Google+

Remember the Alamo!

Remember the Alamo!

Every year March and April bring to Texas bluebonnets, gorgeous nights and memories of Texas Independence.  Stories help you sort through memories and help you understand who you are in the world.  One story that does that for me is the Battle of the Alamo.  This was the celebration of the 176th Anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, where that Battle Cry of “Remember the Alamo!” was immortalized.

On March 6, 1836, the assault led by the Mexican commander Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana killed probably 250 Texians inside the gates of a Roman Catholic Mission called El Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.  I remember.  I remember Fess Parker being killed.  I remember crying as a 12 year old at the movie “The Alamo” as John Wayne swung his rifle around.  I remember.

I also know there are no monuments in Mexico City to Santa Ana.  The on again-off again dictator and caudillo is not remembered, at least not by the people who won the battle.  There is no celebration in Mexico on March 6th of the victory in San Antonio de Bexar.

I cannot visit the The Alamo and not think of all of this.  It is a shrine, a memory, a place now of ambivalent feelings.  As one of my friends once said after visiting there again:  “How can it be that the two peoples I love so much fought and killed each other in this spot?”  In order to live cross culturally you have to learn to understand your view of how the world works and someone else’s.  Somehow they both have to help you make sense out of living

Worldview is how we see and construct the world around us.  It is a complex interweaving of stories, symbols, practices and some key questions about how the world works.  These stories we tell, and history is story, help us relate to our own past and to the present.  We tell the stories so that we can know.  Every year in elementary school we colored a picture of the Alamo, just like we colored cherry trees on Washington’s Birthday.  Those symbols: that place, that axe and cherry tree, meant something.  Except now for me, the battle for the Alamo carries different meanings.

There was a 1987 made for TV movie, “The Alamo, 13 Days to Glory.”  Our family was in the United States for a year sabbatical from Mexico.  My children were 7 and 4 at the time.  I was watching the movie on one TV while they were watching some children’s show.  I was so enthused by the movie I made them come in to the room I was in to watch it.  This was Texas; this was our story, and they needed to learn it!  As the final assault was taking place and the Mexican Army was storming the walls and killing Texians, my daughter, who had been raised in Mexico from the time she was two, yelled out in Spanish, Adelante los Mexicanos!  I died on the spot.  No I wanted to say, Anne those are the bad guys the guys inside the Alamo they are the good guys.  Except it wasn’t quite that way anymore.  For her, for them, who else would have been the heroes?  That is worldview.

So the story of the Alamo illustrates this shifting of worldview that has to take place in cross cultural understanding.  It so directly affected my own life. The story I grew up with, from coon skin caps to John Wayne took on a different meaning.  Who were the bad guys?  What did the symbol of that day really mean to me and my understanding of how the world works?  Living cross culturally I came to understand that my story wasn’t in conflict with the Mexican story, but somehow different.   I learned to reinterpret them both and myself.

Worldview makes all the difference and understanding worldview is one of the most important ways to understand another culture.  You have to understand the worldview stories.  The stories use the symbols: an abandoned Spanish Roman Catholic Mission, a rebellious people, an enemy, and they help shape the world.  But seeing the story from another perspective helps you see that the other culture, even that of the enemy, has its own stories and you learn.  The practices of visiting “a sacred place” or even not recognizing an historical date, have to be reinterpreted cross culturally.  There are no “quaint or superstitious practices” in other cultures; there are stories about how the world really is, about reality.  Living cross culturally is not just about going to a beach resort, living more cheaply somewhere, or taking advantage of tax breaks.  It has to be about learning, though not necessarily agreeing with, their stories, symbols and practice.

So a story, a place a memory, a memorial, is not just something out there, it is part of who I am.  But now another story and  place also became a part of me.  If I allow them, they become intertwined with my own stories and life. Living cross culturally means you let those stories intertwine, even if it means reinterpreting your own world.  “Remember the Alamo!” or  “¡Adelante los Mexicanos!” which is it?  I get both of them and they help me see who I am, and what other people see as reality.

Dr. Michael McAleer

Austin, Texas

If you are interested in cross-cultural training please write me at therebedragons@austin.rr.co

My blog is “There Be Dragons” at WordPress

© August 2012 Michael McAleer and Third Gringo Productions

Entertainment

Bittersweet Prodigal Daughter Parable Arrives on DVD

  The Levelling DVD Review by Kam Williams Bittersweet Prodigal Daughter Parable Arrives on DVD It's not very clear whether Harry Catto's (Joe Blakemore) death was a murder or a suicide. One thing's for certain, though. It wasn't merely a mishap, because nobody accidentally sticks a gun in his own mouth and pulls the trigger. The cops suspect that he killed himself, but his father (David Troughton) is too much in shock to press them to … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Cop under Fire

  Cop under Fire Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America by Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. with Nancy French Foreword by Sean Hannity Worthy Publishing Hardcover, $21.99 272 pages ISBN: 978-1-617-95857-1 Book Review by Kam Williams “David Clarke refuses to bow a knee to political correctness, and he refuses to give his party over to the hands of black activists whose politics would destroy America. … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Finding a Hobby that Fits Your Personality

  Finding a Hobby that Fits Your Personality by Amy Lignor   Although there are many out there who turn to their computers or cell phones as their hobby, there are just as many others who want to be more creative. They want to learn something new and fun to do in their spare time. They’re not looking for cash, they’re looking for a way to relax and ‘get away’ from the daily grind. Of course, when it comes to choosing the right hobby, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Go Tripletail for Tasty Fare, Sporting Challenge

  Go Tripletail for Tasty Fare, Sporting Challenge By Craig Lamb Catching the tastiest inshore fish of them all, while fishing for a species that is a master of disguise. You get that challenge and reap the benefits at the table when fishing for tripletail. The tripletail gets its name from the dimensions and placement of the dorsal and anal fins, which resemble additional tails. The tripletail has a triangular head with the eyes on top … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

“Sin City” Becomes Acceptable?

  “Sin City” Becomes Acceptable? by Amy Lignor   So…what changes will occur if an NFL team hits Las Vegas? Not many, actually. Perhaps more of the ‘contract money’ will be lost considering the blackjack tables ARE right in the vicinity; however, NFL owners seem just fine with the fact that the Raiders will once again wave good-bye to their “Nation” and relocate to Sin City. But when you look at the news headlines, the NFL has and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Making Money Online

  Making Money Online by Amy Lignor   Yes…there are books, audiotapes, videos on YouTube, seminars, webinars and every other ‘nar’ you can possibly think of that offer up information on how YOU can be a millionaire using nothing but your own home computer. Of course, if wealth were that easy, no one would be clogging the highways on Monday morning. They would be home in their robe enjoying the day and counting their oodles and … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Travel: Leaving the Commonplace Behind

  Travel: Leaving the Commonplace Behind By Amy Lignor   What is the definition of a vacation? Well, there are those living in the snow who believe their vacation should come along with the warmest beach and a few fancy drinks with little umbrellas in them so they can relax before heading back to the deep-freeze. There are also those who sit at desks all day and dream of a vacation that allows them to hike those trails in the Great … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]