After reading “University not reflective of ‘Christian’ in name,” I felt compelled to address an issue that has been bothering me for a while.
When I am walking in the hallway, I hear people saying “pop” instead of “Coke.” In the library, I hear people greeting one another with “Hello” instead of “Howdy” after talking about a night spent at Purgatory instead of Billy Bob’s. After observing these attitudes and actions on campus, I have to wonder about the significance of attending a Texas university.
I have classes where professors imply there might be flaws in our state’s policies that deserve revision and re-examination. I even have a class where they suggest that Texas is different from when Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin established it as a republic.
Some will say I am being extreme, but wasn’t William B. Travis also extreme when he drew a line in the sand at the Battle of the Alamo? If my knowledge of Texas history serves me right, all of Travis’ men crossed the line and most of them died defending their soon-to-be country. The founders of Texas made no room or excuses for deserting the values they built this country upon. Everyone who understood and cared about their cause followed them to uphold the core values of Texas.
The word Texan has been in common parlance since the 1800s. It served to separate Texans from the other people in surrounding areas. It didn’t necessarily prompt persecution, but it did discriminate between Texans and the people of other lands and allegiances.
I wonder if Jim Bowie, who had his deathbed carried across the line in the sand to die at the hands of Santa Anna, would be OK that only 75 percent of the students at our Texas school are from Texas. Even more upsetting for him and fellow founding fathers would be the answer to this question: How many of the 75 percent that claim Texas as their native state act like true Texans? So many students have traded in their cowboy boots for Uggs or Sperrys. The ratio of trucks to sedans in student parking lots is devastating. I do not think we have ever been called together to recite the Texas State Pledge.
How am I supposed to consider this Texas Christian University if I am not expecting everyone to uphold behaviors that I consider the root of Texas identity?
What I am saying is this: The TCU core values are academic achievement, personal freedom and integrity, the dignity and respect of the individual, and a heritage of inclusiveness, tolerance and service. I am sure that if I start expecting everyone to adhere to my standard of what a Texan should be – even if they aren’t Texans – I have done a disservice to my peers and myself. I will have devalued who my peers are and where they come from instead of asking about the important and interesting heritage they might have to share with me. The disservice to myself is that I’ve only allowed for one narrow view of what it means to be a Texan and I am not allowing myself to grow and stretch while coming into contact with those who see it differently.
Whitney Waller is a junior religion and English major from Garland.