‘Hillbilly’ comment encouraged stereotypes

A few months ago, the Kentucky Kernel attained dubious statewide recognition through publication of a cartoon depicting a slave auction.

In light of this, I am distressed that the Kernel staff would print a letter to the editor using the term “redneck hillbilly” to describe poor behavior by fans at the UK-University of Tennessee football game.

As used in the letter, these words perpetuate disparaging connotations against everyone reared in a rural or Appalachian background. I understand that letters do not necessarily represent the Kernel’s beliefs, but by printing such statements, you tacitly encourage the continuance of this stereotype.

I challenge the Kernel staff to evaluate the content of letters and articles more closely in the future as such sweeping generalizations create opportunities for discrimination and marginalization.

Will Bowling

Forestry graduate student