Oklahoma--A decent place to Live--Minus the Mishap - 6/26/2012
I lived in Oklahoma for over 6 years. It has grown tremendously in that time frame. I will attempt to be impartial as I provide my opinion on the good and the bad, of Oklahoma.
The GOOD: It is relatively slow paced, which I found less hectic than living in Dallas. The traffic has increased due to lots of transplants, but it's do-able. The schools systems are pretty good, especially the colleges (OSU, UCO, OC, OCU, OU, OCC, OSU-OKC). The cost of living is relatively low (Housing, groceries, gas, clothing). People tend to be relatively friendly, at least on the surface. Okies engage in small talk in elevators, or while standing in line to place an order or make purchases. The highway system has improved and there is an abundance of jobs.
The BAD: Oklahoma still has the "good o'le boy system and is currently used in hiring. If were not born and bread in Oklahoma (especially a Texan), you may struggle a while longer to get a job. OU (Univ of Oklahoma) is over-rated. Residents (most of whom never attended OU) are the schools most loyal fans and advocates. OSU, the state of Oklahoma's official college, is often overlooked. There is extreme rivalry between OU fans and those of OSU, especially on the part of OU fans. Okies will engrave this excitement about OU in your head until it either explodes, you become an obessessive fan just like they are. In addition to imposing OU sports on you, Okies impose religion. We are in the heart of the BIBLE BELT region. While I am Christian, and religious, I find this very offensive. The weather is often cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, with damaging tornadoes (with large hail) from late spring to the early summer (March to June). If you are married, especially with kids, you will FIT in fine. If you were born and raised in Oklahoma, and don't relocate out of the state, you will survive well here like most okies. Socially, born and raised Okies (who never leave the state) along with married couples with kids, will find lots of social activity here. Okies have their established friends, most from church and from birth (elementary, grade school), and do not WISH to make new friends. If they discover you are new and from TEXAS, you won't stand a chance. Texas, due to the OU football rivalry, is Oklahoma's biggest enemy. Most Okies despise Texans, and you will be disrespected in traffic. I had to quickly get rid of my Texas license in order to have respect.
In addition: Okies tend to give off the impression that they are deeply religious and convicted to do what is right. However, I have found them to be racists, hypocrites, obessessive with sports, casinos, drugs, partying, and other contradicting behavior, contrary to religion.
Statistics: Highest incarceration rate of women, highest child abuse cases, highest divorce rates, are among a few alarming statistics. There is a high drug and prostitution rates also here. Oklahoma also ranked number 1 city for having lots of obese residents, and lots of smokers. This states that most should take their focus on their health instead of some of the things I mentioned.
Conclusion, if you LOVE sports (OU college FB or pofessional BB), are married with kids, are chain smokers, who are obese, and have your own set of friends and not looking to make new ones, Oklahoma may be for you. If you are overly religious or a judging fanatic, you will fit right in. If you like very slow paced cities, that are at least 10-15 years behind most other cities, you will be okay here. Good luck! You may have better luck than I did. It was not the worst place for me to live, but I have seen way better, and have actually lived out of the state of Oklahoma to know the difference. [read more...]
OKC is a Nice, Affordable place, but has racism - 6/23/2012
In response to Darryl, who wrote a post in March 2012, I have to agree with most of what you say, but when it comes to racism, I partly agree and disagree. First, I must say that NO RACE has an excuse to be racist, not even Native Indians, regardless of what happened to them. You alluded to the fact that the US Army were commanded to force the Native Indians to obey their orders, even if it meant taking their lives. Have you forgot about the torture and murder of blacks in the Infamous "Tulsa Race Riot" of 1921, where both the local Tulsa police and military were ordered to destroy the black union of individuals, known as Black Wall Street, the ones who originally owned and earned the oil money in Tulsa. All that money the blacks made and it was taken from them, their land, houses, and possessions. The Native Indians were not the only ones who were taken advantage of or killed.
Back to Oklahoma:
Some likes regarding Oklahoma is that people are somewhat friendly, but from a "standoffish perspective" They are this way because they all were born and raised in Oklahoma and rarely left the area or state of Oklahoma, for that matter. Their circle of friends consists of those made in early grade school, up to high school. Most people know each other and each other's parent. This is characteristic of a small town.
OU Sports and various religious doctrine will be forced upon you, along with Republican politics, which overrides the Democrats. This is a red state and nothing of a Democrat nature even passes.
People are racists, especially against blacks, and focus on every negative things, including murder, or other crimes, that blacks commits. Read the blogs. When whites commit crimes, most people are hush about it.
Oklahoma has progressed in the last 10 years, but is still 15 years behind Texas, and I don't care how mad this makes Okies feel. IT is the truth. Just ask Okies, who are in Texas most weekends taking advantage of the futuristic, first class, and enjoyable fine dining and shopping. The roads are better, and there are lots of business establishments that are unheard of in Oklahoma.
If you are not young, married, or have kids, you will find social trouble in Oklahoma. Marriage is a requirement to fit in. Lots of "fresh out of high school" married couples. By the time they are in the mid 20s, some have been married and divorces more than once. High divorce rate because of the pressure to marry young, most incarcerated female population in the state, along with high cases of child abuse. Lots of meth, drug cases by Caucasian men. Minorities usually do marijuana. Many meth labs and people with no teeth as a result of the meth use. Surprising this happens in the heart of the bible belt, called Oklahoma.
Been in this state for 10 years, and I actually love/hate it, which equals like. I am okay here, but it does not satisfy me. The college education is great here and affordable. If you move to Oklahoma from Arkansas (except Little Rock), Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama (except Birmingham), Tennessee (except Nashville or Memphis) and Missouri (except St Louis and Kansas City), you will absolutely love Oklahoma! Why? Because you already will be living in a bible belt, religiously fanatical area, and here would make you feel right at home. If you are Old fashioned, Caucasian Conservative Republican, you will fit in great in Oklahoma. Good luck! People from more fast paced states, outside of the bible belt region are staying away from Oklahoma, and generally move away fast, after they get here, usually within a matter of weeks or months. Great that we have an NBA, but it is going to take more than one NBA professional sports team to be considered a progressive state. IT is going to take many years, like 20-30 of them, and to get rid of the racist, conservatives in order for change to invoke this city right in the current century.. NO doubt!! Good luck![read more...]
Haters gotta hate . . . - 2/21/2012
Born & raised here in OKC, lived outside of Oklahoma for several years, but came back in 2009. There's no reason to gripe about the climate--it's not gonna change. The weather is highly variable here; one winter can be bitterly cold, blizzards, LOTS of snow (for a city in the south) maybe an ice storm, and the next mild with hardly any bad weather. Same thing for summers. Typically they start out hot and humid (with our famous tornadoes) but by mid-July things dry out and it's hot and dry, through September. No where near the pollen of the southeast (this was a surprise to us, the first year we were in Jacksonville FL--a layer of yellow dust on everything--cars, sidewalks, streets, lawns, etc.). Lots of folks on here are wanting to say that Oklahoma's full of crack/meth heads, drunks, etc. Well, maybe the folks they were hanging out with were, and yeah, there are some around, but it's not as bad as other places. If you're looking for a place without drunks or drug addicts, try moving to Saudi Arabia. The schools are generally OK--don't believe the ratings on some of the various websites, though. Oklahoma is definitely a 'red' (Republican) state, which gets real old real fast for a Democrat (I've found that my grandad was right. He was an honest-to-God Okie, made the long trip out Route 66 to California in the back of a Model A Ford, whose mother died out there because they couldn't afford to get her to a hospital--my grandad was a life-long Roosevelt Democrat. And I've come to agree with him; seen too much of big corporations screwin' the little guy--which makes me a minority here in OKC). I'm white--no way around that--but was raised specifically, very intentionally, by my parents to be anti-racist, and yeah, I've kept that up in my life. (This was in response to the way they were brought up--racist--and the fact that they both came of age in the 60's.) Yeah, that makes me a minority here too; there's a lot of racism here, and it's the one thing that troubles me most about my home state. But it also made me a minority in Jacksonville, and in New Mexico, and elsewhere. It's a sad commentary on our entire nation that we are still, just below the surface, still so divided on racism; probably 3/4 of the opposition to Obama here in Oklahoma is from the color of his skin (as if his politics weren't enough). There's the surface 'show' stuff, where most people proclaim they're not racist, but if you scratch the surface you'll see that they still are--just without the courage to admit it or face it--or change it. And it goes both ways--make no mistake. There's as many (percentage-wise) black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American racists as their are white (though having been brought up in Oklahoma I'd have to say that the Native Americans have the most right to think that way--the US Army was never sent out with orders to kill all blacks that refused to submit to white authority). Which brings up another issue--casinos! The Native Americans are getting their revenge; they're all over the place. In fact, if Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Tecumseh, and all the rest had realized that the best way to defeat the white man was not to fight him but to play to his greed, the tribes would own this country today! Anyway, I've heard repeatedly that OKC is probably the strip-club capitol of the US; I wouldn't know. Other than when I was in the Army, I've never been to strip clubs. As for other night life, well, heh heh, there's the Thunder, the NBA team, keeping up that grand Oklahoma tradition of being the underdog that comes out of nowhere to make a very serious run for the championship. Sports are big here, though I'm sure we'll never get an NFL team (too bad!!) 'cause that would cut into the Sooners (OU) revenue. And OSU's football team is moving up too, thanks to their huge benefactor T. Boone Pickens. There's the Barons minor-league hockey team (also doing VERY well) and the Red Hawks minor-league baseball team. Hunting and (especially) fishing are also very big. Oklahoma politics are a mess. Oklahoma City would easily be the largest city in the US, in terms of land area, had our politicians been able to get along. The metro area is a hodgepodge of smaller communities that seceeded from OKC--Nichols Hills, The Village, Warr Acres, Forest Park, etc., plus others that have been absorbed--Bethany, Del City, Midwest City, Moore, etc. Corruption, behind the scenes, is rampant, and always has been. About 30 years ago, all 77 county commissioners were indicted on corruption charges--every single one was on the take. A recent FBI sting operation didn't turn up anything, but my take on that is that the politicians are getting smarter about concealing things. And at the national level, our senators are a disgrace (in my opinion). At least they're consistent--wacko, but consistent. And they've been in DC so long it would be to Oklahoma's advantage to keep them there, given their seniority. So we keep them there, where they can protect our state's interests. But I for one would prefer it if they just shut up and never made another public announcement--better to remain silent and thought a fool that to speak up and remove all doubt. Paving roads is a lost art here in Oklahoma. The state provides a free service to truck drivers--we rearrange their loads for them (that is, thanks to the vast collection of potholes). For all of my life there's been a construction zone on I-40 west of OKC, between OKC and Clinton; it moves from time to time, but they'll never finish it. There's another one south on I-35, too, that'll never be finished. Ditto on the I-40/I-35 interchange just east of downtown; they recently finished the latest revision, so it's about time to do it again. If you're used to driving back east, our interstates are woefully undersized for the amount of traffic; where you'd have 5 lanes, we have 3 at best. This makes rush hour traffic a huge mess, which in turn ratchets up the stress level, so lots of people drive like @-holes. But if you've ever driven in Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, or any other truly big city, you've got a definite advantage over the locals here. The only problem is that the locals sometimes are unpredictable, so you've got to be aware of what's going on, 'cause they'll get stupid on you. A lot of the city proper is run down; there are some big initiatives to improve this, however. The biggest one was Bricktown, just east of downtown. 20 years ago this was just a collection of mostly vacant brick warehouses (hence the name) and now it's a big retail and almost touristy area. We created the Oklahoma River (which is a local joke) by damming 7 miles of the North Canadian River and sticking 'Oklahoma River' signs everywhere. It's not bad; they've got an Olympic team training center here now (for rowing). The Midtown area, north and a little west of downtown, is currently undergoing a major renovation. The people on the northwest side tend to be more flashy, sarcastic, and agressive (especially when driving), while the southwest side folks are more laid back. A big section of the city, from about NW 39th to SW 74th, is predominantly Hispanic. I-35 also forms a big dividing line. The northeast quadrant is predominantly black (and I've already discussed racism issues), and the southeast side, which includes Del City and Midwest City, is more of a mixed bag of lower- and middle-income families. Also on the southeast side is Tinker AFB, which is the state's single largest employer and a major player in the city's economy. Churches--yes, there's a bunch. However, the only ones that are really growing are the non-denominational megachurches. The small neighborhood churches typically have an older, almost elderly congregation, with 50 or less in attendance (which is sad to see--just a handfull of people in a great big church that used to minister to 250+). They're just not attracting the younger people; instead most of them (that is, of the small percentage of young people who go to church) are going to the megachurches. Incomes are, from what I've seen, a little below the national average, but cost-of-living, especially housing, is much cheaper, so it's kind of a wash. The one thing that you can't see--or at least you hope you don't see--is the Oklahoma response to a disaster. April 19, 1995 and May 3, 1999 are two dates that are critical to understanding OKC and it's people. The Murrah bombing and the May 3rd tornado, and the community's responses to these were amazing, astounding. The support we gave the rescuers was incredible. Word would get out that they could use some more googles--and a couple of thousand pair would be bought by individuals, donated, and brought down to the bombing site in a matter of hours. Same thing when the 5 or 6 rescue dogs on scene needed new 'booties' to protect their feet from the broken glass--150 pair appeared at the site before the sun set that evening. The same sort of thing repeated over and over, countless times; blood donation lines were nearly a quarter-mile long. Everyone, EVERYONE, did something to help out. The May 3rd tornado was the stongest ever recorded--OU's Severe Storms Laboratory doppler radar measured a wind speed of 316 mph, just northwest of Tinker AFB (that's another thing--our tornado warning systems are the best in the world--all that technology was developed HERE. Florida is the best at dealing with hurricanes; Japan's the best at dealing with earthquakes; we're the best at tornadoes). The response to this killer tornado was similar to after the bombing. (Thanks to those warning systems and training, our death toll was only 42--anywhere else and it would have been in the hundreds, perhaps as much as a thousand; I was there--I saw it first-hand.) Everything that was needed, everyone that needed help, got it in spades. The haters who wrote all that other crap about OKC evidently weren't here then. For it is this response to disaster and misfortune that is the true spirit of Oklahoma. True, New Yorkers came together in a very similar way after 9/11--but it was Oklahomans that showed the world how to do it.[read more...]