Native Texan, by Zetta Brown

A person sitting on the ground in front of water.I was born in a very small North Texas town, and I was born a Negro…which became black…which became Afro/Black/African-American. But while American society came up with new names to call me based on my race, I just considered myself a Texan.

I remember as a child playing in the red dirt of my parent’s home town, eating Moon Pies, drinking grape Nehi or red cream sodas, giant pickles from a pickle jar, salt-and-vinegar chips like a home-grown Southern kid. I think it’s very telling that my earliest memories of living in the South centers around food.

Then we moved to Colorado and snow, which had been a novelty before but became a part of life. It didn’t take me long to realize that I’m not a huge fan of snow. My parents were surprised when we were showed homes in racially diverse neighborhoods. We wouldn’t be “blockbusting†after all.

Years later, circumstances and finances had me moving back to Texas and living with my parents. I was nervous at first, considering the stories my parents told me about growing up in the segregated South, but when I arrived and visited the small hometown my parents grew up in, I was shocked at what I saw.

A small North Texas town more racially integrated than some of the neighborhoods I left behind in Colorado.

After living in Colorado for 17 years, I came back to Texas. After living in Scotland for over seven years—I came back to Texas with my Scottish husband who loves it here.

Why? Because my roots run very deep here, unlike some of the politicians who have represented the state in recent history. Despite these “prominent†citizens, the people of Texas really are friendly, are caring, and do have common sense.

Living in Texas has made me appreciate history and especially the history of my family. History is nothing but a bunch of stories; some of it is fact, some of it is fiction, but it’s all about the story. Texans have been known to tell a tall tale or two.

The South is full of myths, legends, and stereotypes that mix in with reality and creates a wealth of inspiration for stories. But sometimes these elements turn into propaganda—for better or worse.

Is Texas perfect? Hell, no. Ever wondered why there are so many churches in the South? Because there’s a whole lotta sinnin’ goin’ on! You can’t take us at face value. You have to come and experience it for yourself.

So come on down to Texas. You may not have been born here, but like the bumper sticker says, you should get here as soon as you can.

Zetta Brown is an editor and the author of several published short stories and a novel. Her short story “Devil Don’t Want Her†is set in Texas and available as an ebook. She blogs about writing and editing at her Zetta’s Desk blog ( and has a featured blog at called [REALITY CHECK]

22 thoughts on “Native Texan, by Zetta Brown

  1. Enjoyed the post. I find that people who aren’t from the South are also surprised by Arkansas. The office I work in is culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse. My best friend is a born and raised southerner with roots in the Pacific Island of Guam. Down in Dixie we are a true melting pot. Looking forward to my next trip down to your lovely state.

    1. Hi Lisa – I discovered the same thing. There are “old, proud Southern families” that don’t make nearly as much noise as those who came later. Some wish for the “good ol’ days” but others have more sense and can see how the “old” ways did more harm than good in the long run.

    2. Hi Lisa – I discovered the same thing. There are “old, proud Southern families” that don’t make nearly as much noise as those who came later. Some wish for the “good ol’ days” but others have more sense and can see how the “old” ways did more harm than good in the long run.

  2. Reblogged this on Zetta's Desk and commented:
    This was written before the terrorist hate crime in SC, but it does touch on a few of the issues we’re dealing with in the aftermath. Check it out. πŸ™‚

  3. I understand how living in Texas has made you appreciate history and especially the history of your family. One of the things I like best about the South is its deep sense of history and the importance of family and place. Our families contribute so much to the people we are.

    1. History IS such a big part of the South, but it’s funny how so many people try to ignore it or rewrite it to suit their needs, but they end up embarrassed when the facts speak for itself.

  4. I am Zetta’s Scottish husband. Before we had even met I was a regular visitor to the USA, mostly Florida but also California, New York, Nevada to name a few, so I wasn’t a US ‘virgin’ when I moved here. But Texas is different, it’s something you really have to experience. People really are so friendly, far removed from the curt nature of many of the younger people in the ‘Ned’ culture of Scotland. And in my time here I have made friends, friends from all over the human spectrum. We all meet, we laugh, we enjoy food. Racism still exists in this world – it’s blunt and clear from what you se on the news too many times – but it’s certainly not clear among those I consider family and friends here in Texas. I do love it here.

    1. Hi Hunny! πŸ™‚ You forgot to mention how Florida scares me because I think I’m going to be eaten by either a gator, a python, or a sinkhole.

      1. Hello there Mr. Brown! I’ve been telling Zetta that I want to get my Scottish heritage husband a kilt! After reading this post and remembering a photo I saw of you a while back, I just think I’ll do that sooner than later. I do love the post and was most appreciative of your comments about living in the South. My husband and I never left, but we re-discovered our country home in Tennessee after living in “town” (in North Alabama) for 15 or so years.

        With each family moving into our tiny, rural area, we inch towards the diversity you and Zetta describe. We’re not there yet but are heartened. Nashville, however, is very diverse and usually tends to “vote liberal.” In fact, just recently, the city elected a young female liberal for mayor! Yippee!

        I love our state and our history. As Zetta says, we’re all part of the stories. Some of us just couldn’t stay away from them!

  5. Native Texan here, black woman married to a white man, and I get this. While nothing is as simply as the sterotypes many choose to live by, no place is perfect. Everywhere seems better to someone else all the time, but to visit a place and truly see it, experience it, and immerse yourself in the diverse peoples, clashing cultures, and welcoming or judging religions is understand it. There’s no place like Texas and for some that’s a good thing. I live in Virginia now, and while my VA existence is more racially diverse than I’ve ever experienced in the many visits back to TX,Texas will always be part of me.

    1. Hi Toi! I’ve only been to VA once years ago and thought it was very pretty. Very green and lush.I’d like to go back and shop at Black Dog Salvage LOL. It’s funny, I’m a Texas girl but my older sister still lives in CO and prefers it.

  6. I very much enjoyed this post. No wonder I’ve felt a kinship with you since we met on SheWrites years ago! We’re both from a South we understand and appreciate. Lord knows, if someone read my op-eds in the newspaper, they’d surely marvel at why I put up with such things that go on around here! But, when you are born and raised in the South with memories as bright as neon signs, it is in your blood. I would very much love to come to Texas to see you. I hope you will come to Tennessee to visit me too. Kisses.

    1. Hey, Emily! Come on over! πŸ™‚ As far as going to Tennessee. Land of Jack Daniel’s? Count me in! πŸ™‚
      Your op ed piece is, I’m sure, a breath of fresh air and that’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular.

      1. After my latest post replying to your husband, I scrolled down to read and saw that I had already commented. So, that just goes to show you that I must’ve liked it very much AND that I have a pea brain with scant memory!

  7. You are right on the money Zetta, as always. πŸ™‚ Though I do tease Texans for being Texans, I’ve always found that inter-personally I get along with Southerners WAY BETTER than with Easterners or Northerners- if we’re going to be geo-specific. On paper, it seems like I would get along better with Yankees because of their liberal political views, yada yada. In person, I found them to be about as friendly as a goddam bag of snakes. And NASTY. Whoa. I’m supposed to be a writer too and I don’t even have words for it. My anthropologist sense tells me that’s just what happens when you put too many people in a tiny space and make them fight over resources. And vice versa- on paper, I”m not supposed to get along with Southerners at all. But in person, they’re the most open-minded, open-hearted people I’ve ever encountered. Warm, hospitable, accepting for who you are. Whatever color, doesn’t matter, they’re just plain nice. Like Nebraskans…. with better weather.

    1. Sooz! You need to come down here so I can show you my roots. πŸ˜€ Just be prepared for the heat.
      Yankees are like a bag of snakes, eh? I guess most of my former co-workers came from the North, then. πŸ˜‰

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