Four days ago, on February 10, 2014, Dallas sports anchor Dan Hansen — who works for WFAA Channel 8 — spoke out in defense of Michael Sam, who may become the first openly gay player in the NFL if drafted. It was such a great rant for his segment, Hansen Unplugged, and the video has since gone viral on the Internet.
Looking at the reaction on social media, it seems many people are more shocked that these words came from a sports anchor in Texas than what Hansen actually said. After all, the national perception of Texas is that the state is one of the last places people would want to go for social acceptance.
Hansen, a popular anchor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, dispels this popular stereotype.
In many ways, Texas can be considered a summation of America as a whole. The state’s geographical landscape is as dynamic as its population. Texas is a melting pot of different cultures and while there are certainly areas where social prejudices prevail, it is not much different than any other state in the country. In the winter, on the same day, Texas can have the same frigid weather of the Northeast and the more pleasant weather of Southern California or even South Florida.
Texas has a history no other state can lay claim to and can be compared more to the nation as a whole rather than any other individual state. It has been under six different flags and was its own country at a time. The state has one of the greatest economies in the country because of its many resources — both natural and industrial.
Politically, Texas confines itself to red and blue terms. Urban areas are more democratic and rural areas are solidly Republican, and yet it is home to diverse political opinions within its electorate. The state has some of the most conservative cities in America as well as one of its most liberal — Austin. Texas cannot be defined merely by its most outspoken politicians and it is important to understand that the sentiments expressed by Dale Hansen are shared by millions of residents in the Lone Star State.
I am proud to say I am a native Texan as I truly believe it is the greatest state in the union — for the reasons mentioned above and for many others not mentioned. It is unfortunate that so many people are shocked to hear a Texas anchor say, “I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine.”
Texas, contrary to popular belief, is among the most friendly states you could travel to or live in. It truly lives up to the etymology of its name, Tejas, which is the Caddo word for “friends.”