Monday, July 11, 2011

The Wild & Wonderful Whites.....

I'm going to be honest- this is going to be a really long and a really weird blog post. Brace yourself!

So, Drew's girlfriend, Ashton, was telling me about this show/documentary/movie that they watched on HBO called The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.

Wikipedia describes it in a nutshell as:
The documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009) directed by Julien Nitzberg and produced by Johnny Knoxville follows the White Family for one year and primarily consists of first person interviews detailing the poverty, crime, addiction and the ramifications of the coal-mining industry on Appalachian society.
 Okay, so the fact that Johnny Knoxville took an interest in this family should have been the second thing to warn me {Ashton being the first} but "the ramifications of the coal-mining industry on Appalachian society" meant nothing to me really, other than, of course you figure being secluded for generations can do crazy things in the minds of coal miners and their families.  I seriously had no idea.

The movie was basically a family full of "outlaws" or "rebels", whatever you want to call them- Hillbillys with no moral code and Disability checks to pay for their drug habits is basically what it is.  I could not believe the way some people think- or, how much they don't think.  It seriously is a crazy documentary. Don't believe me? Here's the trailer:

Okay, so, you get the idea now...

These people are FOR. REAL. To the killing people and the grandma covering it up, to the baby being taken by Child Protective Services for being born addicted to drugs, to doing drugs at the grandma's birthday party with the little kid in the room, to having one family member shoot the face off of another. I mean this family is certifiably CRAZY.

With that being said, this sparked a conversation today between a "co-worker" {Ashley from my internship} and myself about....people such as this {for lack of better words.}We were talking about how some people are raised like this from day one and simply do not know any better. Some people don't have any chance in the world. Some people don't have an opportunity for an education or for a way out. Some people live their whole entire lives surrounding in some horribleness and never know anything better. The generations continue and the cycle never ends. That is a cryin' shame, I tell you, but it's the truth!

AND- as I watched this, it pulled at my heartstrings. For instance, the baby born with drugs in its system. That baby was beautiful! It was sitting there in the hospital bassinet with a pretty little pink bow in her hair. And what does the mom do? Crushes some pills and snorts them right there in the hospital room! This was right after she was talking about how she wanted better for her child...she wanted her child to have hopes and dreams, and to make something of herself, have an education, the whole nine yards. I was thinking- How would that baby ever have a chance with you acting like that as her mother?!  I didn't see CPS coming, because there's all kinds of kids in this crazy family, but I'm sure glad they did! There was no way in the world that baby was going to be cared for the way it should be with its mother acting the way she was.

I really DON'T know where I'm going with this...because I could go on a rant about drug abuse, the social security system, cultural sensitivity, it all. But I won't. Unless you just want me to. ;)

But, my point is...this stuff exists. People like this exist. And they aren't only in West Virginia in the Appalachian mountains either. I bet they're in Lincoln County- people acting like this, maybe not as drastic, but maybe. We never know. Drugs fry your brain and make people do THE stupidest stuff- and I think this is a great example. It's also a great example of how poverty and a family's culture can literally hold a person back from obtaining their full potential.

I don't know what I'd do if someone from the White family came into an agency where I worked and was court-ordered to receive mental health services. Holy moley! I'd sure be praying a lot, that's for sure! And if I'm ever a school counselor, I hope that my radar goes off and I notice a child in need- who may not have opportunities, support, resources, love, a good influence, MEDICATION, whatever it is they need to succeed, and latch onto them and do what I can to help them help themselves.

Okay, I think I can hop off my soap box now. :)


  1. Great post, Nicole! Now you can fully understand why I chose to go into public health. Just because I'm socially liberal and culturally sensitive does not mean that I condone this type of lifestyle. I want to create awareness programs to break these cycles without stripping populations of their cultural identity, which I believe to be irreplaceable. To me, Appalachian culture is beautiful, mysterious, and iconic; therefore, I'd hate to see it become deluded with images of drug use, child abuse, and families rife with mental illness.

  2. Hey girl! Scott doesn't do biggest looser, its only for the girls! haha! :)


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