Diversity is old hat in Texas…
A land very different from the blue blood east coast, Texas has long been a melting pot of many different cultures
by Mark Vogl
Thursday, August 25, 2011
It’s Texas, the land of tall tales, legends, and a magic that to this day makes it unique among the unique. Where other parts of the America have been assimilated into a kind of vanilla milk toast extension of Britain, Texas stands apart, resistant to the process of cultural homogenization. The modern phenomena of "diversity" rings kind of hallow in Texas. Texas was diverse when diversity wasn’t even a word in the lexicon. It is inherent to Texas that there are very different cultures all sown together through a patchwork of time.
One Texas elected official, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, (a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans) has done the unthinkable for a statewide official. He sponsored the application for a Sons of Confederate Veterans state license plate. And in a recent article Patterson defended his actions while citing Presidential politics as a possible motive for delaying approval of the plate. Acknowledging the importance of the diverse culture, Patterson also sponsored a licence plate for the Buffalo soldiers, a group of black soldeiers who defended the American frontier againt indians.
Texas was first indian, ok Native America for the political correct. The indians were of different tribes with different life styles. Those of East Texas were very different from those of the western part of the state. Then came the Mexicans, and the Spanish and Catholicism. Long before St. Patrick’s in New York City came the Catholic missions of Texas. Then came Americans in all sizes and shapes. Most of the early Anglos came from the South and were Scot, Irish and German in origin. The wide expanse of Texas, and the lean pickin’s of land kept the populations dispersed and thus kind of incubated the various settlements and culture, allowing time for them to blend. The fundamental Protestant faiths came with the Anglos. "Gone to Texas" was a well-known sign hanging on many a front door in the Carolines and across the South after the war. (Yes the war, the one that ravaged the South and forever destroyed the original Constitution, that war.)
Today Texas sees the manifestation of diversity in controversy over two specialty license plates which have been requested by seemingly opposite not for profits. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a fraternal patriotic and heritage organization has requested a plate featuring the Confederate battle flag. And a group honoring the Buffalo soldiers has also made a request for specialty plates. The Buffalo soldiers were cavalryman of African – American ancestry who took over defense of the frontier after the end of the Civil War. The operations of the Buffalo soldiers were mostly against native American indians, thus addng a point of controversy to their storied and honorable service. Today’s political correct can’t seem to get their arms around the need for defense against raiding indians. But they may grant amnesty to the reputation of the Buffalo soldiers, due to strong PC counter pressures.
So the question now comes to Texans, can you see an equal right to honor all veterans who serve their nation or state? Is the First Amendment for all, or only for the PC not for profits?
Some 50 to 80 million Americans may be descendants of Southern soldiers. And while many, maybe even most, are unaware of their own blood line heritage, still millions of Americans do honor the men of the South. The Confederate Battle flag and Dixie may have been taken out of the schools, and put in the public closet, but if you drive the roads of the South you might be surprised how often you see the crimson cross fluttering in the breeze. Only a southerner can explain it. Foreigners, like Yankees, will demean it, make fun of it and misunderstand it. They will say its racist, when in fact, it’s more about regional pride and family than anything else. Internationally, the Confederate battle flag is a well recognized symbol of defiance against oppression.
So it is possible that a real test of the principle of "diversity" is blossoming in Texas. Is there room for all, or only some? Can diversity really occupy the same space and time? Should Jews and Arabs be asked to cohabitate in the confines of the Middle East but not African Americans and white Southern men in the expanses of Texas? (By the way, inside sources indicate the local state organization of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preparing to call for adopting of the Buffalo soldiers license plate!) One new avenue of research about the Civil War is the part African Americans played in supporting the South. Yep, and the findings will likely shock the known world! But that’s to come.
Texas is being Texas, and most Americans love that. Think I hear the melodious notes of Dixie…. better go get a mint julip!