Home > Uncategorized > Texas and Its Lazies

Texas and Its Lazies

It’s interesting that Olmsted views “ordinary” Texans as lazy. It runs against the mythos that I believe Texans like to propagate about themselves. From Olmsted’s “geography of laziness” attitude (that lazier peoples reside farther South, no matter what color they are), it would seem that the mythical industriousness required to reach the American Dream only existed in the North in the 19th century. Nowadays, it seems that Texans pride themselves on being tougher and harder-working than the “sissies” up north. There is a sense that Texans get their hands dirtier, and that they therefore have a better work ethic (or at least a more manly one). I think the American Dream has shifted farther south in the 20th century, due especially to the oil that has made Texas rich, as well as some other southern states. I wrote a post on the importance of land because of oil; I think oil has also raised the cultural value of hard work in this state… or has it? Since cultural laziness is at least subjective, if not an unhelpful or discriminatory concept altogether, have Texans truly started to work harder? Or has the ability to make money transformed the perceived work ethic of a state that, as a result of oil, can now “pull itself up by its own bootstraps”?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I would say that the image shifted from lazy to “harder”-working as our prejudices shifted from slavery to anti-Mexican immigrant. After all, what do people say but that Mexicans are lazy and that they aren’t paying taxes and on and on? Our mythos and cultures simply seem to change with our racisms — either people don’t have to work because they have slaves to justify their laziness or they work extra hard in order to try and justify their vilification of another ethnic group. I’m trying very hard not to get too generalized about Texas because, after all, it’s not as though everyone in Texas is a horrible racist. It simply seems to me that our darker parts and vices tend to be those which determine what virtues we’re going to claim to uphold the most.

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