Texas gets picked on a lot by people who don't live here. Often the butt of unkind jokes, the Lone Star State was picked as the most hated in the United States in a 2013 Business Insider poll, so it's clear that at least a few people don't have a kind view of this state or its people.
Yes, I realize that many of us don't care what these negative creeps think. That's a very Texan attitude, a sort of "kiss my ass" defensiveness that is understandable considering the crappy attitude some people have about Texas. So what are some of the reasons many outsiders seem to dislike us?
5. Our Politicians Often Stink, and Do So Nationally.
Most politicians tend to do stupid or even evil-sounding things from time to time, and some seem to make a career out of being powerful scumbags. That seems to be a constant almost everywhere in the nation. But there's something different about politics here, and about the politicians that seem to rise high enough to get attention outside the state. I can't count how many times I've had to discuss the inexplicable Bush dynasty, and explain that no, not everyone in Texas voted for them, or Rick Perry, or Sheila Jackson Lee, or Ted Cruz. It's hard to blame people for thinking we're crazy down here, considering some of the jokers that we've put in power over the years, but it's not rational to blame the whole state for electing these clowns. It took a nation to elect Bush (Senior and Junior), after all.
4. Texas Tends to "Go Big," and That Bothers Some People.
This state is full of a diverse population of people, and a lot of the time things get done in a big way here. Whether we're talking enormous megachurches, the nation's widest highways or just the way many people tend to speak and act boldly -- well, some people from outside the state can't handle that. They think that it indicates an arrogance, but the reality is that a lot of Texans just like decisive action and big achievements. And why not? I won't contend that those projects always work out well, but sometimes they do, I think that Texans just tend to have a can-do attitude and aren't afraid to take chances.
3. Texas Has Its Own Identity and Image, and Some Outsiders Hate That.
Sure, every state has its own unique culture that defines the place, and the way it differs from other places is usually what people pick up on and either like or dislike. But certain states have a really strong personality, and Texas has one of the nation's strongest. We tend to welcome just about anyone here, but start complaining about Texas or the people here, and you're likely to meet with a ton of attitude. Very few people care what your opinion is in that case. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way back to Vermont or wherever. Texas is loud, it's big, and it's got its own culture and customs. Most people here don't care how you do things in Maine. If a person starts in with a condescending attitude, he or she isn't going to find the welcome wagon rolling out at very many places here.
My take on this is simple. A few states seem to stand out as especially "different" from others. California and New Jersey are good examples. And people all over the country will criticize them for their perceived excesses and strong identity. Texas is also one of those states. The thing is, it means that there's something interesting here, because people don't gripe or talk about places that are boring.
2. It's Hot. When certain people from outside this state bitch about why they hate Texas, one of the things that comes up routinely is our climate. Some of those haters will act as if Texas's temperature is ample evidence that it is indeed located in Hell and that it is punishment for our collective awfulness as a state or a culture. Some will act like we live in a lava pit and that survival here is nearly impossible. I'm not sure what to even say to those criticisms. "Toughen up?" "Quit whining?" Good grief. Yes, it gets hot, but I'll take the heat over a blizzard, personally, and air-conditioning systems were invented years ago. I could understand the bitter griping if "Texas gets hot" were some sort of secret that we hid from outsiders, only to spring it like a mean trick on them once they were stuck here, but come on. Yes, Texas is hot. No, it doesn't make it impossible to live here, and no, the residents of this state aren't crazy for enduring it, nor are we somehow to blame for it.
1. There's No Culture.
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I hear some variation on this constantly from idiot commenters who enjoy bashing this state. I've spent a lot of time in places like New York City and various cities on the West Coast, and I like most of those places, but they're not the center of the universe. A lot of the people who slam Texas as having no culture either have never been here, or they're just boring types who don't do much anyway yet are somehow upset when they perceive they're missing out on "culture." This state is one of the most diverse in the nation, and certain cities such as Houston shine in that regard. There are plenty of museums, a lively art scene, music, theater. Pretty much anything a person could want to experience can be accessed in Houston. Other Texas cities offer different cultural experiences for people living there or visiting, but most of them have interesting things going on.
This is a lazy and convenient way for people to slam the people of this state. "There's nothing going on down there. It's hot, and the people are all ignorant rednecks," that kind of thing. Patently false, and a common tactic.
There's something I often say to people when I'm explaining how dynamic and amazing a city Houston is, but it can be applied to the whole state, really. Texas didn't fail people who come here and can't find interesting places to go or great things to do, they failed themselves. There's plenty to experience here, and they should've tried to find those things.
In the long run, it's almost pointless to defend a place against people who wrongly describe it as a horrible place to live. It's not like those types of folks are likely to change their opinion. Like arguing with strangers on the Internet, it's largely pointless. Texas and Texans tend to be bold, for better or worse, and a person either appreciates that or doesn't. It's not like we're hurting for new residents. People from all over the world are streaming to the Lone Star State for one reason or another. Perhaps some of these overly critical people are just jealous of our success, resistant to admitting that there are some pretty amazing things going on here, or maybe they're just bitter cranks. There are plenty of those walking the Earth, too.