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KY Analysis of the Frontlines of Cultural Wars

February 20, 2009

Frankfort, KY – The frontline of the culture war will be drawn at a conference in Memphis this weekend. The Voices from the Battlefront’s Folk Alliance Forum, sponsored by Appalshop, the Kentucky-based arts and education center, will attempt to examine how cultural inequality leads to policies that hurt people, especially Appalachian residents. Among the topics - how bluegrass music and clogging are equal to opera and ballet, and why it’s important everyone understand and respect other cultures.

Appalshop Director Art Menius says it’s dangerous when cultures are marginalized by others.

"When the folks are allowed to think their culture is superior to another, that leads to wars and economic imperialism."

Roadside Theater director Dudley Cocke says cultural equity takes education. Many people don’t realize what culture looks like, or sounds like, he adds.

"There are all kinds of expression of culture: bluegrass music, and folk music, traditional music, and clogging."

He points to the policies that allow mountaintop removal mining to destroy Appalachian cultural homes as an example of culture inequity. Mountaintop removal methods would never be allowed next to multi-million dollar mansions in Florida, he says, yet it’s acceptable in Appalachia.

The event is called, A Call to Action for Cultural Equity: Voices from the Battlefront’s Folk Alliance Forum.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - KY