This Ain't Texas


Derin Adunbi

1st Year MPH Health Behavior Health Education Candidate

As I prepare for my trip to San Antonio, I think about something that was said during the first week of class: be aware of your biases. I like to think that I am a person who can set aside her biases in the face of a greater cause, but I’m only human. 

When I think about Texas, one of the first things that comes to mind is that episode of Spongebob where he and Patrick make fun of Sandy for being a proud Texan and essentially equate being Texan to being dumb. It was funny as a child, but now I think about the ways that this stereotype shows up in conversations I’ve heard in person and online. The number of times people have joked about people in the South being dumb or wanting the South to be its own country so ‘normal’ people can be in charge is alarming. This isn’t helped by the fact that many Southern states, including Texas, have come out with laws that attack the rights of women and trans people’s access to care. 

There are so many negative stigmas that are attached to the Southern identity that it would be easy to let it influence the work we do in San Antonio. I think it’s important to interrogate those biases and ask yourself: are all these things true? Sure, you can look at all the negative news stories coming out of Texas and feel that the work you do might be meaningless. But it’s also important to think about all the positive stories that are hidden amongst the negative ones. 

So, while I’m nervous about the work we will do in San Antonio, I want to open myself to a new version of the South. One full of beautiful people, culture, and positive stories!

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