Reverberations of Racial Violence: Critical Reflections on the History of the Border
Sonia Hernández and John Morán González, Editors
University of Texas Press, 2021
“Yeah, so? It was a metaphor for justice.”U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, Republican of Hays County, Texas, when asked about the racial connotations of lynching for African Americans after he defended lynching as “justice” during a U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing on Discrimination and Violence Against Asian Americans days after the murder of six Asian Americans in Atlanta.
We can’t expect U.S. Rep. Chip Roy to have spent the pandemic learning about the state he represents. He has far more important things to do, like polishing his head and finding ways to allow insurance companies to profit more off/deny life-saving care to those suffering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the very same cancer he survived while on government-paid insurance, by repealing the Affordable Care Act.1
I mean, he doesn’t know what a metaphor is but, then again, neither does the Republican Party of Texas, though Texas GOP Chairman Allan West, himself no resource of Texas historical knowledge, did call his comment “unfortunate” while recommending he “engage the brain before firing the mouth.”2
Chip Roy didn’t grow up in or go to school in Texas. He spent his formative years in Virginia, where the lynching hidden from history didn’t involve the same genealogy, motivations or consequences as it did and does in Texas. So, it’s unlikely he’d have heard the stories from friends or family of those affected by Texas’ version of that violence. We’re all familiar with the whitewashes still called modern-day history classes, so it would be a bit much to expect 3. And, given he doesn’t even care about those clearly affected by the violence he does know about,
James A. Sandos “Recovering the 1919 Canales Investigation of the Texas Ranger Force”
1 Zheng-Lin, B., Wang, Q. and Jiang, C., 2019. Insurance Status and healthcare disparity in patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma before and after the Affordable Care Act: a SEER database study. Journal of Scientific Innovation in Medicine, 2(2), p.13. DOI: http://doi.org/10.29024/jsim.28
2 “Statement Regarding Remarks Made by Chip Roy.” Republican Party of Texas, 19 Mar. 2021, https://www.texasgop.org/statement-remarks-by-chip-roy/. For recent Florida transplant Allan West’s own misunderstandings about basic state and national history, see CNN, Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck. “Texas GOP Chairman Allen West Falsely Says Texas Could Secede from the US: ‘We Could Go Back to Being Our Own Republic.’” CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/09/politics/allen-west-texas-kfile/index.html. Accessed 10 May 2021.
3 In fact, I’ve spent nearly twenty years working in some way with Texas Freedom Network, a group specifically created by Cecile Richards to counter the Texas right’s falsifying of public school textbooks.
Soldiers with the 66th Military Police Company, 504th MP Battalion, 42nd MP Brigade conduct joint training with Customs and Border Protection Personnel at Eagle Pass International Bridge, Eagle Pass, Texas, Feb. 15. The Department of Defense has deployed units across the Southwest Border at the request of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and is providing logistical, engineering, and force protection functions. (U.S. Army Video by Pfc. Joshua Cowden)