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Georgraphic Cultures

One thing that I find particularly interesting is the many different cultures and geographies within Texas. We have discussed this in depth in class, but would like to engage the topic a bit further. This weekend I was talking to my family about this class and the ideas and preconceptions of Texas as a region. As I was talking to them I began to think of the Empire for Slavery text we had read and about the Olmsted piece we would soon be discussing–the thing that struck me so strongly was the idea of a specific and controlled area having so much diversity. I think it is unfair to call all of Texas the “south” (although geographically it technically is–but for this post we will assume that south or north refer to the mindsets rather than the regions.) or the even the west or the north. Texas to me is not one area in particular but made up of all of those “cultures”. Even during the time when Olmsted was wondering around, there were the highly defined areas: The German area, the lazy slave holding ranch house areas, the plantation south, the wild west area, ect. I think that all these ideas are true about the area we live in, some stories may be glamorized… but what histories aren’t.

After coming to this personal revelation, I tried to decide which area was most important to me. Was it the Cowboys and Indians Texas I had grown up hearing about? Was it the dirty lazy area on which most of the areas I have lived were founded? Was it the plantation south, the slave holding areas, the German areas, the Mexican or native American areas? I have no idea. I was incredibly interested in the Olmsted article because i felt like it gave me an idea of the Austin area that I had previously been unaware of. How very weird it was to think of the “Keeping it Weird” Austin I knew had once been such a dirty, racist, lazy area. Or that “Neu” Braunfels was founded and strengthened by hardworking, abolitionist Germans.   Again, I will insert here, I hate Texas– but the idea of all the “Texas’s” coming together to form the state we now know is very appealing.

The truth, or at least a story closer to the truth, about where I live, however ugly and shocking, was a nice change from the empty rhetoric I have been learning since 8th grade. Texas is not one unified area (that does not in any way make it better from other states), but is instead an area of different geographic cultures mingling, but never merging, together.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jvittorio
    February 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I really enjoyed the last paragraph to this post, about taking the ugly and shocking parts of our history with the parts that we are proud of. I don’t think you can really appreciate and understand a place until you accept the good history with the bad, and truly embracing what Texas is today requires us to acknowledge everything that it has been in the past.

  2. markcotham
    February 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    In my History of the Spanish Language class, we are talking about the history of Spain all the way from the pre-Roman Iberians through the Moorish invasions and into the “Reconquista” by the Castillian kingdom. It is fascinating to see how all of those cultures somehow got thrown together, particularly in the linguistics of Spanish. I imagine if we looked at the linguistics of the Texas dialect, we’d find some interesting tidbits that came from Spanish and Native American languages. For example, Texas is reputed to be the word for “friend” in a Native American language, which the Spanish adopted in order to refer to the people who spoke that language. Even though the dominant culture in Texas is white and American, that does not eliminate the possibility for surprising and enriching influences from other cultures to be present.

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