Half of my laughs each day are generated from Twitter, and I get the same amount of quick news from there as well. I go on the app to scroll through memes or see headlines, and my Twitter time a few days ago was no different. However, I quickly saw a response thread that deeply saddened me as someone from Texas. The original tweet in the thread stated “when you’re going to tweet #PrayForTexas [in the wake of Hurricane Harvey] but then you remember this”—followed by a photo of a map of the electoral college, showing Texas’ 32 electoral votes and a very red state.
Some people apparently found this hilarious, as it garnered thousands of likes and retweets. Others (myself among them)—not so much. Usually, I am the first to point out Texas’ flaws. It’s hot all the time, it’s too traditional, there are too many guns and Confederate flags, and quite frankly, Texas and I are just not compatible. Once I leave for college, I do not plan on living here again. But this time, I realized, things were being taken too far.
Charlie Hebdo, a French magazine, recently published a cover depicting neo-Nazis drowning in the hurricane, with a French caption that translates to: “God exists! He drowned all of the neo-Nazis!”
I am a Texan. And every day I fight for social justice and equal rights for all. I am Jewish and Texan, and every day I am appalled and horrified by anti-Semitism and racism. However, as soon as I say, “I’m from Texas,” people think that they know what my beliefs are.
Not all Texans are conservative, or Trump supporters, despite what others may believe.
I lived in New York for five months and the spring, and when I went to take my ACT in a town in Westchester, I showed the proctor my Texas driver's license. He smugly smiled at me and said, “Thanks for Trump,” while ushering me into the room. You can imagine how that test went.
But the truth is that every major city in Texas went blue in the November elections. It was only the small, rural towns that swung our state red—a trend that applies not just to Texas but nationwide.
No, I am not proud of how red our state is, especially not as a very left-leaning, politically aware woman. However, if you feel the urge in this moment to spew your dislike for Texas all over the internet, think about your timing. The damage from Harvey has been classified as “once in a lifetime devastation”: thousands of people have been displaced, there’s been millions of dollars’ worth of damage, entire towns on the Texas coast are completely ruined, and the whole state has been thrown into complete calamity over the last week due to this storm.
What’s more, Houston is the most diverse city in the United States (it’s true, look it up!). In other words, it’s not neo-Nazis or Trump supporters that are being afflicted by the aftermath of Harvey: it’s people of all races, religions, nationalities, ethnicities, orientations, and any other identifiers you can think of.
The joke’s on you, Charlie Hebdo.