Look, People. West Virginia is a STATE!
“…another team from the state of Virginia: West Virginia.” Uh, no.
As someone who was born and raised in West Virginia and has since traveled a fair amount in addition to living elsewhere, I have heard almost every possible slight there is to make about the state and its natives. Some are somewhat deserved (“rednecks”), while some are not (most of us do wear shoes). However, there is one particular insult that’s more bothersome than all others: mistaking West Virginia for a part of Virginia. West Virginia is a state, not a Virginia territory. The worst part about this insult (as seen in the video above) is that most people do not recognize they are doing any insulting whatsoever. Tell someone you are from West Virginia and at least half of the time the person will respond that they know someone from Norfolk/Richmond/Roanoke or that they knew someone who went to Virginia Tech. Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke are cities in the state of Virginia. Virginia Tech is a university located in Blacksburg, also a city in Virginia.
I realize that people who respond this way are usually trying to be nice and to relate through conversation, but the sheer ignorance is grating. Do people from South Carolina have this problem? Do they get responses such as, “My cousin is from Charlotte,” when they disclose where they’re from? Does this happen? If so, then that would make me a little happier to know that we aren’t the only ones who constantly experience this level of ignorance.
For most of my life I ignored this particular insult and chalked it up to the person just being confused, but I don’t do that anymore. My token response has shifted to either bluntly pointing out that Roanoke is in Virginia and that Virginia is a separate state in the same way that Nevada and Maine are separate states, or by responding that I know someone from a city obviously not within the borders of whatever particular state they are from. I realize that, “Oh, you’re from Florida. I have a cousin who lives in Houston,” likely flies straight over the dufus’ head in nine out of ten cases, but if just that one person goes forth knowing that West Virginia is not a territory of Virginia, then a small bit of progress has been made.