I am at SheLoves magazine writing about cultural appropriation and learning to police myself. That part is hard.
Hi. My name is Abby and I am super white. Also, I really like to describe things as “lit.” At least I did, until I started thinking about it more critically, and now I don’t. A lot of people think it’s just a silly word, but I’m beginning to think my love of the word “lit” is endemic of something more problematic than a 34-year-old using the language of a 16-year-old.
I was raised in the Midwest and went to a predominantly white church, high school, and college. I knew I was white, but kind of thought of my whiteness as the neutral. I didn’t have to think about it because I didn’t have to. Everything around me was built for me, until it wasn’t.
I moved to Atlanta and began teaching at a predominantly black school. Suddenly, my whiteness became very obvious. As my students liked to point out, I talked like a white girl. I dressed like a white girl. I said things that I thought were totally “normal” that put my students into giggle fits simply because “Ms. Norman you are sooooo white.” I know it seems like it shouldn’t be a revelation with my white name, parents, experiences, and family. But it didn’t really occur to me that there were experiences that were completely different than mine. I figured that out the hard way, but I learned.