Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Texan Exchange

Driving around Texas, I keep seeing these stickers and license plates that read "NATIVE TEXAN." What is a Native Texan? Technically, anyone born in Texas regardless of where their parents came from, right? So George W. Bush is not a Native Texan, but Rick Perry is. Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas" was not a Native Texan. Sam Houston was not a Native Texan. LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson were born in Texas. José Antonio Navarro was born in Texas. Melinda French Gates was born in Texas. Iron Jacket (Pro-he-bits-quash-a) was born in Tejas. At the Alamo in 1836, which is the Mythical Genesis Point of modern Texas, if I recall correctly there were only a handful of truly "Native Texans" involved -- six of them Hispanic. The majority of Alamo fighters on both sides were born far outside the then-or-now borders of Tejas/Texas. I find the whole idea of Native Texan ludicrous as a point of pride. 

So where did this silly branding come from lately? Here you go: "The Native Texan License Plate was sanctioned by House Bill 2971, Section 504.637, which was enacted on September 1, 2003, as The Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) License Plates." (Source: The Daughters of the Republic of Texas website). However, you can be an "imposter" with such a plate, because -- as far as I can tell -- you can just order one for yourself any old time from the "Sovereign State of Texas," whether you're originally from New York City or Paris, France, or from Detroit or Paris, Texas, for that matter. But why would you? It exposes a narrow and provincial state of mind. It's a short journey from this state of mind to intimidation and -- a little further down the line and beyond the pale -- ethnic cleansing. 

The Native Texan attitude goes back to the beginning of "Anglo" political dominance in Texas. Indeed, check this out, from Will S. James, Cow-boy life in Texas, or, 27 years a Mavrick [sic]: A Realistic and True Recital of Wild Life on the Boundless Plains of Texas, Being the Actual Experience of Twenty-seven Years in the Exciting Life of a Genuine Cow-boy Among the Roughs and Toughs of Texas, 1898, page 193:

The German Population of Texas were generally understood to have Union sympathies, and were therefore cordially hated by original Texans. We were riding one day into the country with a genuine Texan, and coming to a heavy German settlement, he called our attention to their fine farms and substantial improvements, and said, "See the Germans squatted everywhere on the best lands in our State. I'll tell you what I would do if it were in my power. I would compel them to leave the rich land and go to the sand hills and sand prairies. I don't think they have any business on these lands, and right under the noses of the better class of citizens."

Ha! Of course, these kinds of attitudes are widespread virtually anywhere in the world. It does however seem more prevalent in Texas than anywhere else I've journeyed in the USA.

Today's Rune:  The Mystery Rune.      

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

The whole thing sounds rather silly, when you think about it.