Opinion: ‘People of Boone’ Twitter page disrespectful of differences

David Sabbagh

Abbi Pittman

David SabbaghI’ve noticed a recent online trend of people creating anonymous, Appalachian-themed pages on Twitter. Many are funny and publish jokes and memes about the university, such as “ASU Ducks” and “Condescending App Guy.”

But there is one page that I do not find humorous at all: “People of Boone.”

With 900 followers, “People of Boone,” a spin-off of the demeaning “People of Wal-Mart” website, invites people to share “pictures of all the weird #PeopleOfBoone” so viewers can “all make fun together.”

The posts on this page usually insult Boone residents’ clothing or hairstyles. One picture is of two overweight people at the recreation center; another shows two men waiting for the AppalCart with a baby stroller.

I especially object to the number of local Boone citizens who appear on the page. This town already has enough to deal with thanks to a large university composing half of the Boone population. Residents should not have to add being publically ridiculed by students to the list.

In addition to being disrespectful, the people who submit these pictures have no context on which to base their insults. It is simply not right to judge people you have never met based solely on an aspect of their appearance – don’t we all know that by now?

We are supposed to be members of an Appalachian family. Ridiculing and insulting each other publically goes against the unique, accepting spirit of Boone. Differences should be celebrated and embraced, not mocked.

There was a time when you could express yourself freely. You were free to be a little different for a day, or for a long while. But now if you go out looking like anything other than what someone else defines as “normal,” you run the risk of being mocked by 900 people on the internet.

While I can’t argue with freedom of speech, I believe that “People of Boone” crosses the line between being humorous and being outright offensive.

Editor’s Note: Sabbagh conducted an email interview with the founders of “People of Boone,” who wished to remain anonymous. It is against The Appalachian’s source policy to run anonymous quotes, so the comment has not been included.

Sabbagh, a freshman theatre arts major from Winston-Salem, is an opinion writer.