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  1. #26

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I've also heard the term Mid-South used for Oklahoma, which to me would better describe Arkansas and Missouri.

  2. #27

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac C. Parker View Post
    It's a fascinating subject. I think it's helpful to remember what kind of regions we are talking about; physical regions and cultural regions are quite different, but the former can influence the latter.

    Historically, references to "the Southwest" almost always included Oklahoma (or Indian Territory). As the country grew west, "the Southwest" shifted farther and farther west. Around the time of statehood, "the Southwest" referred to "the South, west of the Mississippi" in many contexts, and included Arkansas and Louisiana as well. Of course, many in Oklahoma still think of the Southwest as Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and the Oklahoman and a host of local businesses still refer to Oklahoma's region as the Southwest.

    Since the 1940s or so, "the Midwest" has grown to be included in the collective geography of Oklahomans. Interestingly, the term's popularity here seems to coincide with the rise of OU Sooner football and their association with the old Big 7 (later the Big 8) schools of the Midwest. It wasn't until the 1980s that the United States Census Bureau renamed its "North Central United States" region to the "Midwestern United States" region, which does not include Oklahoma. Many local organizations have adopted this name for Oklahoma's region, but that definition often includes Arkansas and Texas as well (which are hardly culturally part of the Midwest). I do feel like this is the trendy answer for what Oklahoma's region is, as was evinced in something about "Midwestern values" in OAK's press release.

    And then Oklahoma's place within the South has perhaps sparked the most debate of any of these regions. Oklahoma wasn't a state that seceded to form the Confederacy to start the Civil War, which is an automatic disqualifier for many people, although the Indian Territory was held by the Confederacy for years and was given delegates to the Confederate Congress in Richmond. But culturally, Oklahoma is often grouped with the rest of the South today, and based on cultural hallmarks like accent, religion, politics, food, music, etc., Oklahoma has certainly earned this association with the South. To be sure, most of Oklahoma's settlers came from the Upper and Lower Southern states, although Northerners largely comprised Republican Northwestern Oklahoma. A similar demographic confluence is found in all of the other "border states" of Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia. It's also hard to ignore Oklahoma's sordid history of Jim Crow that was very comparable to the other states in the "Upper South."

    Being a physical region rather than a cultural one, the Great Plains clearly encompasses a chunk of the western half of Oklahoma, and many people remark that Oklahoma feels like a "Plains State." Somehow I don't consider myself a Plainsman, though.

    Is Oklahoma a mix of all of these regions? Is there one region we belong to? Has Oklahoma's region changed over the years? Is this something that only Oklahomans get to decide, or is academic or national consensus important?

    Anyway, I find this topic worthwhile and surprisingly unsettled. I hoped the video would inspire some quality discussions.
    I think for the majority of persons when asking this question, what they really mean is "Where is your state located in the cultural landscape?" and Mr. Parker's fourth paragraph is an excellent explanation of Oklahoma being classified as the South.

  3. #28

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Regarding accent, Okies have much more of a 'twang', similar to Texans.

    Southerners have a very distinct drawl. So much so, I can have a hard time understanding people from the deep south.

  4. #29

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Both cadences are still slower and "drawlier" than anything coming out of the Northeast.

  5. #30

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuplar View Post
    Southern plains is what I think of, but most people outside Oklahoma usually refer to Oklahoma as the Midwest.

    Southwest doesn't fit at all to me as I associate that region with the desert. I think we are closer to fitting South, especially culturally than the southwest.
    the southern plains is the best answer

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