I routinely forget that I’m in Texas. You’d think the blazing heat, mammoth-size bugs, and flat horizon would keep me well-attuned to my surroundings, but honestly, sometimes I forget.
I had such a moment last night at the movie theater. Our audience, ready for a grand time with Mamma Mia, first watched several previews, one of them for the upcoming film The Express. It’s the true story of Ernie Davis, a football player in the 1960’s for Syracuse University and the first black man to win the Heisman Trophy. The preview showed several scenes of the prejudice and discrimination Davis faced. One of the characters says something to the effect of: “But we’re doing all right in the South.” Another character replies: “You haven’t been to the South until you’ve been to Texas.”
I let out a loud “harumph” sound, something akin to a snicker. Oops.
My embarrassment grew as the preview showed angry Texans, Confederate flag a-wavin’, giving Davis’ character a horrible time. I suddenly wondered what the rest of the audience was thinking. It’s one thing for me – a recent (and disenchanted) transplant to all but snicker at the mention of Texas – but how does it feel to have your home filleted on screen, even if there are ugly parts to your history?
I guess I ought to know the answer to that, though it didn’t occur to me until just now. Being a Latter-day Saint (Mormon), people think they know all sorts of things about me based on history or just heresay. Only I know who I am in my faith, and if others would like to know, they should ask me.
I can scarcely believe that I have found a reason to identify with Texas and Texans. I *highly* doubt I will ever be truly converted to loving it here, but maybe my heart has been softened just a bit.