A Reply From Texas

From: "Randy Hill" <texasreb@wf.net>
To: <nhhs@fred.net>
Subject: On the Road Again
Date: Sun, 24 Aug 1997 19:19:37 -0500
Just wanted to say I found your site interesting, but have a problem with
your grouping of Texas with New Mexico and Arizona.  The region, which
along with Texas and Oklahoma you refer to as the "Southern States" is more
popularly identified as the "Southwest", and in any case, has no real basis
in terms of shared culture, history or identity.    
As a general rule Texas has very little in common with New Mexico and
Arizona, and they in turn tend to shun any sense of regional brotherhood
with us.  
While unique in many ways, Texas is essentially a Southern state, as that
region is traditionally defined. (that is, those states you identify as the
lower and upper South).  For one thing, Native-American, and to a lesser
extent Hispanic culture, played little role in the development of the Texas
identity.  The overwhelming majority of Texas settlers came from the states
of the Old South, and with them came the influences that marked the state. 
Southern migration dominated in far west Texas, but only made the tinest
penetration into a small slice of eastern New Mexico.  
The Southern Baptist church is by far the largest in Texas, and the state's
politics have traditionally been conservative (or Southern) Democrat, until
recent years when, along with the other Old Confederate states, the region
shifted as one into the new "Solid South", this time Republican.  Further, 
the brand of Republicanism in Texas is, like in the rest of the South, of a
strongly states rights variety, and much more "socially conservative" than
the brand found in the southwestern states. 
The speech may be the most noticeable difference from the states to the
west.   The famed "Texas Drawl" is, in reality, just one of several
subdialects known as "Mid" or "Hill" variety Southern.   Linguistically,
most native Texans would be right at home in Tennessee.   
I might also mention that East Texas, with its pine forests and ante-bellum
architecture is as "Deep South" in look and culture as Mississippi (and, I
might add, where the speech is the classic moonlight and magnolias
"Plantation Southern", with its dropped "r's")  This is a part of Texas (as
large as the state of Kentucky) most newcomers are astounded by, having
their image of the state formed by the Hollywood western (which were filmed
in southern California and Arizona).  In reality, the climate of Texas is
mostly humid-subtropical and a good part of the state (probably over 1/4)
is forest or semi-forest. 
And of course, Texas was the 7th of 11 states to leave the Union and form
the Confederacy, and afterwards endured the legacy of reconstruction.  So
there is a strong sense of our Confedederate heritage, and the "Rebel" flag
is commonly displayed.   
Length does not permit listing all the items which properly bond Texas to
the South as opposed to the southwest of New Mexico and Arizona, but I
wanted to toss out a few.   I would be most interested in hearing from you
on this subject, and I hope you will reconsider your classification as it
concerns Texas. 
Randy Hill

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