Hi there! I can see I’m the first Austin resident to comment on this piece. I’ve lived here eight years.
Your experience echoes similar experiences from women of color who’ve shared their stories either publicly or with me. Austin is, indeed, “liberal" if you define “liberal” as “voting democratic in elections.” Beyond that, it’s still a capital city in a very conservative state, a state that in foreign countries if you say you’re from here, they laugh and immediately talk to you about all the guns we have here.
What makes Austin more “liberal” than other cities similar in size? The truth is … not much. It’s a sunny Portland, a warm Minneapolis, a Brooklyn without the other four boroughs. It’s *called* liberal because, relative to the rest of White Texas, it very much is. Dallas, Houston and San Antonio are populated by large swaths of White Texans, very into god and guns, very NOT into Mexicans, Muslims and people of color. By contrast, much of Austin is White Transplants. That said, many of us come from other parts of Texas. (Not me, I come from New York.)
Austin’s racist history is evident in everything: the Texan War for Independence happened because White Land-owners wanted to own slaves, and couldn’t because Mexico had outlawed slavery. So they fought to secede. Then, nine years later, it up and joined the US as a slave state. The founder of Texas? Ha. Stephen Austin.
It’s, sadly, no better here than other cities in the US, and, honestly, it’s getting worse. The way generations of Mexicans and Texicans have been systematically pushed out and priced out in addition to blacks is staggering and feels as if it happened overnight.
So while, yes, it’s true that 65-ish percent of white Austinites voted democratic last election cycle, that means there’s still a greater than 1-in-3 chance that a White Austinite voted for Trump. That’s 1-in-3 more than ideal.
I’m sorry it sucks here. I’m happy to connect you with black women who make this city awesome, some of whom do hella amazing activist work to push against exactly what you wrote about and more.
Great piece. You picked up a new follower.