In simplest terms, a native Texan is someone who was born in Texas. But only the most literal-minded would be satisfied with that definition. That just doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.
To some people, for instance, it is possible to be more native than other natives, as when a fifth-generation is compared with a first-generation native. To others, the issue is not so much a matter of physical birth as of spirit. They contend that it is possible—with the proper attitude—to become a native in no time at all, say, five months to a year, with practice.
In the early days of Anglo Texas, becoming a Texan took only a few months. Actual native Texans were a minority in the state until 1880. The number of those born on Texas soil continued to increase faster than the number of outsiders moving in until 1940, when more than three fourths of the population were natives. With World War II the dominance of natives began to decline, but never was the decline so dramatic as during the boom of the seventies and early eighties. In ten years the state’s population increased by three million people. Most of the newcomers moved here from nearby states and other parts of the South that we identified with, but there seemed to be an unusual number from “up there”: the North. Not all of those outsiders came willingly, and some of them—difficult as this is to believe—didn’t like it here.
And there was the rub—a sort of cultural collision. It was hard enough for us to have