I just got back from PAX South in San Antonio, TX. Now, as a minority, I always try to be conscious of where I’m traveling. And, sorry for the offense, but Texas has a bit of notoriety. It’s obvious anywhere I travel in the US that I’m part of some minority. I figured I’d be more likely to be labeled “Mexican” in a state bordering Mexico. And since I was going to be inside the Alamo, I was maybe hypersensitive when I arrived. So perhaps take this post with a grain of salt.
After five days in San Antonio I can with surety say, I’m happier in Miami. It was very confusing for me over there. I have never, not even in Bloomington Indiana, felt so hyperaware of being Hispanic. It’s not like I was getting stared at or anything as I walked around town. I really can’t explain the feeling of “other” I had. Statistics showed that even though the majority of residents there are Hispanic, Spanish speakers are in the minority. That means when a cashier tried to explain to her manager in Spanish that I had made a mistake instead of her, she might have actually been shocked when I joined the conversation in Spanish as well.
But the pinnacle of “oh my god did I miss a confederate flag at the entrance” moment was my first day at PAX South. I was at the game pitch panel when someone suggested a game that revolved around Texas seceding from the Union, eliminating Mexican influences from Texas, and patrolling the great big wall that would separate them from Mexico. Was he trying to be funny? Perhaps. But being surrounded by a crowd who jumped up, started clapping and shouting “USA, USA, USA!” made me want to slowly crawl out the door. Especially since it was my first day in town. Not sure how you can chant USA over and over again in cheer of seceding.
But honestly, for the most part, everywhere we went people were very polite. And most of the time, it seemed sincere. My cousin lived in Houston so I’m willing to give Texas the benefit of the doubt. It’s not like Florida doesn’t turn into a red state every once in awhile. The guy with the game pitch called Austin a “hippie town” with disdain and my co-worker said Austin was pretty cool. So maybe I’d have better luck there.
So, since I always try to gauge “would I live here” when I have to travel for work (yes, PAX South was work), I don’t think I’d make it in San Antonio.