Posted on a local blog:

“Thinking that the best candidate for the new County Executive in a legitimate nationwide search would be found right here in Prince William County are so unbelievably astronomical that it defies description.

Prince William County is not just another hollow in McDowell County, West Virginia where inbreeding allows for your sister to be your wife and the mother of your brother.

But that’s the way the BOCS treats hiring of top policy makers and leaders in Prince William County.?”


Inbreeding?  Has the author of that statement ever met anyone from McDowell County, West Virginia?  Do they know anything of the population?  Off the top of my head, I thought of the gentleman who headed up Fairfax County Parks and Rec for decades.  He was born and raised in McDowell County.  I would say that he did quite well for himself.

Has the author of that nasty, hateful comment ever seen the film October Sky or read the book Rocket Boys?  Both were inspired by Homer Hickman, a retired NASA employee, who grew up in McDowell County and became a scientist and famous author.

I detest that kind of regional bigotry and prejudice.  Maybe that statement is something you might say with your own friends in your own home but never publicly.  Maybe!

I shared the comment with my best friend of many decades who was born and raised in nearby Raleigh County. West Virginia.  I will share her comments:

“I’m speechless.  McDowell is not at all a bad place. Has no more inbreeding than Prince William.  Maybe he was never exposed to the [redacted] or the [redacted]. It is deep coal field culture but hard working and honest for the most part.  So unfair that i don’t even know what to say.”

What is wrong with people who think it is perfectly OK to disparage an entire group of people based on where they live?  Regional and class bias is never acceptable.

It is even worse to accuse those people of incest.  No, it isn’t funny and no, it isn’t OK.  Furthermore, Prince William County is full of West Virginia transplants as well as descendants of those transplants.

McDowell County is an economically depressed area.  It was a coal mining area and has had mine after mine close.  Even their Walmart closed last winter but that in no way makes the residents guilty of incest.  Many places have undergone sweeping economic downturns in this country as industries change.

It’s just wrong to make those kinds of remarks about a region–almost as wrong as making those kinds of remarks about someone’s race, religion or ethnicity.  Is this the latest Trump mentality, where it’s ok to call various groups out as rapists and thieves?  This type of regional slurring is NEVER OK.

As a matter of record, I am not from West Virginia, but many of my friends have deep roots in that  state.  The local blogger needs to profoundly apologize.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in the Gainesville District.


21 Thoughts to “Local blogger disparages McDowell County, West Virginia”

  1. i hedirck

    Thank you, Moonhowler. Poverty is not a sin; blue-collar is not an inferior subspecies; hate is not a desirable social skill.

  2. El Guapo

    When you get upset about what someone says, you’re sending them a message that what they say is important to you

    1. Actually, I get upset when people are rude, crude and socially unattractive. It doesn’t make them important. It makes them unacceptable.

      It didn’t HURT me. Those kinds of remarks do hurt people though. Now that upsets me, when the vulnerable are hurt.

      As for his point…who cares. I don’t even remember.

  3. NorthofNokesville

    El Guapo… shouldn’t you be La Guapa based on the pic?

    At any rate, the political parallel between PWC and WVa (however indelicately framed, and perhaps ironic given the state of incest laws in Utah and Idaho during the early 20th century) are creepy. Locals whose needs and wants are subverted by politically powerful developers and/or natural resource companies. A political class where reasonableness and competence are rare, and positions of power are often filled by folks who really seemed to have nothing better to do. Past bad acts are a badge of honor, or at least tolerated, left and right. And goofball ego projects… WVa gilded the dome of their capitol and PWC built a really nice pool while things like literacy, education, etc, take a back seat.

    Wild, wonderful, Prince William County.

    1. Actually, I left off a big MEOW on your comment, North.

      WV state law forbids the marriage of people who are blood related.

      I got tickled the day that remark was made on that blog. More irony–the town of Haymarket had a big crime event. It had all the markings of stereotypical events: gas station, law enforcement, domestic violence, police standoff, guns, cohabitation . . . needs only to be revealed that the couple are first cousins. (I don’t think they were)

      Perhaps those sorts of things just shouldn’t be happening in the super elite Gainesville district. Perhaps the local blogger should not ride too high in the stirrups. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw boulders.

      1. NorthofNokesville


        Been a “scratching post” kinda week.

        Town of Haymarket… don’t get me started. All they need is a Sheriff named Rosco P. Coltrane.

      2. I just thought it was ironic that the author of the nastiness about McDowell County has the same kind of dysfunctional behavior going on right in downtown Haymarket.

        I highly recommend that people read “Hillbilly Elegy” by JD Vance. Its quite a good read. Painful at times, but a decent read.

      3. NorthofNokesville


        You might find this interesting.

        I’m very familiar with the situation he describes, both directly through family.

      4. NorthofNokesville


        He = Vance. Sorry, pronoun proliferation.

      5. Just started and it is a great article. I am familiar with what he describes because I taught in rural PWC and because of what I have been told by my friends from areas like that, not just WV. Hell, you can go to many places in Virginia and the same thing exists.

        I am very fortunate to have had much of this explained to me by my best friend who grew up in southern WV. I grew up in Charlottesville and always thought that my own mother was somewhat of a hayseed. My friend has shown me the light-years of differences.

        Thanks for leaving that link. I have almost finished Hillbilly Elegy. Its really a fabulous book. My friend told me she has not finished it because it was too painful. She herself was raised middle class but…as she would say….barely.

      6. NorthofNokesville


        Not how I was raised (middle level middle class) but definitely what I was born into. And it is within easy reach family-wise. Personally traversing class has been an education.

        I’m going to read the book, thanks for the rec.

      7. I think that is how my friend would describe herself….easy reach family-wise. I know just what you mean.

        She was also raised with those kind of country values that certainly are salt of the earth. The funny thing is, I found most of what I learned from her fascinating. I never felt I was better than she was, just different as far as family roots go, even though on the social register I might have scored a few more points.

        Nothing wrong with “different.” I think my father always felt that he was stepping up by marrying my mother. He graduated from UVA but—he was one of those kids who got his education through sports. He played 3 sports each year: football, basketball and baseball. The emphasis definitely wasn’t on academics and I think he had a room over the pool hall for most of his college days. He was still BMOC but only because he was a jock. He would not have gone had it not been for athletics. My mother was a townie and her father was city manager. She also graduated from UVA and I guess her father wrote them a check or however paying students did it in those days.

        My father was from Bellville, NJ, so that was so alien to people in C-ville, its hard to compare. I know he had more advantages than someone growing up in generational poverty but I don’t think there were extras in his family. He told me once that he made 10 cents an hour setting up pins in a bowling alley during the Depression. I think the Depression might have been the cause of his financial situation but I am not sure.

      8. Scout


        Excellent, timely book. Vance and I have the same hometown.

      9. Really!!!

        The only person I know who has been negative about the book is my brother. I don’t know what his problem is.

        I have often accused other people of looking at problems through middle class eyes only (based on years of teaching). After reading this book I decided that I was guilty of the same thing. It is just all a matter of degrees.

      10. NorthofNokesville


        Another good review/commentary on the book.

        I’m fasting from additional commentary until I read the text. My honors classics prof would raise an eyebrow at reading two reviews already.

      11. Mom


        They already have “Boss Hogg” and some would suggest Ennis as well.

        Things are getting even more stirred up as more people become aware that the Mayor and Town Council are evicting the Food Pantry a year before its lease is up. Why you ask, because the Food Pantry’s mission got too large or the Town has turn the Food Pantry into a public restroom, depends on what day of the week you ask them.

        I doubt even the Donald would stoop that low.

      12. I thought food pantries were a good thing.

      13. Mom


        After you have used them to get elected, not so much, at least in Haymarket.

      14. NorthofNokesville


        Perhaps they were (paraphrasing Gwendolyn Brooks) upset that the poor who showed up were not the worthy poor, the beautiful poor.

        Or maybe the mayor thinks it’s a better achievement to kick out folks working for the social good than to run his town competently.

        Or both.

  4. Kelly_3406


    Thanks for the article link. I plan to read Vance’s book. My family roots run through western Virginia and Tennessee, so I recognize many of my relatives in Vance’s vivid description.

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