Random Ephemera

Why I Don't Consider Texas a Southern State

I've stumbled across a strange controversy while perusing various Internet forums in recent years. There are passionate arguments being made about whether or not Texas is part of "The South."

I had never really thought much about it, to be honest. Growing up in the Houston area, I would very occasionally run across some older person who would use the term "Yankee" in reference to someone hailing from a Northern state, but that was rare in my neck of the woods. As I got older, and spent time traveling through the Southern states, I noticed that there was a certain similarity in how they "felt," a homogeneity in culture that I didn't notice existing to any large degree in Texas. I just never really thought the Lone Star State felt like the "South" very much.

But there are people who claim that we ARE definitely a part of "The South," and that it's impossible to deny. I've come across many a passionate online argument over this subject. To me, the fact that this is even up for debate sort of proves that a lot of folks just see Texas as something different culturally than other Southern states - there's not similar disagreement about the "Southern-ness" of say, Alabama or Mississippi.

Now it's true, far East Texas feels very Southern. Having spent a lot of time east of Beaumont, that part of this state does seem nearly identical in culture to other parts of the South. But this is a very big state, and East Texas isn't enough to claim the rest of it for the South.

Also, from a geographical position, there's no argument that Texas is located in the Southern portion of the United States. But geography isn't what I'm talking about; I'm talking about cultural similarities.

So why don't I think that Texas is culturally similar enough to other states in the South, to claim some major connection with the rest of them? There are lots of reasons.

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.