[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Waco isn’t as right-wing as you think

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Waco isn’t as right-wing as you think

I just read your interesting article comparing Austin and Waco (“Religion and politics mingle very well in Texas” Oct. 31). As a person who has lived in both cities, there was some truth to what you said in the article.
However, there were some inaccuracies that I feel I must point out. Your assertion that Waco/Crawford is racially homogenous is wrong. The racial makeup of Waco is as follows:
White: 51.7 percent
Hispanic: 23.6 percent
Black: 22.8 percent
Other: 1.9 percent (This includes multi-racial persons, and I would assume Asians also.)
To compare, the racial makeup of Austin is:
White: 52.9 percent
Hispanic: 30.6 percent
Black: 9.8 percent
Asian: 4.7 percent
Multi-Racial: 1.6 percent
Other: 0.5 percent
This information was taken from 2000 Census statistics, available on both cities’ Web sites.
While Austin certainly has a more significant Asian population than Waco, it is obvious that Waco is overall more diverse. It’s also worth noting that there is a very significant Czech population in Waco, and the city of West, Texas (about 15 miles north of Waco), is almost entirely Czech. I mention this only because in the article, it was asserted that Waco is mostly Anglo-Celt, while Austin is predominantly Germanic in heritage.
I would also like to say that I have found Austin to be no less discriminatory than Waco ― if not more so. People in Austin constantly refer to even middle class, minority neighborhoods as the “ghetto,” while in Waco, many neighborhoods are racially mixed. I met many more tolerant, open minded people in Waco than I have in Austin. Austin is a more liberal town than Waco, but Waco is not the conservative mecca it is sometimes made out to be.
Comparing a city of 113,726 (metro population: 213,517) to one of 687,562 (and a metro population of more than a million) is rather like comparing apples and oranges.
I can say that no one I know living in Waco appreciates George W. Bush’s presence in Crawford. I would also like to point out that, as a native-born Texan, I cannot in any way consider the president of the United States a Texan. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and according to the presidential Web site, grew up in Midland, Texas, which is very far from both Austin and Waco. So, I cannot agree with the statement that Waco/Crawford is “Bush country.” Remember, Bush has visited his ranch in Crawford for a few years, but spent more than eitht years in the Governor’s Mansion, here in Austin, Texas.
Thank you for your time, and an interesting article.

by Alexis Gilbert
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