Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Am I A Real Texan? What Makes Someone A Texan?

In addition to this blog you’re reading, I’m also a featured politics reader-blogger at the Houston Chronicle. At that space, I’ve often been criticized by readers for not being a native Texan. They say I’m a carpetbagging Yankee.

Here’s how the subject was addressed by a Chronicle  blog reader who goes by the name typical_white_man——-”TexasLiberal=Yankee nit-wit! The whole piece is worthless because as 5genTexas so aptly provided the definition for treason, which the YankeeLiberal (there is nothing Texan about this idiot!) was clueless.”

This reader was writing in response to my post that Texas Republicans are talking treason.

Am I a real Texan? What makes a real Texan?

Let’s see—

I was born in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts. I did not live there long.

Between 1968 and 1980 I lived in Providence, Rhode Island. Below you see a picture I took last year of the Providence hurricane dam. Just as I could tell you about Hurricane Ike, my father could tell you about the 1938 New England Hurricane.

While living in Rhode Island, I was a Rhode Islander.

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Between 1980 and 1998 I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. Below you see a picture of Cincinnati I took from a city park maybe two years ago. (Here is a story on the damage Hurricane Ike did in Cincinnati last year. My parents were without power for a time.)

While living in Ohio, I was an Ohioan.

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From 1998 until the current day I’ve lived in Houston, Texas. Below is my windswept rainswept Hurricane Ike photo of a flooding Buffalo Bayou to show that I do live in Houston, Texas.

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What am I while living in Texas?

You got it!— I’m a Texan!

It does not matter that I spent 13 years in New England or that I lived for 18 years in the Midwest.

All that I need to be a Texan is to live in Texas. I’ve been a Texan for 11 years.

Texas has 24 million people. No one thing defines all these people except the fact that they live in Texas. Definitions of what makes someone a “real Texan” or a “true Texan” are sure to leave many people out.

All I’ve got to do to be a Texan is live in Texas.

A better way to identify people would be to see them as individuals. This is better than creating a definition based on one’s own inevitably limited and erroneous assumptions of what defines a certain place. (Here is my autobiography in 220 words.)

If what you see below is your image of a Texan, you are free to have that thought.   But when you try to impose that notion on others, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to ride off into the sunset.

File:Texascowboys2.jpg

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April 22, 2009 - Posted by | Blogging, Houston, Texas | , , , , , , , , , ,

20 Comments »

  1. I was born and raised in Texas (as were both of my parents), and I’m proud to say you’re a real Texan in my eyes.

    Comment by jobsanger | April 22, 2009

  2. Thank you Jobsanger. I also declare you an honorary Rhode Islander and Ohioan.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | April 22, 2009

  3. Great argument, but I am sad to say typical_white_man most likely will always think otherwise. Even though I was born in Houston, Texas, I am sure typical_white_man would exclude me as being real because I am female. Personally, I am embarrassed that someone with his mindset is from Texas ;) . . .

    Comment by Peggy | April 22, 2009

  4. I am glad you are in Houston, Texas because then I can be proud that a Texan has such smart things and thought provoking things to say.

    Just look at the username: typical white man.

    Now, just what is a typical white man?

    Comment by Saleema | April 24, 2009

  5. Peggy–Well, if its any solace–and I know it is not— people like that live all over. Texas does seem though to have a few extra like that.

    Saleema–People are smart only if they have the support and blessings of other smart people.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | April 24, 2009

  6. I was born and raised in Texas, as was my parents and grandparents. Third generation Texan here and proud of it.

    However, after living here for 39 years, I would gladly move to a cooler climate if I ever won the lottery. I would love to live in a climate where an A/C isn’t really necessary.

    Comment by Jody | June 9, 2009

  7. Jody–Thank you for your comment. Maybe you could move up the Panhandle where they at least have a winter.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 10, 2009

  8. You are not a real Texan unless you was born here. Go home yankee!

    Comment by REal Texan | August 22, 2009

  9. I was born and raised my first 19 yrs in texas but I’m not proud to be one. I think that most of the texan people are snobs, full of pride. They say everything in texas is big. That’s true they all walk around with a big heads. If living in texas makes you a texan then I’m glad I’m a phoenician.

    Comment by a humble person | October 6, 2009

  10. i am not proud of what men do but i can still be proud as a man. i am not proud of what white men have done through history but i can still be proud of being white, you can still be proud of being a texan even if you dont agree or feel the same as the avg.

    Comment by bill brady | October 7, 2009

  11. sir,
    I am a texan, yet I do not live in Texas. I moved to hawaii years ago, but I will never be hawaiian. It is not the fact that you live in Texas that makes you texan. It is the collective experience we all had growing up there. I sit here, after midnight, yearning for for the youth that I never wish for my daughter. You see the texan experience is both heaven and hell. I will not go into detail here about my youth. I will say that at first texas was a wasteland that nobody wanted. We took that land and made something great of it. When the mexican government saw what we could do, they wanted it back. We fought and died for it. And when I say we, I mean members of my family died for it. Being raised with the values of making something out of nothing through hard work, and being ready to die for your principles, that is texan. True Texans have always been outsiders. A true texan should embrace individual thought and respect the thoughts of others. Respecting others is texan. In my saying that living in Texas does not make you Texan, understand that I am not trying to exclude you in anyway. But understand, no matter where I go, no matter where I am, I will always be haunted by the fact that I am Texan. It is not something that I can cast aside and it is not ego. People have made fun of the way I talk, the fact that I say yes mam and yes sir. My wife(not a texan) has given me tons of shit over the years about my “cowboy” mentality when it comes to injuries and such. People have implied to me that those of us from texas are ignorant, and bunch of backwoods dumbasses. There have really been times, when I wished I did not have to say I was from Texas. I am. Texas made me who I am. I am sorry I have written so much. Just please understand, I am a Texan if I like it or not. You don’t get to just decide to be as much. You might as well decide that since you can fly in a plane that you are a bird.

    Comment by kris | February 10, 2010

  12. You think that because you live in Houston you’re a Texan? That’s funny, since out here in rural Texas we don’t even think of Houston as being in Texas. Be that as it may, I could move to Las Vegas tomorrow and never be a card shark. There’s more to it than your address.

    1. Do you love Texas? You don’t say you do. I grew up in Indiana but I absolutely love Texas. I adore her and I will never leave her. Where would I go?

    2. Do you respect Texas? Your rambling, disjointed post mocks those of us who believe in the cowboy on the horse. You even suggest that we ride off into the sunset. That’s not very Texan.

    No Hoss, you may live here but you’re no Texan. You don’t love Texas. You mock her. You don’t respect those of us who feel differently than you. You show contempt towards us. I don’t know of a single Texan who would act as you do. You may fancy yourself whatever you please, but you act like a Yankee carpetbagger.

    If you want to be a Texan, it’s up to you, Hoss. Love. Respect for those you disagree with. Common courtesy. An optimistic attitude combined with a propensity to look forward rather than look back on places like New England and Ohio.

    One last thought, Hoss. A real Texan doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone. You want to be a Texan? Then be one.

    God Bless.

    Comment by Jon | February 22, 2010

  13. As long as I pay taxes to the State of Texas, I can define being Texan in anyway I wish. Nobody appears to be refusing my tax dollars. The notion that the largest city in Texas is not really a part of Texas gives a sense of how open your views are on the subject. There is no “common courtesy” at all in that view

    Comment by Neil Aquino | February 23, 2010

  14. Holy Smokes!

    Reading some of these comments has me thinking Texas is mean spirited. My Wife and I are transplants from New York and currently living in Puerto Rico.

    We are looking forward to moving to Texas and settling down outside of Austin in the Bastrop area. We talk all the time about how good it’s going to be, to be in Texas. We’re excited about moving to the Lone Star State and can’t wait to set foot in the lower 48 again, then drive across that Texas state line!

    Are we in for a rude awakening? Are people going to look down on us and call us yankee carpetbaggers. And to the individual who wrote, “You are not a real Texan unless you was born here. Go home yankee!” with an exclamation point no less!

    Holy smokes again! Really?

    Can I offer you a beer and a handshake and call a truce to a stereotype I would prefer to not get involved with?

    We ARE coming and we sure hope to find nice people as neighbors. See ya when we get there! Enjoy the day!

    Comment by Stefan Grieb | January 3, 2011

  15. The thing that settles this argument is the King of the Hill episode called “Yankee Hankee”. look it up on youtube. i was born in chicago but my folks moved here when i was 6 months old. lived here my whole life as far as im concerned. I am Texan. you dont have to be a native Texan to be a Texan. Example: Davy Crockett Jim Bowie, and most of the great men that fought at the Alamo… My dad who was raised in tennessee used to always say, If it weren’t for tennessee there’d be no Texas.

    Comment by Joe | November 17, 2011

  16. If you are born in America, you are an American regardless if you move to Africa, Europe, Russia or China…unless you should gain citizenship in China then I guess you could be a makeshift Chinese…even if you were to be as gringo as the sun is bright. As someone else has already mentioned, being born in Texas makes you a Texan…well, a 100% Texan, anyway. I guess if you’ve lived here (in Texas) all your life, you could consider yourself a makeshift Texan. This isn’t sports where you can be a Texan one year, a Buccaneer another year and a Giant another year, etc, etc, etc..

    Comment by Mike Jones | November 4, 2013

  17. @Joe thinking King of the Hill has the answers…simple question: If people come illegally into the USA and have lived here over a certain amount of years, does that make them American? You can consider yourself a Texan all you want but that won’t make it true. By the way, Texas was here and Tennessee has squat to do with it. Texas might have been a part of Mexico but it’d still be Texas…or maybe Tejas. ;)

    Comment by Mike Jones | November 4, 2013

  18. @Stefan Grieb, most of us Texans are cool but as is the case with almost anybody else, if you try messing with us and telling us who is what and what is what, etc, etc, etc…then yes, you’ll be in for a rude awakening. Come in peace and ye shall find it, come here guns a blazing and ye will be shot. It’s nice to know that other people that haved moved here want to consider themselves Texans now but simply put, if you’re born in the USA you are considered American and if you are born in Texas you are 100% Texan…anything else is not.

    Comment by Mike Jones | November 4, 2013

  19. I just got done reading some comments, even from some so-called Texans and alot of it is garbage….even that hawain fool trying to make one think Texan is being something from the past.

    Ignorance is abundant everywhere, even here: 13.As long as I pay taxes to the State of Texas, I can define being Texan in anyway I wish.

    Those idiots that came to America from the Middle East paid taxes in America for almost everything they bought, etc… Now then, am I saying every person from the Middle East is an idiot? No, I am speaking of those that learned how to fly planes into some building in New York on 9/11. Taking your ignorant theory, we should consider them Americans because they paid taxes.

    I was born in Texas and nothing will ever make me embarrassed to say I was born in Texas or that I am a Texan. Yes, we have some snobs here but we have snobs everywhere….people consoder each and everyone a snob but many of us don’t accept it cause you’ll use your family/friends as proof of you not being one but outside that circle, you could be the biggest snob….just like now when you said just cause you pay taxes you will consider yourself a Texan. That is as disrespectful as those idiots that flew those planes on 9/11 calling themselves Americans.

    If you can’ accept the simple fact that being born in America makes you American, how could you possibly understand much else? Yes, it really is that simple. You didn’t have to fight here like that other idiot said, you don’t have to be a cowboy and own a ranch, hell, I myself can’t stand many of those snobs that think that way….you just have to be born here. How can a Hispanic such as myself go to Massachusets and pretend to be a “cracker”? I take it you’re white and think because of that you can do and say whatever you wish….truth is, you practically can, the Constitution allows you to make an idiot of yourself if you wish but just cause you think it, does it make it true.

    By the way, I’ve been to Mississippi and I’ve never seen such racist people in all my life.

    Anyhow, next thing we’ll be hearing from you that you moved to China and now you consider yourself Chinese cause you pay taxes there.

    Comment by Mike Jones | November 4, 2013

  20. My last words….”Texas has 24 million people. No one thing defines all these people except the fact that they live in Texas. Definitions of what makes someone a “real Texan” or a “true Texan” are sure to leave many people out.”

    My birth cerificate defines me as being born in Texas, not actually in the USA but since Texas is part of the USA, I am a Texan first and an American after that. I only have one hometown or to be politically correct, “place of birth” and that defines where my roots are from. Being my roots are from a certain city in Texas and I guess we can say branching out would be like moving to other parts of Texas but sometimes the wind blows and leaves of other trees fall on the tree we call Texas but does that make that leaf a Texas tree? If I have a Magnolia tree and a Maple tree side by side, and a maple leaf falls on a Magnolia tree, do we now call that leaf a Magnolia leaf? We might have idiots that will think so but then again, that’s why they’re idiots. Not trying to offend anybody…that doesn’t deserve it anyway.

    We have plants from all over the world, some are only native to certain parts of the world and when they are brought to the US, the names of those plants remain exactly the same….as do those of animals. Do we change the name of a Lion because it was born in a zoo here in the US? Or are they still considered African Lions? Point is, why do humans think they have to be special? If you were not born in Texas, you are not a Texan…deal with it and move on…it doesn’t make you any less of a person.

    Comment by Mike Jones | November 5, 2013


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