Wednesday, June 5, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 144



'Don't mess with Texas' facts

Matthew E. Caster

In the nine months since September 11, a new definition of "political correctness" has emerged. Whether you view so-called "pc-ism" as good
or bad is up to you, of course. Throughout this summer, I'd like to focus on how political correctness affects our society, taking a look at both the
good and the bad. Today, we'll start with the bad.

In late February of 1836, 189 Texans barricaded themselves inside a tiny mission in San Antonio against the wishes of the commander of the
Texas resistance, Sam Houston. Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, embarrassed by the fact that his relative, General Cos, had
lost the city of San Antonio to the primarily American Texas rebels a few months earlier, set out to eradicate the resistance.

The grueling, 13-day battle between Texan fighters like Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and William B. Travis and the invading force of several
thousand Mexicans climaxed with all 189 Texans, and at least 600 Mexicans dying. It is one of the proudest moments in Texas history, and
"Remember the Alamo" became the battle cry that catalyzed Sam Houston's victory over Santa Anna several months later at the battle of San

As one of almost 10 million native Texans in this great state, I'm very proud of what those brave souls did at the battle of the Alamo. Some are
not so proud, however. A recent report on indicates that the Houston Independent School District and several other districts in
the state are updating their Texas History curriculum. The new curriculum neglects mentioning "Remember the Alamo" and other facets of
Texas pride that emerged from Texas' struggle for independence. 

Administrators claim that this move is designed to create a friendlier environment for Hispanic students, particularly Mexicans, who now make
up nearly 40 percent of all students in Texas public schools. The traditional "us versus them" attitude has been taken out of the curriculum.

This action sets a poor precedent on several levels. First of all, the new text implies that Mexico has some sort of moral claim to Texas; sort of a
"you were a part of us before you were stolen from us by a bunch of reactionary American immigrants." This sort of material may even
encourage a future separatist movement by over-zealous Mexicans who are brainwashed into believing Texas should still be part of Mexico.

The fact is that a course in Texas History should teach exactly that: Texas History. This course should teach that 189 Texans were given no
quarter by a Mexican army of perhaps 6,000. It shows that those 189 Texans chose to fight to the death so that Sam Houston would have time
to build his forces.

To deny the heroism of the brave souls who fought and died in San Antonio in defense of the great state we live in today is equivalent to spitting
on their graves. If they want to teach the Mexican History approach, let them do it in Mexican History. If we want our children to know why and
how Texas got to where it is today, let's teach the whole story of those 13 days in February and March of 1836.

Many question why such a drastic rewrite of history is necessary. For example, the United States and Great Britain are pretty good friends. A lot
of Americans live in Britain, and a lot of Brits live over here. That's great. It promotes cultural diversity. The last I checked, however, American
History still teaches that General George Washington spanked the snot out of General Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781.

Likewise, in the last 20 years, Germany and France have grown very close. Commerce between the two nations is similar to U.S. Mexico
trading. Roughly 15 to 20 percent of each nation's population is made up of descendants from the other nation. However, I seriously doubt the
French will ever rewrite their textbooks in such a way that their students never learn how Germany invaded France twice in only 30 years.
Likewise, the Germans will have a hard time forgetting that France, promptly smacked them back where they came from.

This is an example of political correctness going too far. As wonderful as it is that our state can be so diverse in culture, such extreme
measures to rewrite history are absurd. It is often said that history in war is written by those who won. Why must we rewrite history to spite
ourselves for those who lost? I want my kids to know, and be proud of, what really happened at the Alamo, and how that led to Texas becoming
what it is today, not some watered-down version of history that makes it sound like Texas was stolen from Mexico, or separated without a fight.

Caster, a senior petroleum 
engineering major, can be reached at

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