Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Negative stories about rural life overshadow the good, essayist writes

When Vivian Medina thinks of rural America, she thinks of a dilapidated barn and home down the street: the once-beautiful home is a "broken-down shell" and the barn looks ready to topple over. But Medina, a student at Tennessee Wesleyan University in Athens, began to feel ashamed, especially after listening to a lecture by Whitney Kimball Coe, director of national programs at the Center for Rural Strategies, about how negative and one-sided stories about rural America can hamper readers' ability to see a more balanced picture of rural life.

"I was ashamed because I am a part of the problem," Medina writes for The Daily Yonder. "I think of these rural areas as dying, and I use it as motivation to go to school, to get out of my town. I don’t think of the ways I could help these towns. I don’t think of the opportunity there is to create. I only see the falling barn. I only see the arrests for meth. I only see one story."

If everyone saw the problems in rural areas and decided to run, rural problems only get worse, she continues. But there is "such a great opportunity to help" rural America, even if it's "just by dumping the negative views of these rural areas. Even if it's realizing that there is more than the two severe points on the spectrum, that the middle ground exists and should be acknowledged."

Read more of Medina's insightful essay here.

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