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Good Night, and Good Luck

Fall 2016 TBR Editor's Note


Editor's Note:

Good Night, and Good Luck

by William Jensen

Texas has a history of violence and conflict. Texas also has a history of generosity and kindness. Even the name of this state stems from an old Caddo word meaning “friends.” The Lone Star State is complex and even messy at times, but everyone from Longview to El Paso wants Texas to be the best and the brightest. Sometimes Texas lives up to this ideal. And sometimes, sadly, it does not.

   On November 9, 2016, flyers were posted here at Texas State University that called for the “arrest and torture” of “deviant university leaders” that advocate for diversity. Another flyer encouraged violence toward minorities. Since then there have been numerous reports, on and off campus, of harassment and assault upon members of the LGBT community and people of color. Similar crimes have occurred across Texas and the rest of the nation. It may seem now that the world is on fire, but none of us here at the Center for the Study of the Southwest will bow in fear to bigotry, racism, or hatred. I believe Texas deserves better. I know Texas can do better.

   Texas cannot be Texas without diversity. With influences of Mexican culture from the South, the traditions of German and Czech immigrants in the Hill Country, the communities of African Americans (descendants from the horrible days of slavery in the East), and the rich history of indigenous peoples across the state, Texas is a place of many voices. And to be against that is to be against Texas.

   We have inherited a world made from our fathers’ crimes, but we do not have to live in our ancestors' footsteps. We can rise to the occasion and defend freedom and stand up for a place where reason, hope, and courage are true virtues and not simply empty and shallow words. We have the opportunity to prove we have learned from the past and are not doomed to repeat it.

   This is not the time to gently look the other way. A duty is on all of us to be our brothers’ keepers. Lyndon Baines Johnson, an alumni of Texas State University (then Southwest Texas State Teachers College) once said, “Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance.” All of us here at Texas Books in Review believe LBJ was right, and we hope you keep reading and keep learning and help keep the Lone Star State truly special and diverse.