and music without exploring the jobs or housing, both of which are lacking. Then, instead of leaving, they stay and constantly complain about both and how the government should do something (as if). They also invite their hipster friends to move here and join them in their dysfunctional, hypocritical misery. And endless, foolish cycle.

    Why shouldn’t they be made fun of?

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