20 March 2010

Are we too hard on Texas?

Texas blogger Ranch Chimp posts about pervasive criticism of his state in the liberal blogosphere (I'd describe it more as ridicule than criticism, but that may be worse). Are we too hard on Texas?

I think there are several reasons why Texas gets as much flak as it does. For one thing, most people who have never been to Texas (as I have) don't know much about it. There is a lot more to it than the stereotypes -- see Ranch Chimp's post. But stereotypes are easy to latch onto in certain situations -- and yes, I've done it too.

Also, Texans seem to be pretty good-natured about the ribbing -- they themselves make jokes about Texas. People may feel more comfortable making fun of Texas than other states, since Texans seem less quick to be offended. In politically-charged times, this can take on a harsher edge, especially since Texas is the biggest consistently-red state and thus gets taken as emblematic of them. Think, though -- how many states have such a distinct identity that there even are stereotypes of them? Regions, yes, but individual states? There are stereotypes of California (gays, Hollywood), Utah (Mormons), maybe Florida and Louisiana, not many others.

Texas is also where Bush came from, and unfortunately he tended to reinforce the worst of the stereotypes.

Finally, there's no denying there's been a real outbreak of high- profile gooberism in Texas lately. There's the Repent Amarillo thuggery. There's the dumbing-down of school textbooks. There's Louie Gohmert and his demon invasion. There's the governor making noises about secession, which is beyond a joke -- that's treason talk. (And I'd say the same to all of those who sometimes remark that they wish Texas would secede -- it's not funny, and it dishonors all those who died in the Civil War fighting to hold this country together.)

But again, while this is all true, it's not the whole truth. A point Ranch Chimp has made is that Texas has a potential Democratic majority -- its black and Hispanic populations are huge, for one thing, but tend not to turn out in great numbers for elections. If all qualified citizens voted, Texas could well become a blue state.

13 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

Indi
I've been to Texas maybe 35 years ago.
At least where I went the people couldn't have been nicer. Hell I had NY plates on my car and had just been beaten up in New Mexico cause of it.
So I did expect the worse.
Bush and Cheney as you mentioned didn't do it any good. They didn't do the rest of us any good either.
If only they didn't have those damn Cowboys as their football team. I still hold a grudge against them because Landry declared them Americas Team. That didn't fly with me. That's like calling the Giants and Jets NY teams, their Jersey's.

20 March, 2010 06:59  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Thank You Mr.Infidel for posting this. I am not trying to condemn folk's because they are angry of Texas, or because they want to kick Texas out of the union period (yes, I have read where several do) personally I would like to stay part of the USA.... I am reasonable, and can clearly understand why folk's dont like this place, I have been just about all over this nation and lived in various area's of it as well as a few countries, so I am not blind. And what GW Bush done was a travesty ....Cheney believe it or not is even worse than him, because Cheney was his brain for the most part on milking our surplus, Bush isnt bright enough to pull off alone what he did. As for these religious crack pot's, what the fuck can I say ..... these sob's breed here like roaches, alot of these type's you find way out in rural or desert area's and such .... some real weird one's to, rest assured. Where I live is in the City of Dallas, which is a different ballgame. Actually make NO mistake, what you brought up is true, about the "blue state" thing, many wouldnt think this .... but you can bet, that if (not just minorities, but just more or all working classes and working poor)a larger majority of Texan's voted .... no doubt this state would be so blue it would be unbelievable, I talk with alot of people and drive alot (fixin to go to Waco later actually), many people that are working class unfortunately have this feeling of hopelessness, and are just thinking about bill's and survival is the bottom line, and dont trust alot of politic's. It also enable's these extreme's on the right to gain control, their number's are much smaller, so how do they get away with it? By sinply acting and caring, and pushing for what they want, is the way I see it. When an old associate of mine (Fort Worth, known as the cheap side of Dallas) opened a controversial business in the city ... that catered to the "dark art's" let's say, he was a bold kind of dude .... painted the building(an old house)black and put a large red baphomet (satanic pentagram) on the outside atop, which stood out like a turd in a punchbowl, then when folk's found out it was a gathering place for local satanist's, ritual's and satanic parties (even though city official's said it was completely ligit, and legal)these christian's came up one day when many of us were socializing, stood out on the median in the street, half on their knee's and started praying, some even had the nerve and stupidity of saying that I was related biologically to some kind of demonic entity. We went out and confronted them, they said they just only want to pray for us even though their sign's they held said different. I and a few other guy's just put rifle's over our shoulder's and large handgun's in our front waste band's, stood in front of them on our property and said ...."You wanna share? Come on our property and share with us (I personally told them)" they wouldnt budge, just froze in their track's and were gone in 10 minute's .... that's HOW YOU DEAL with those type's.

Later Guy...........

20 March, 2010 09:57  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Mr.Tim .... 35 yr's ago in rural Texas I would have pitied you, not just the offbeat's, but the drug and gun runner's were like renegade gang's of desert outlaw's, I know .... I had to deal in those day's here.Now it's much more civilised, believe me.

The Cowboys? Well I would expect that.... especially being between two cities (Buffalo and NYC) with team's as great as the Jets and Bills (I love both)but I am a diehard Cowboy fan, I dont care much for the Giant's because we are both in the NFC East, and they give us a difficult time every damn year.

20 March, 2010 10:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tim: I had a good experience there too (2002).

RC: And what GW Bush done was a travesty.... Cheney believe it or not is even worse than him,

Cheney does seem to have been Bush's "evil genius". But then, of course, Cheney came from Wyoming rather than Texas, if I'm not mistaken.

As for these religious crack pot's, what the fuck can I say ..... these sob's breed here like roaches, alot of these type's you find way out in rural or desert area's and such .... some real weird one's to, rest assured.

Somebody needs to invent a "fundie motel" (they check in but they don't check out). The ones everybody has heard about, the polygamist nutters out in the western Texas desert, are actually "Mormon fundamentalists" (separate from the mainstream Mormon church), who have colonies in various remote areas -- their main center is in northern Arizona.

many wouldnt think this .... but you can bet, that if (not just minorities, but just more or all working classes and working poor) a larger majority of Texan's voted .... no doubt this state would be so blue it would be unbelievable,

This obviously needs to be worked on, to make it happen. If the Democrats could capture Texas we'd be unbeatable.

they wouldnt budge, just froze in their track's and were gone in 10 minute's .... that's HOW YOU DEAL with those type's.

Sounds like you delivered a punch to the turdbowl.

I think people who have been to Texas have a different view of it from those who haven't.

20 March, 2010 10:16  
Blogger Rita said...

I was about 17 when I moved to Amarillo, Texas, for a year. It was very different then any place I'd ever been. I mean People talk funny down there! I was shocked that even the little kids had accents! :)
I saw lots of blatant prejudice while I was there, but until that time, I'd never been exposed to any other race except for white people that were just like me. It shocked me that people could actively hate each other because of race.
But, like you said, "stereotypes are easy to latch onto in certain situations"

On the other hand, all states try to emphasis their uniqueness, whether it's to promote themselves to the outside world or just to cultivate a feeling of solidarity and belonging. Some states just seem to do a better (or worse) job then others.
I often wonder if I would have a different impression of Amarillo now...I'm guessing it would be much less segregated then it was in the late 1970's.

As for the question, "Are we too hard on Texas?"
Maybe so. It really does depend on how honest and fair our own assessment is. As we all know, dabbling in politics often makes normal people think & act irrationally.

20 March, 2010 10:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rita: I mean People talk funny down there! I was shocked that even the little kids had accents! :)

Yeah, they teach them that to charm the tourists -- they talk just like we do when nobody's listening:-) (well, not like me.....)

Texas is unusual in that it's the only state, other than Hawaii, that was an independent country before it joined the US. About ten years passed between its independence from Mexico and its becoming a state. So the distinctive sense of identity isn't so surprising.

I'm sure Amarillo is a lot less racially segregated now, and what with all those religious nutcases running around harassing people, they probably have more important things to worry about than race.

As we all know, dabbling in politics often makes normal people think & act irrationally.

That's certainly true. Sometimes they even disagree with me -- imagine that!:-)

20 March, 2010 10:25  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

One last thing I would like to point out Mr.Infidel .... is you mentioned about Cheney and Wyoming ..."true" ... however that was another trick shot that came up in the 2000 election's. You see, Cheney lived in a big beautiful home here in a well off area of Central Dallas too, when he was asked (because of some rule that a pres. candidate and VP candidate running together cant be from the same town or whatever) where he lived .... he pulled out a Wyoming Driver's Liscense, I mean, I had drivers liscenses from a several states as well, it dont mean squat, but legal enough to get away with it on a technicality. The fact is .... he lived in Dallas .... and my daughter's(in photo with me)boyfriend's mom was their house maid .... who is from a small suburb of Monterey,Mexico .... who came here initially as an alien illegally (she is a citizen now), her son (daughter's boyfriend) was also born in that Mexican town( today he's a corporate account manager, talk about the American Dream) .... she actually said that the Cheney's were generous people to work for, especially on Christmas bonuses (cash). On the other hand .... I knew an ole boy that had a small ranch down by Crawford .... and told me that Bush had a reputation or making bet's with partner's ... on mexican ranch hand's they had hired to work the ranch and land that they would shortchange on paycheck's, and the guy's would bet on which wetback's were smart enough to figure out that their check's were shorted (I dont have proof of that though, beside's what a friend told me, and he hated Bush). On the race thing in Amarillo .... it's a much bigger town it appear's these day's (I passed thru in 2007)than the 1970's .... however from what I gather .... the race factor of tension's is still pretty hard there, from the black's and white's both .... the wetback's just keep their mouth's shut I reckon and let them bitch at each other, probably wish they would kill off each other so they could (wetback's) take what's left over (just kiddin about what the wetback's want) .... but yes .... I hear they are still at each other's throat's today, mostly politic's behind it.

20 March, 2010 11:00  
Blogger tnlib said...

Thanks for the link to RC. I commented "at length" there, so won't repeat myself here. Both excellent posts with keen observations and great for discussion. RC doesn't know it, but I've added him to my blog roll - that should make his day!

20 March, 2010 11:02  
Anonymous rita said...

I actually have a better attitude about Texas now, because Ranch Chimp lives there. It can't be all bad. :)

20 March, 2010 12:43  
Blogger TomCat said...

I guess the reason Texas never noticed that the village idiot from Crawford was missing is that they have an endless supply.

20 March, 2010 13:22  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC: True. The President and Vice President can't be from the same state. Interesting that Cheney had roots in Texas -- I didn't know that.

TNLib: I'm sure he'll find out:-)

Rita: Good point. I'm sure he'd tell you the place is full of colorful characters.

TomCat: Possibly so, although in this case it was more of an oil-patch idiot. One must also remember that Bush's father came from Connecticut, perhaps the most un-Texas-like of states.

20 March, 2010 15:15  
Blogger Tim said...

I used to think the most Racist place in the USA was Biloxi. I live there in 1969. I was appalled as a kid to see how blacks had to live. Treated as if they didn't exist which is worse than being treated bad.
But the worse place is where I'm living now. Upstate New York an hour from Albany. Very Rural. Survivalist.
Talking out loud about if they had the chance,killing the president. Any public place this goes on. Texas don't seem so bad to me.

20 March, 2010 15:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tim: I think there are enclaves of that kind of crap everywhere -- even here in Oregon.

20 March, 2010 16:59  

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