When you think of Texas what do you think of? Big Belt Buckles, women not being allowed to drive, giant hats, guns, good ol’ boys and weird politics? You’re not alone. Unfortunately these are the stereotypes about this state that have endured. Sure, some of them have been helped along by a few of the state’s residents, but there is so much more to Texas than meets the stereotypical eye.
The best example of this is Austin. Austin sits in the southern part of the state and has become nationally famous for, among other things, its liberal politics and its South by South West festival. SXSW has helped introduce Austin (and its surrounding areas for convention goers who have time and money to explore the area) to people from all over the world. It is currently one of the nation’s fastest growing cities and is just as metropolitan and modern as any of the major cities on the country’s coasts.
Austin isn’t the only city that has been working hard to buck off the stereotypes of Texas. The other major cities (Houston, Dallas, etc) are also getting in on the act. There is, for example, a thriving Dallas Yoga scene, with more studios opening every day. Houston was ranked in the top 30 cities for single people to live in and in the top twenty for best cities in which to open a new business by Forbes magazine.
The cities aren’t the only areas of the state that are embracing the same trends that are overtaking the rest of the country. Thanks to the state deregulating its energy industry years ago, more and more people both urban and rural are choosing to work with utility companies that provide renewable energy. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is working hard to educate the state’s residents on ways to help their environment through recycling, composting, conserving energy, etc. The fact that there is a Texas Commission of Environmental Quality at all is a sign that the state is working hard to throw off its stereotypes.
The truth is that the stereotypes that most people believe about Texas and its residents only represent a small portion of the state’s population. Yes, there are going to be some people there who drag their heels and don’t want to catch up to the rest of the country, but this is true of every state. Instead of focusing on them, focus on all of the ways that Texas is working to catch up, keep up or even surpass the rest of the country.