It was brought to my attention yesterday that Oklahoma has made national news six times in the last two weeks and not for being shining examples of humanity. "Is this a great state or what?" That's a very good question. I've always had my political problems with Oklahoma. That's no secret. Chris and I raged against the machine of intolerance and ignorance the whole time we lived there. For me? I fought that battle for thirty four years. We believed that Oklahoma could be better than OK. Sure...over time our souls began to show the toils of constant battle and if I'm perfectly honest, I was lured away to a new state by more than just a really great job. Though I still find myself fighting the same kind of battles here. It's just that there's more people fighting along with me which makes the fight not as hard.
Sunday, a video of the Oklahoma University fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon chanting racial slurs went very public. My first thought was "what the fuck is wrong with Oklahoma?" I was embarrassed. I am embarrassed. Shame on those boys. Shame on those parents that taught these boys that this was acceptable behavior. I could easily rant on and on about the gross misconduct of these boys and it's not like we haven't seen this kind of intolerant bigotry behavior before. I grew up in a family where the N-word was used. Those boys probably did too. The difference is I had parents who treated that word as the worse curse word you could ever use against another human being. Those were the same parents who taught me to treat others as I would want to be treated.
All this national attention on Oklahoma makes it hard to admit that, yes, I am from Oklahoma. I want out-of-staters to know that not all Oklahomans believe this way. We are not all bigots and ignorant. We don't still live tee-pees (seriously, a woman asked us that in DC while on a HS band trip). Oklahoma has a rich history full of strong, hard working people. We come together in times of tragedy and crisis to do what ever it takes to help our fellow Oklahomans in need. Examples include the Murrah Building and any tornado. Oklahomans are proud. In the wake of SAE's video, OU President David Boren immediately stood up and said that this behavior will not be tolerated. He took swift action to remove the fraternity from the university. While some may say that Boren was a little to harsh on SAE, I say no way. "This behavior will not be tolerated." Yeah, it's just a stupid fraternity full of the usual cliche of white rich think's they're privileged white boys. It's not the world. But it makes a statement. Hate will not be tolerated. There are consequences for your bigotry behavior.
I've never been an OU fan. I'm more of an Oklahoma State Go Pokes! kind of girl. The actions of David Boren and the rallying of OU students in the wake of SAE's grossness, makes me respect that campus a little bit more. They make me hang my head high when I say "I am from Oklahoma." I'm proud to be an Okie.