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Old 04-24-2010, 10:19 PM
 
32 posts, read 21,542 times
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I was asked to report back about my 6000-mile round trip journey from the West Coast to visit Kingsport. Deleted Suffice it to say, the people of Kingsport need to know that to an outsider, it seems that the gates to their fine city are closed and locked by a few at the top of the hierarchy, thus preventing new and innovative ideas from passing through them. Censorship is alive and well in Kingsport. This has a chilling effect.

I can say this about Kingsport: The Allendale Mansion is beautiful and the staff there was very friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the area. While I did not get to provide information to the citizens of Kingsport about an innovative way to improve education as envisioned by my late author friend, I had a great time meeting and visiting with the staff. That alone, was worth the money, time, and effort I put into this endeavor. True "Southern" Hospitality (that I have read about and seen on these discussion forums) – I know it’s there in Kingsport (behind the gates).

All I am interested in doing is what my author friend DIED trying to do (far too young, I might add; he was only 58 years old) – and that is, to make the world a better place for some of our most suffering citizens, such as the Appalachian children in your neighborhoods who keep falling through the cracks of the “American” education system.

But everything is just fine in Kingsport. Right?

Deleted

Last edited by Beretta; 04-25-2010 at 06:32 AM.. Reason: to comply with TOS :)
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:04 AM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 19,576,358 times
Reputation: 2761
Hi Gloria,
Sounds like part of your trip you enjoyed. You said the people at Allindale were friendly and liked to share the history with you. There are lots of people in the Tri-Cities region that would love to share their history about the area with about any one who will listen. People here are friendly. However I have seen something similar to what you experienced (or what I gathered you did from a short post) by others that while here on a quest to change the "poor Appalachian people", they feel they failed in their quest. Here is my thought on why and I will give you an analogy. If you walk into a store for the first time that has been in business for lets say 20 years or so, the shelves are old, the product they are selling can be found in many places, the decor is very dated. You, with a helpful heart and with only the best of intentions begin to tell the owner how they can change their business to be better and more competitive in the market place. When the owner says thank you for your idea, but doesn't take them, you somehow feel like you failed. Did you really though? No. You just failed to realize that if the owner of that store wants to change, they are going to ask advice of those who are regulars in the store, people he knows and trusts. If you really think about it, would you really expect him or anyone to change what they are doing on the unsolicited advice of a stranger? Now I am not sure of your goals while visiting Kingsport and you seem to have a heavy heart about your friend you have lost, my sincerest sympathies for that loss, but please don't feel like you failed and please don't view and assume an entire city on the one basis that they did not listen and change their ways because you voiced that they should on your first visit. That is just the human element of it all. The fact that kids fall through the cracks of education in America is not limited to the Appalachian region, it is limited to the American education system, which means everywhere. I do admire your passion for wanting to help educate kids. It is admirable. Maybe you can volunteer to be a mentor? Helping one child learn, anywhere, helps hundreds of people by them passing on what you taught them to others. It just doesn't happen over night, but it does happen.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:39 AM
 
Location: somewhere over the rainbow Ohio
2,017 posts, read 4,948,110 times
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I really don't know what your agenda was Gloria or what you hoped to achieve with one short visit? I don't think anywhere in the US, anyone would take kindly to being told what "they should do"by someone coming to their region or town and wanting to to do good by changing things because that one person feels a need that it should be changed.
I doubt that it is the people higher up in hierarchy of Kingsport that are closed minded but rather a flaw in your approach. Just from your post, I'm assuming that you or your ideas weren't received with open arms?So you condemn them to not being open to innovative ideas? If your visit involved education and the need to overhaul a system, well why do you or anyone think one person can blow into a town, tell everyone what their problems and weaknesses are, slap a band aid on the problem and walk away with a smug feeling of fixing things? Sounds to me like if change is what is really at the core here, one would stay and work at implementing the changes over the long haul. A speakers ego does not qualify them as an expert, nor does spouting a dead friends cause. It sounds to me as if you Gloria need to examine what your agenda is? Also look at how much time you are willing to give as well as sweat to implement those changes? Think of any crusades of the past. Women's rights jumps to mind, implementing those changes in attitude took years and hard work and devotion to many who believed in that cause. There wasn't one important article in Cosmo or one rally where anyone can point a finger and say that is where the tide turned. It took time, years in fact. So I fail to see where you get off thinking that because you came to Kingsport and met a wall so to speak, that it is the people of Kingsport's fault and you feel justified in posting on here that they are close minded.
No wonder you weren't taken seriously.
Pam
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:41 AM
 
32 posts, read 21,542 times
Reputation: 12
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Deleted

Thank you for your reply. Your statements have elements of truth, but they are also based on common misconceptions. First, you assume that I am coming in telling people what to do. This is not true. The whole point is to first raise the question as to whether people want to do something about the state of learning in TN. Maybe people do not want to change, but they are not being allowed to voice that. If you cannot even get past the holy ministers and pastors, past the school administrators, and past the media moguls, then how can one even raise the question? The pathways to solutions to the educational issues I raise are not devised by an “outsider” as you have portrayed – but rather, by someone who was born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains and in Kingsport when he turned 11 (who repeatedly reminds people throughout his books that he was a “hillbilly”) and who knew and lived the problems of the region. I believe that the people of Kingsport will find his work interesting and relevant.

A second misconception that concerns me is that of “blaming the victim.” This reminds me of a segment with Bill O’Reilly on FOX News. Please view it here, to see what I am referring to.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLkc6LJmtNs While, at the end he seems to support the ideas presented in a very brief statement, all through the segment he reiterates the misconceptions people have and hang onto about victims of poverty.

Do you truly believe that people living in abject poverty want to stay that way? If they had an opportunity to change things for themselves – a fair opportunity and a way in which they have power, control, and choices over how they make those changes – do you believe that they would not do so? The deck is stacked against them, but there are ways to restack that deck. Of course, they do not want people to come in and tell them what to do. That is not the point. But if they cannot even get information, how can they decide for themselves? I might ask the question, if the information I was bringing in was censored, what other information is being censored? Does that not concern all of the people of Kingsport?

And let me remind you, I did not come to Kingsport to sell or change anything. It was a celebration, an inquiry, and the presentation of information about an author’s work for those who might be interested. I am asking questions that people at the top do not want asked and presenting information they do not want brought to the people, apparently, or they would not have gone out of their way to make sure I was not able to accomplish my goals.

It was rather disconcerting as a first-time visitor to the region to see the stark contrast between the large mansions, homes, and churches occupying the tops of rolling, green hillsides that look down on the trailer houses below at people who live in abject poverty. And I wonder how those people at the tops of the hills can justify to themselves that everything is just fine and, thus, they can censor new and innovative knowledge that might improve things for others.

Teachers Need to be able to TEACH
During my visit, I was able to learn that at least some teachers in Kingston, like everywhere, would like to be able to TEACH and they are not allowed to. They are, just as this author presents in his work, too often mere “deliverers” of out-of-context bits of information that do not constitute a relevant, meaningful education. They are not allowed to teach anything outside the standards, which is only comprised of testable information. In other words, they are not allowed to be creative, thinking teachers who can adjust the curriculum to meet the needs and interests of their learners. More and more children are being left behind as a result. Imaginative, creative and caring teachers are leaving their careers (or being fired). Yes, this is happening all over the country and it is a travesty. But this author, who happens to provide some very good and powerful ways for people to find their own solutions to these issues was raised in Kingsport, and Tennessee happens to be the worst performing state, academically, in the nation, and people everywhere should have free access to knowledge (again everything I was providing was free and there was no promotion or selling of anything).

Kingsport may be doing fine; I cannot judge that – only the people there can. And I do not judge the people in Kingsport by what those at the top controlling the show do. Not at all. I plan to return to Kingsport next year – and next time I hope I can meet more people and listen to more of those interesting stories and learn more about Kingsport, the people, and its history. I will be coming in through the back door, next time, though, to avoid the locked gates being slammed in my face.

One more thing, for the second poster, (Pam & Bill). You are right about Rome not being built in a day.

Last edited by Beretta; 04-25-2010 at 07:23 PM.. Reason: to comply with the TOS
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Arizona
419 posts, read 686,518 times
Reputation: 862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pam& Bill View Post
I really don't know what your agenda was Gloria or what you hoped to achieve with one short visit? I don't think anywhere in the US, anyone would take kindly to being told what "they should do"by someone coming to their region or town and wanting to to do good by changing things because that one person feels a need that it should be changed.
I doubt that it is the people higher up in hierarchy of Kingsport that are closed minded but rather a flaw in your approach. Just from your post, I'm assuming that you or your ideas weren't received with open arms?So you condemn them to not being open to innovative ideas? If your visit involved education and the need to overhaul a system, well why do you or anyone think one person can blow into a town, tell everyone what their problems and weaknesses are, slap a band aid on the problem and walk away with a smug feeling of fixing things? Sounds to me like if change is what is really at the core here, one would stay and work at implementing the changes over the long haul. A speakers ego does not qualify them as an expert, nor does spouting a dead friends cause. It sounds to me as if you Gloria need to examine what your agenda is? Also look at how much time you are willing to give as well as sweat to implement those changes? Think of any crusades of the past. Women's rights jumps to mind, implementing those changes in attitude took years and hard work and devotion to many who believed in that cause. There wasn't one important article in Cosmo or one rally where anyone can point a finger and say that is where the tide turned. It took time, years in fact. So I fail to see where you get off thinking that because you came to Kingsport and met a wall so to speak, that it is the people of Kingsport's fault and you feel justified in posting on here that they are close minded.
No wonder you weren't taken seriously.
Pam
I agree. GloriaGrace, I do not know what state you are from on the West Coast, but you must know that people from California have for years flooded into states such as; Oregon, Washington, and more recently Nevada & Arizona hoping to change things to their liking. Needless to say, none of these states like "Californians". In fact, many are very resentful of the intrusion and would like nothing better than to see them go home.

I don't think there is an area in the Country that would appreciate outsiders breezing into town with ambitious goals of immediately changing things. It will never work.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
218 posts, read 358,905 times
Reputation: 175
Well, well, well ... another outsider coming to the rescue of the "poor Appalachian people". Let me say this. The post by Pam and Bill and mb mouse summed up well the general feelings, however, I am compelled to put in my 'two-cents" worth. I left this beautful area for greener pastures following college. With a Social Work degree in hand, I headed west to make my mark and make a difference. That was in 1976. I have lived all over the Mid-west and Southwest and then headed to the deep south where I lived until 1991 when I came home, with a little girl in tow and no job. My career is almost over and that little girl is grown, however, one thing has remained constant - this beautiful area with friendly people who are willing to help their own- no where have I felt more welcome than here. For some folks, it may take a little longer for them to warm up - but as I have traveled throught the areas working with the true disavantaged, I can answer this. Some of the happiest people I know, don't live in big houses with a big bank acount. they own a little plot of land and send their kids to public schools. They may draw "a check" because they were injured doing a job no one else wanted to do - but they did work. Richard Blaustein, a New Yorker, came to ETSU in the early 1970's to teach Sociology and has written several books on the Appalachian people. He has studied our ways, learned our music and chronicled our lives in stories and song. Richard didn't find the gates closed, nor did he come thru the back door...... He loved ...didn't condemn and didn't try to change. The misconception of the "poor" Appalachian people is that we don't wear shoes, speak poorly and are dumb and lazy. We are not the Beverly Hillbillies.

Gloria: Did you by chance get to the Exchange Place? There you can see how people in Kingsport and the surrounding areas really lived. Hard working, religious and fearless. I do not know who your fiend is who has written about Kinsport, but I do know several who have written about this area.

If we are so closed - then why the heck are so many people wanting to move here. I rarely see anyone who is a native anymore. Most are transplants who love it here and have embraced our ways.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:40 AM
 
32 posts, read 21,542 times
Reputation: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCBaker View Post
I agree. GloriaGrace, I do not know what state you are from on the West Coast, but you must know that people from California have for years flooded into states such as; Oregon, Washington, and more recently Nevada & Arizona hoping to change things to their liking. Needless to say, none of these states like "Californians". In fact, many are very resentful of the intrusion and would like nothing better than to see them go home.

I don't think there is an area in the Country that would appreciate outsiders breezing into town with ambitious goals of immediately changing things. It will never work.
Please read my posts. Clearly, you are not understanding the fact that I was merely presenting the works of an author from Kingsport and the Appalachian Mountains. He is no longer living, so he is not able to present his work, himself. I do not get royalites off his books.

I am from Oregon and I have seen nothing but positive effects from my neighbors from California moving in. We have developed technologically in ways that would not have happened otherwise and there is much innovation in many parts of Oregon. Maybe some people feel the way you have represented and resent Californians, I don't know. I assume that the perspectives range on all points of the spectrum.
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:21 AM
 
32 posts, read 21,542 times
Reputation: 12
[quote=HomegrowninTN;13894813]Well, well, well ... another outsider coming to the rescue of the "poor Appalachian people". [quote]

You are misrepresenting what I have stated on these boards. I did not come to rescue the "poor Appalachian people" in Kingsport. However, clearly, there are poor Appalachian people who might wish for more opportunities than they are getting. The conditions, as I saw for myself during my travels and have described previously speak to that.

Also, please do not misconstrue the fact that I was specifically referring to the closed gates by a FEW people at the TOP of the food chain who apparently have the power to censor what those below them can do for fun and entertainment (including this very discussion forum, which deleted my posting, claiming it was advertising, which it was not) -- please note that this has nothing negative to say about the great people of Kingsport. What I am saying is that the institutions we rely on for education -- our churches, our schools, our media -- are failing us because a few people at the top of these institutions make the decision to screen and censor information to the people. Do we want a few to screen and censor for the majority?

Here is my mistake. I really wanted to reach the people of Kingsport. I, myself, have been poor all of my life. I continue to further my education (I am a student, working on my PhD in Education, going further in debt each day in order to try to improve my situation -- I only point this out to highlight the fact that I am working with limited funds and in fact, because I was working last year I had a tax refund this year which funded my trip). My funds are VERY limited, so I made contact with every church (more than 200 churches), every school, and with the media rather than spending the funds to reach the people individually -- and unfortunately, it appears that these very institutions only seved to stifle, delete, and censor any information I tried to get to the people. In other words, the people of Kingsport never got the information or the invitations, for the most part, from what I can tell.

It amazes me how quickly people become defensive when I am not even referring to them. Why are people so defensive? Nowhere in these posts have I expressed that it is the people of Kingsport who had a problem with my having a celebration and presenting information about this author who was born and raised there. I am sure there are people in Kingsport who would have enjoyed the celebration and learning about this author who was born and raised in the Appalachians, who was a genius, and who had some ingenious ideas for improving not only education, but everyday living.

Why is everyone responding to these posts so defensive? I am not coming here like I have all of the answers, because I don't. Only the people of Kingsport have the answers for the people of Kingsport. One thing I can observe though, is that as long as people are defensive, they are playing right into the hands of the rich, powerful people at the top. They have us where they want us, so to speak. Keep us all divided. Do we want to stay divided? Are the people who have posted so far really representing the views of all of the citizens of Kingsport? Somehow, I do not think so.

Last edited by GloriaGrace; 04-25-2010 at 11:29 AM..
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Arizona
419 posts, read 686,518 times
Reputation: 862
Quote:
Originally Posted by GloriaGrace View Post
Please read my posts. Clearly, you are not understanding the fact that I was merely presenting the works of an author from Kingsport and the Appalachian Mountains. He is no longer living, so he is not able to present his work, himself. I do not get royalites off his books.

I am from Oregon and I have seen nothing but positive effects from my neighbors from California moving in. We have developed technologically in ways that would not have happened otherwise and there is much innovation in many parts of Oregon. Maybe some people feel the way you have represented and resent Californians, I don't know. I assume that the perspectives range on all points of the spectrum.
I have read your posts clearly. You are miffed because people did not embrace the good works of your deceased friend. Whether you implement change or the people do, you want to see change. Or did I read your posts wrong?

You were disturbed because you saw mansions & trailers. Do you think all people should live in mansions, or do you think they should all live in trailers? Did you interview people living in trailers? It could be, they are quite happy living in their trailer homes. I do not live in a mansion or trailer home, but live in a small condo that I can comfortably afford. I am very content and do not worry about the people living in mansions. Good for them and good for me. I am sure most people living in trailer homes
could care less about the people & their mansions.

I am glad you like your California neighbor. It is always good to like your neighbors. There have 100's of articles written over the past 2 or 3 decades on the subject of States disliking Californians moving in. If interested, here is just one written in 2001.
Power-Sharing Fuels Resentment in the Northwest - Los Angeles Times
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:58 AM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
22,573 posts, read 49,146,839 times
Reputation: 13470
I am probably going to come off as rude, and I truly don't mean to.

I'm a New Englander that has happily lived in Knoxville for five years. The good people of East Tennessee have transformed my life and my husband and daughters. I can sound a bit brash but the people around here loved me anyway.

I can also say that I was a newspaper reporter for ten years. I am not an idiot. I worked in the school systems in Massachusetts for years and raised three children there. I also lived in Florida and found the Lee County school system to be terrible.

I brought my youngest child to East Tennessee because the school system was so good and the area was excellent for raising children.

So here it comes - and once again, my apologies in advance - but if you are bringing help for the local educational system you might want to brush up on your reading comprehension because I read the link you supplied and TN is not dead last. You clearly state that it is yet that is not the case, according to your link. So immediately, I am wondering why you wrote that. http://www.alec.org/am/pdf/education/2008_report_card/tenn08.pdf (broken link)

So, lets get right down to it, shall we? Exactly what were you trying to do? Run a seminar? Have a local store carry the book? What? You can explain without going into detail and breaking the TOS. You really can.
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