Are we still ‘us’ versus ‘them?’

Page one headline in a recent Valley Morning Star read, “Texas Hispanics behind half of state’s growth since 2010.”

Instead, why wasn’t the headline, “White Texans still largest demographic group in Texas,” or “Texas White population continues to drop?”

Having served in the Armed Forces and being a Vietnam Vet, I never recall being called a Hispanic soldier, nor the Hispanic worker while working in a law office in Northern California, or the Hispanic retiree when I finally retired last year.

I hadn’t realized I was still considered a “Texan of color” when I returned to the Valley last year after my retirement.

It offends me, because I had always considered myself an American and a Texan.

Evidently, however, by the way we are perceived and viewed by Texas, I have been wrong all these many years.

And here I had thought the struggles and indignities my parents that gone through in the Valley of the 1940s and 1950s was something now part of history.

I recall many young Valley residents serving and dying in Vietnam, the majority of them “Hispanic.”

When their obituaries were printed in the newspaper the words “Hispanic Soldier” were not typed in front of their names or underneath their picture.

The reason is quite simple. Because they were American Soldiers, first and foremost.

And here we are today, page one headlines dividing us into “us” and “them,” after so many decades of prejudice and discrimination. When will this end?

When will Americans of whatever nationality be able to call themselves simply an American, with no prefix or hyphenated word in front of it?

“White Texans” embrace us when we join their clubs, walk the halls of our Legislature in Austin as an elected official, win state and national political offices, or buy homes in what was once “White Texan” alcoves throughout the Valley.

But the recent headlines screams to me that what I thought had long become obsolete still remains in Texas society – a culture still steeped in 1940s and 1950s views.

Why couldn’t the headlines simply have read “Texas population continues to grow?”

And as a “Texan” I would have welcomed the information therein and statistics, as I sat having breakfast at a local diner in the “Hispanic Texas” only area. Sorry folks.

But let’s move forward not stagnate in mores and behaviors of the past that have no place in the Texas I live in and love.

Al Garcia

American/Texas Harlingen