Friday, March 06, 2015

Is Texas Southern, Western, or Truly a Lone Star?

 This is a really excellent, critical piece that unmasks the historic, ideological agenda for Texas leaders to market and socialize a view of Texas that is not only a systemic, structured, and ideological embellishment, but that is also so at the expense of Mexicans and the Mexican American community that is native either to Texas, the continent, or both, Texas and the continent. It's worth reading it in its entirety, but this quote by TCU History Professor Robert Cantrell to some extent sums it all up:

“I don’t want to oversimplify any interpretive theme but I really subscribe to the idea that the notion of Texas as a Western state, when you really boil it down to its essence, it’s really been part and parcel of what is now a hundred-years-and-running effort to escape what C. Vann Woodward called ‘the burden of Southern history,’” says Cantrell. 
This piece should get read in tandem with the excellent reflection by Texas Monthly writer Cecilia Ballí who wrote a thoughtful reflection on the day of the unveiling of the Tejano Monument on the Texas state capitol grounds on March 29, 2012. It is a valorizing, affirming, inclusive narrative (or counter-narrative).  She quotes historian Dr. Andrés Tijerina who has written many books on Tejano history and who expressed the following sentiment at the actual unveiling:
We need to hear Tejano history. We need to hear Tejano history at the state Capitol.” The audience cheered, and a few people yelled, “Woo!”
Ballí accomplishes what Cantrell similarly attempts to do in this piece.  Both take on the mythic dimensions of Texas history in ways that valorize—that add positive value—to the presence of Mexicans in Texas.

And it doesn't end here.  Out of this initiative came the Tejano Monument Curriculum Project directed by Dr. Emilio Zamora with online access here.


Tue March 3, 2015 3:54 pm

It’s that time of year again, that time when old-school, mainly Anglo Texans celebrate, commemorate—and in some extreme casesreenact the fall of the Alamo, the massacre at Goliad, and the decisive victory at San Jacinto. William Barrett Travis’s letter from the Alamo is dusted off and forwarded around the Internet, along with Davy Crockett’s zinger about where you all could go (Hell) and where he was going (Texas).
Meanwhile, here in Houston, Go Texan Day has just come and gone, which found office workers nervously hoping that they could still squeeze into last year’s gingham dress or tight-fittin’ Wranglers, and schoolkids of every race, color, and creed clomping around their school halls in cowboy boots most will never wear again. Roads normally clogged with motorized traffic were instead all a-clop with the hooves of hundreds horses, as the spur-janglin’ trail riders and trundling chuckwagons finally arriving at their Memorial Park campsite after many miles of hard riding on paved roads. Go Texan Day kicks of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, 20 days and nights of cattle auctions, bull-riding and barrel-racing, and (mostly) country music concerts, all in honor of Houston’s venerable heritage as one of the America’s great Western cowtowns.
The trouble is, the whole thing is built on a big fat historical fiction. Houston was never a cowtown, at least not in any meaningful sense, and it never even pretended to be for the first century of its existence. The same goes for Dallas, which, while only 32 miles from Fort Worth, the real Cowtown and situated on the very edge of what we have come to see as the American West, was always, like Houston, much more about cotton than cattleat least until Spindletop blew in.

Continue reading here.

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