Texas stereotypes: fact or fiction?

After studying abroad last semester in India, I have come to notice that nearly everyone had a negative reaction when I said I was from Texas and “” usually being the first person they have ever met from this state “” I was plagued with weird questions. Gone were the days when people automatically assumed that my life resembled “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.” Instead, many individuals that I encountered while abroad thought of Texas as the town in “Footloose” “” just on a much larger scale. Here were the most common questions and responses that I encountered last semester:

1) “Aren’t all Texans racist?”

After developing a friendship with a girl in my program who was from Brooklyn, she told me that “You know, I am surprised you aren’t racist, being from Texas and all.” I have a racially diverse family so it would just be illogical and create many awkward holidays. I find Texas to be racially diverse and I am not making the grandiose claim that racism does not exist here at all, but racism does exist everywhere.

2) “As a Texan, shouldn’t you be conservative?”

We have had some Republican gems represent Texas. The first ones that come to mind are the Bush family and Rick Perry. Because these political figures have such strong personalities they usually dominate national and international news more than their Democratic counterparts. Therefore, people assume that all Texans share the same views as these Republican politicians.

3) Papa Bush and Baby Bush

This partially ties in to #2, but a frequent reaction I got when I revealed to people that I was from Texas was, “Oh, Bush.” That would literally be it. They said it with no emotion, with no connotation and they were not alluding to anything. They also did not clarify which Bush they were referring to. So, umm… you are welcome, World.  Except if they were referring to the band Bush “” they’re from London.

4) State Pride

Texans are notorious for their state pride. And hell yeah, we have every right to be. There are great people from Texas: Beyonce (yes, I intentionally put her first because she is a goddess who deserves it), the Castros, ZZ Top, Buddy Holly, Slim Thug, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, LBJ, and Tom Landry. I literally had to make myself stop this list. In keeping up with the music motif from the list, we have SXSW, Austin City Limits and Summerfest. Boom.  Also, we are home to Dr. Pepper, of the best barbeque in the whole world, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Tex-Mex and Shiner. Furthermore, you need to go outside right now. Feel that””it’s over fifty degrees and it is freaking winter, man. But to end on more pragmatic facts: Forbes deemed Houston as the “Coolest City in America,” US News titled Texas as the “Top State for Business” and there is no state income tax. We are living the dream; how could we not boast about it?