As mentioned, I was born in West Virginia.  I went to highschool and college in West Virginia.  My family is from West Virginia.  Needless to say, I’ve been bombarded with ignorant questions and commentary for a large portion of my adult life.  Below are ten of the most cliche stereotypes and misconceptions about my birth state:

  1. First and foremost: West Virginia is its own state.  It is not the “western part of Virginia.”  Do you know how many times people tell me, “Oh! I have friends from Richmond!” That’s wonderful, but that’s also a different state.
  2. I am not, nor do I have any plans to be, married to my brothers, cousins, uncles or any other relatives.
  3. West Virginia is not the poorest state in the country.  That honor has been bestowed upon Mississippi. Congrats!
  4. I have all of my teeth.  Well, unless you want to get technical- because I did have my wisdom teeth removed.  And might I add- my teeth are pretty glorious?
  5. With a 72% highschool graduation rate, WV is actually above the national average.
  6. The movie, Deliverance, (dueling banjos?) has absolutely nothing to do with West Virginia and is actually set in Georgia.
  7. I’m not a coal miner’s daughter.
  8. I don’t say, “ya’ll.”
  9. While there’s still work to be done- we’re not all racists.  West Virginia is the only state that was formed by seceding from a Confederate state.
  10. We may not have  sports teams, but we’ve got a symphony.

While West Virginia might not be the most cosmopolitan state, it sure is beautiful and there aren’t many people much nicer.   They sure aren’t lying when they say, “almost heaven.”