Texas is another country...

Texas is another country...I have driven into Texas from all four directions and can affirm that after crossing that imaginary state line you just know you are in Texas . The world becomes wide open space, the sky feels higher, you can stretch out and rest a spell.

Monday, June 16, 2014


I didn't intend for this blog to be a forum on politics or public issues, but the other day there was a headline on MSN reading:  Is Austin the Most Segregated City in Texas.  It linked to a Texas Monthly article written by Cecelia Ballí that was basically an editorial stating that Hispanics are marginalized in Austin.  This is an example of journalism of outrage intended to be inflammatory and drag people over to read an unsubstantiated and personal view of an entire city.

Clearly Mexican-centric, Ballí claims she wants to see Austin become more multicultural and by that she means she wants to see more quinceañeras (formal dresses) and working class families at local parks and in the mall like she saw in Houston.  Yeah!  I kind of want to complain because I don't see Scots in kilts in the parks and malls all the time.  Where are all the hula skirts, kimonos, and Inuit parkas?  Then, I ask myself, what is stopping working class or any other type of family from going anywhere or wearing any type of cultural attire in Austin?  Nothing.  So why isn't this author addressing her article to the culture she wants to see manifested more in public instead of sending a blame message to people who offer access to that public display of culture.

Ballí complains in her article about going salsa dancing and that white guys offended her by asking her to dance using the Spanish language and she stated immediately to them that she spoke English.  Why be offended?  Salsa is, after all, Latin music usually sung in Spanish.  And isn't bilingual speech a sign to her that these white guys have embraced multiculturalism?  Does she not speak Spanish as well as English?  But forget multiculturalism, where are her manners?

In this same article, Ballí declares she wants to get citizens from different backgrounds to know one another, to eat in the same restaurants, to move through the same spaces.  
Golly.  In my world half the stations on cable are in Spanish, all the signs in public buildings and public transportation are in Spanish and English - so someone believes that Latinos move through there.  And, I seem to recall that there were all types of cultures represented in restaurants.  And there are plenty of families of all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds in Zilker Park.

But I have to ask, does this author ride a burro to work?  Or does she drive an American, Japanese, or German car?  Does she spin her own cloth and embroider her own traditional Mexican dresses (or even wear them)?  Or does she shop at the mall and buy clothing made in China.  

Mixing cultures is not the resolution to Ballí's complaint.  Saving cultures is.

For those of you who would like a positive article about Hispanic culture in Austin:

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