The Perspective of Academia

An anecdote for Ralf and one not unrelated to Rummel’s latest: My husband was small talking Christmas family news with a colleague; he mentioned our oldest daughter spends every other Christmas in Germany with her husband’s parents. His colleague responded that her choice of husband must have made us happy. He replied that we did, indeed, like her choice very much. Then, his colleague made herself clearer: “You must have been really afraid she’d marry a Texan.” My husband who grew up in a small Texas town twenty miles away and is deeply immersed in a broad and tightly knit Czech-Texan family was a little taken aback. She did not seem to be joking–it is possible he misread her. But she seemed serious enough that he didn’t respond that our only complaint was that our son-in-law brought German politics with him and has not been disabused of these while living in cobalt Austin. (She and her husband bought a house and raised their children in France – where the children now live. Not all that many careers leave us free to live on one continent and get paid on another.)

15 thoughts on “The Perspective of Academia”

  1. Thanks, Ginny, interesting. I didn’t think that the anti-Texan prejudice is that strong.

    Anyway, you can get the boy out of Germany, but you can’t get German politics out of the boy – at least not quickly. Give it some time, and keep him away from all those academics and he’ll come around. :)

  2. Well on a positive note, I suppose It’s better to make broad unsubstantiated generalizations of people based on geography rather than race. Imagine what a comparable comment might have been 50 years ago?

  3. This kind of closed mindedness is applied to people from the south all the time, by so called academics and so called “open minded” liberals. They will complain that “red staters are all closed minded uneducated rednecks”. The hyocrisy is almost overwhelming.

    I hear it all the time out here in Hawaii, which is a huge Democratic stronghold. I grew up in a KC suburb in Kansas, and some local will hear I’m from Kansas and make some comment about all the “rednecks” there, even though they’ve never even visited there. Let’s see..I grew up in Kansas, I have travelled to many other nations and almost every state…, I have settled in a community in which I am a huge minority and married someone not of my race….meanwhile you have lived on the same block for 35 years hanging out with the same guys, and haven’t even visited another state in some cases, let alone another country…yet I am the rednceck. It sound crazy when I say it.

    I usually point out the group of locals here who like to 1. Drive big trucks with their state flag on it 2. Drink lots of Bud/Coors Light and go pig hunting 3. Act suspicious and even violent towards outsiders who wander into their community at the wrong time…I don’t know what the international test is..but that sure sounds like a redneck to me…

    But I always forget that you can only be closed minded, small-minded, or a bigot if you are white…otherwise you are simply reacting to the oppressive policies of the white regime….not a bigot…

    I’ve said it before….you have to remember the liberal mantra:

    “Hate is wrong…

    …unless you hate the right people”.

  4. About 20 years ago I moved from Portland OR (where I grew up) to Boston. The first year I was there, a young lady I met asked me this:

    “Is Oregon quaint?”

    I was flabbergasted. I explained to her that I grew up in a metropolitan area which had a population of more than one million people.

    I think she had the idea that Oregon was sort of like Nantucket, only bigger and a lot further away.

  5. There are two types of provincial people:

    The first type understand that live in out of the way places, have their own customs and traditions and in general don’t receive a lot of input from the rest of the world.

    The second type doesn’t understand they live in out of the way places, doesn’t understand that their customs and traditions are unique to their locality and they don’t understand how little the rest of the world cares about them.

    The first type of provincial people live in places like rural Texas. The second type of provincial people live in places like Manhattan.

  6. Chris, I’m not sure if you are ripping on Hawai’i because it is a bastion of the DNC and you see that as wrong, if you are angry with the misconceptions of the uneducated or if you are just mad at local Hawaiians for harboring ill will towards a people that robed them of their land and culture. Could you please clarify your statement so that I may chastise you accordingly?

  7. I lived in Austin for 10 years. Liberal Austinites who had moved there from blue states (which is many of them – the town doubled in size in the 90s from the tech boom) would always hasten to assure their friends that “Austin isn’t Texas.”

    Bullshit. Austin is ground zero for Kozmic Kowboy redneck hippie culture: Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson, Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely. That’s about as Texan as you can get.

  8. Well, I need to say a couple of things. One is that I am probably about as geographically bigoted as anyone – about the French, for instance. I have reasons and some of them I am not ashamed of (this is clearly a country that thinks ideas should be forced upon people rather than looking at human nature and trying to figure out what works) and some I am (my quite provincial ear for languge leads to an inability to speak French and lousy grades in a series of French courses). So, who am I to complain? Well, I guess we all tend to project our failings on others.

    Secondly, Austin is still a wonderful place to live. But it was much more wonderful thirty years ago when the red-necks and the hippies would all go to the same local dance halls and loved the same music. One of my favorite memories is the Split Rail, with Freda and Her Firedogs (?) (Freda was Marcia Ball). A triple table had been set up for a birthday celebration, and the gay guy being feted asked for “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man”; Marcia Ball sang it well – she clearly loved Loretta Lynn as did everyone in the place – from a farm or UT, gay or straight. Austin’s gotten bigger and its connection with the rural society around it has weakened.

  9. I guess I’m provincial, or maybe just a Texas “nationalist”. I’m a Czech-Irish Texan, have lived in several states and a few countries (China presently), and don’t take offense, but it just don’t git much better than Texas. Parts of the geography are hostile, and we have our share of horses asses, but in general, the people are the finest.

    This is a new feeling for me; I never was conscious of how affectionate I feel about my old hoe State until I was away for a while. I ran into some Houstonians at the US Consulate here, and it was like old home hour! We were of different races, but it didn’t matter, we were just thrilled to run into “our kind of people”.

  10. There definitely is a Texan “ethnicity.” I live in NYC now and being a Texan Jew is palpably different from being a New York Jew. Texans are more like Israelis.

  11. I have a friend here in Minnesota from Texas who tells me that whenever he mentions he’s from Texas people say, “sorry” and act as if they think:

    1.) That’s funny.
    2.) They’re the 1st person to think of that “joke.”

  12. It’s not personal, it’s just a short-hand people use for making sense of their worlds. Lazy, but understandable. Inaccurate, but understandable. I’d rather my daughter not go to college in Texas, bad associations for me–George Bush, etc. But for her, it’s good associations: memories of a treasured trip with her grandmother, and some favorite relatives. I’d rather she not marry a muslim, for example, my associations are negative in terms of islamic treatment of women. But who knows, Jeannie says “love chooses you”.

  13. Gee, in the Central Texas university town where I have lived for 35 years, and for a radius of a couple of hundred miles around it, the majority of residents are of German ancestry.

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