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  1. #1

    Default Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySdEcLWd7uI

  2. #2

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    ^

    All started with Bill Hader from Tulsa claiming he grew up in the Midwest.

    First of all, Tulsans above all other Oklahomans like to align themselves with Missouri and the Big Ten region, even though nobody else buys that.

    Oklahoma -- along with Texas, New Mexico and Arizona -- could be considered the Southwest. And I reject any attempt to put us in the South; just spend some time in the real south and you'll see what I mean.

    We are actually in the Southern Great Plains. But that's not grabby.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I like to tell people on FB I live in the South Central Plains. When the inevitable "Huh?" comes up, I tell them to go look at a Map. OK. is NOT a southern state.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    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.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    ^

    All started with Bill Hader from Tulsa claiming he grew up in the Midwest.

    First of all, Tulsans above all other Oklahomans like to align themselves with Missouri and the Big Ten region, even though nobody else buys that.

    Oklahoma -- along with Texas, New Mexico and Arizona -- could be considered the Southwest. And I reject any attempt to put us in the South; just spend some time in the real south and you'll see what I mean.

    We are actually in the Southern Great Plains. But that's not grabby.
    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.

  6. Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I thought after the Murrah bombing we became the Heartland.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I have a long running argument with a friend about whether Oklahoma is part of the Midwest. I say no. And so do 50-80% of respondents in this ongoing poll

    https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/08...t-belt/597082/

    OKC only garners 30% of people thinking it's in the Midwest. I don't think people from elsewhere think of Oklahoma as Midwest. I would personally group it more Southwest (as it belongs with Texas) as opposed to The South

  8. #8

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    From a demographic or cultural standpoint, the early white settlers to the Tulsa region were oil workers from Ohio and Pennsylvania with financiers from New York City.

    The southeast came from the deep south. I don't know why this migration occurred but its why southeast Oklahoma became known as Little Dixie.

    My grandparents are representative of both migrations, one set came from Ohio, another from Alabama via Arkansas.

    But those in the original land runs came from mostly what is now the Big 12 states , including Nebraska.

    Having a common major industry through most of the last century has made Oklahoma culturally closer to Texas.

    I think Oklahoma is in the central southern plains.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I've always said Southern Great Plains. This is one of those never ending debate things around the US. I found a map from another forum from a while back. It was endless debated as well.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I reject any lumping in with the South simply because Oklahoma was not part of the confederacy, and culturally that is a huge divide.

    We weren't even a state then and although I realize Indian Territory was aligned with the confederacy, just go spend some time in Memphis (not even talking about Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia) which is the same latitude but worlds away in their culture simply due to direct ties to the confederacy and everything that has been passed down as a result.

    When I was in my 20's and when I had never really been anywhere other than Oklahoma and Texas, I traveled to Tennessee and Georgia and was shocked by the different culture, accents and attitudes. I couldn't relate to it at all.


    At the same time, I will freely admit that I would never want Oklahoma affiliated with the South, so there is no question I tend to look past commonalities like the Southern Baptist church and a lot of cooking,

  11. #11

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    We're getting to be a big suburb of Dallas.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    The first time I visited the South after growing up in Oklahoma I also had culture shock. Most of Oklahoma is very different than the South. However, Texas has a lot more in common with the South than most people seem to realize. Most White immigrants (e.g., Moses and Stephen F. Austin) in the 1820s moved to Mexican Tejas specifically because of land available for expanding slavery... even though Mexico was against slavery's expansion, Mexico didn't do much too stop it since they saw White immigrants as helping to gain control of the distant area far from Mexico City away from Indigenous nations which were ultimately forced to Indian Territory. Of course, White Americans immigrated in such large numbers so as to eventually revolt against Antonio López de Santa Anna.

    Anyway, Oklahoma is hard to categorize even though a few posters have done a nice job in this thread.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by mugofbeer View Post
    We're getting to be a big suburb of Dallas.
    Touché!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by FighttheGoodFight View Post
    I've always said Southern Great Plains. This is one of those never ending debate things around the US. I found a map from another forum from a while back. It was endless debated as well.
    This is a cool map. I’ve always thought Texas and Kansas are closest in similarities to here. Wichita feels like it could be a part of Oklahoma and likewise about North Texas. Whenever I travel to these 3 places they feel the most like “home” as if I’m just driving in a different part of the state.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Oklahoma is Oklahoma and does not belong to any region, as it does not (IMO) share enough in common with any other state. A few things to take into consideration:

    1. Few states have the influence of Native America so directly tied to its identity.

    2. There is definitely an influence from the Arkansas/Louisiana "Southeast". There is also definitely an influence from the New Mexico/Colorado/SW Kansas "Southwestern", but these are minor influences on the state and culture and the areas they affect are generally sparsely populated. You can certainly note how we combine both cultures on menus all over OKC and Tulsa. Biscuits and Jalapeño Gravy, anyone?

    4. The influence and connection with Texas has been massive on the southern half of the state and I think we can all agree Texas is a region unto itself.

    5. The Midwestern feel is definitely apparent in Tulsa and other areas in the northeastern part of the state.

    6. Over 65% of the population lives in the OKC or Tulsa CSA and cities have national and global influences on their
    culture now more than ever.

    I think we stick out like a sore-thumb in any categorization. Looking at the "Southern Great Plains" map above I just don't know how you could possibly say OKC, Amarillo, and even Lawton share more in common with Cornfield, Nebraska than the Dallas CSA. Heck, Durant, OK is part of Dallas CSA, so the Texas Triangle region should extend at least that far into OK.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    In the past, I've seen some references to a "Texoma" region. If Tulsa doesn't find a way to reassert itself in the coming two decades and OKC firmly supplants it as the cultural and economic center of the state, my guess is that the Texas influence overwhelms the entire state and the Midwestern connection continues to die off making the Texoma moniker for a region an increasingly valid one.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Our mix of ecosystems and biodiversity also make our State unique.

  18. Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel View Post
    Our mix of ecosystems and biodiversity also make our State unique.
    Was going to post that, you beat me to it. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Oklahoma

    The Geography of Oklahoma encompasses terrain and ecosystems ranging from arid plains to subtropical forests and mountains. Oklahoma contains 10 distinct ecological regions, more per square mile than in any other state by a wide margin.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I reject any lumping in with the South simply because Oklahoma was not part of the confederacy, and culturally that is a huge divide.

    We weren't even a state then and although I realize Indian Territory was aligned with the confederacy, just go spend some time in Memphis (not even talking about Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia) which is the same latitude but worlds away in their culture simply due to direct ties to the confederacy and everything that has been passed down as a result.

    When I was in my 20's and when I had never really been anywhere other than Oklahoma and Texas, I traveled to Tennessee and Georgia and was shocked by the different culture, accents and attitudes. I couldn't relate to it at all.


    At the same time, I will freely admit that I would never want Oklahoma affiliated with the South, so there is no question I tend to look past commonalities like the Southern Baptist church and a lot of cooking,
    Pete, I'm interested in your comment here. I'm wondering if we might have the same attitude toward Southern Baptist denomination. When you have time -would you elaborate? Thanks!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I just say I'm from the Cross Timbers area.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Quote Originally Posted by bucktalk View Post
    Pete, I'm interested in your comment here. I'm wondering if we might have the same attitude toward Southern Baptist denomination. When you have time -would you elaborate? Thanks!
    I just meant that culturally Oklahoma does have a strong tie to the South through the Southern Baptist church, which has always been a dominant force in this state.

    That is really only true in southern states.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Obviously not a perfect representation, but I would say NE quadrant of the state is MidWest, the SouthEast is "The South", and the western half is SouthWest.

    Not really sure where that leaves OKC, but it feels a bit more SouthWest than MidWest, but that's just my opinion.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    Oklahoma is on the edge of everywhere and the center of the whole.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    And it has to be said: through evangelicals and particularly the baptist church Oklahoma is politically very aligned with the South.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Where the heck is Oklahoma?

    I used to always argue for Southwest because before Fox Sports OK, we were aligned with Fox Sports Southwest for a long time.

    But like a few others have said, the ecosystem in our state is so different from west to east, I can understand the argument for Midwest or southwest

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