What about us? Do we matter? Book summary
What about us? Do we matter?
by Joseph Banks narrates the story of Appalachia and its people. The book highlights the beauty of the mountains within the North American region of Appalachia and also discusses the general culture, economic state of affairs, and social circumstances within the region. Appalachia is a beautiful yet poverty-stricken region. The book explores how the area is so rich in coal, yet the residents are still deprived of basic resources, such as a substantial education and healthcare. Years of political injustice is what led to the regions current situation and the plight of the Appalachians. American leaders continued to change yet; the Appalachians were people who were barely acknowledged when it came to modifying reforms because they were not in a big city. Government authorities did not see any point in making economic investments in the region and saw little to no point in making an effort to provide them with any kind of assistance in terms of social welfare. Many Appalachians dropped out of school, and with a lack of formal education, they were left with very few options when it came to employment opportunities. Several of them ended up moving out to bigger nearby cities in search of better education and increased employment opportunities. In big cities, they faced a lot of discrimination. Struggling with stereotypes and overt biases that were often verbally expressed in both schools and in the workplace, they often felt like outsiders. For those who remained in their hometowns, there was little to hold on to; many of them turned to drugs as a means of support and a form of escapism. Engaging in destructive habits is also what shortened the life span for the many Appalachians. If it wasn't a drug overdose, it was death by suicide; there was no denying that depression and mental health issues were plaguing many Appalachians' minds. With no substantial means of rehabilitation, many of them succumbed to this depression. However, many of them did fight against it as well and came out stronger. Despite having little to no government support, the Appalachians have a powerful community where they all support each other. This is how they still manage to stay strong and independent. Appalachia carries a potent collectivist culture that has actually proved meaningful and helpful for many. This book not only pays homage to how beautiful the Appalachian mountains and forests are, but also to the strength of its people and the way they overcame each of their struggles and ended up more resilient than before. Despite having little to no government support, despite facing constant discrimination due to media stereotypes, Appalachians continued to thrive and face their troubles, no matter what hardships came their way. This narrative aims to highlight and appreciate their strength while bringing light to the injustice that they are facing and why actions need to be taken to implement substantial measures.