New Member in the Whittaker Family
The Whittaker family, known as one of America’s most inbred families, recently welcomed a new member to their ranks. In a YouTube video by filmmaker Mark Laita, it was revealed that Brandon, a 20-year-old mine maintenance worker and grandson of family patriarch Larry Whittaker, had become a father to a son named Braxton. This revelation sheds light on the family’s unusual life and history.
The Whittakers’ Unique Background
The Whittakers, residents of Odd, a village located 75 miles south of Charleston, have garnered attention due to their distinctive behaviors. They have been known to communicate through grunts, bark at people, and often evade interactions with outsiders. The family’s peculiar way of life first came to public attention when filmmaker Mark Laita received permission to document their unique story.
Genetic Complications and Behavioral Issues
The family’s peculiar behaviors are attributed to their unique genetic background. The Whittaker parents were double first cousins, which means they shared both sets of grandparents. This genetic complexity has led to a range of behavioral issues among family members, as noted by Laita.
Filmmaker’s Interaction with the Whittakers
Mark Laita’s connection with the Whittaker family dates back to 2004 when he initially took photographs of them. He later decided to revisit them in 2020, aiming to delve deeper into their lives and experiences. In his interactions with the family, Laita encountered bizarre moments, including family members with wandering eyes, vocal outbursts, and unusual behaviors.
Controversy Surrounding the Documentary
While Mark Laita’s videos have shed light on the Whittaker family’s living conditions and challenges, they have also generated controversy. Some viewers have criticized the documentary for potentially perpetuating stereotypes about inbreeding in Appalachia. Despite Laita’s efforts to raise funds and improve the family’s living conditions through a GoFundMe campaign, opinions about the documentary remain divided.
West Virginia’s Economic Context
The Whittakers reside in West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the United States. The village of Odd, where the family lives, has a small population, and a significant percentage of West Virginia’s residents live in poverty. This economic context adds complexity to the family’s story and the challenges they face.
While Mark Laita’s documentary has brought attention to the Whittaker family and raised funds for their benefit, it also highlights the nuanced ethical considerations surrounding the portrayal of unique and marginalized communities in documentary filmmaking.