Mouths of Babes · Writers Write

The Mother of All Jobs: Don’t Be Basic



The word, basic, doesn’t mean what it used to. I realized this when I took my fifteen-year-old shopping for a new backpack.

“That’s so basic white girl, Mom.”

The line was delivered with such a sneer of derision. It made me ask, “What does that mean? What’s wrong with basic?”

Cherry said, “You know. Basic. Duh.”

The density of my advanced age was working against me, so I let it go. When we got home, I surreptitiously looked it up on, the go to source for when I haven’t a clue what my children are saying. Basic scored 33 entries, 98 percent of them not appropriate for polite company. Midway through, I found one that almost made sense.

“Without SWAG. Not unique.”

I logged onto twitter and typed, basic white girl, into the search box. I found @basickwhitegirl. The avatar is Disney’s Frozen Princess Elsa, drinking a Starbuck’s Frappuccino, the coffee drink with everything in it but coffee. The satirical twitter took the lack-of-SWAG-jab a step further, summing up the meaning of life to a basic.

I understood. A few weeks later, I found the t-shirt in the photo above. Cherry loved it.

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