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Shocking News! Oklahoma is not a welcoming place for diversity

If I had to rank all 50 states based on how much they value diversity, Oklahoma would probably be near the bottom of the list. The only thing that would keep us from being last would be that we do seem to value our Native American culture and history. Seriously, find me an Oklahoma kid who isn't a fan of Sequoyah. But outside of that, things are pretty bad. It seems like the only type of diversity that is welcomed in our state is Chesapeake Energy's complicated accounting practices.

In Monday's Oklahoman, business writer Don Mecoy examined the issue when he wrote about a recent diversity survey. The results were shocking:

Ongoing online survey finds many Oklahoma believe state doesn't welcome diversity

A more open-minded Oklahoma would produce a more prosperous state, according an unscientific survey of more than 600 state residents.

The online survey, which is not a scientific poll, shows that the state has some perception problems when it comes to dealing with people of different races, cultures and lifestyles.

Wait a second. This is just some random online survey? Doesn't that mean it can be inaccurate and misleading? If that's the case, why waste 800 words writing about it? Oh, here's why:

The OUR Oklahoma Survey is the brainchild of Risha Grant, head of a Tulsa PR firm, who wants to present the survey's results to policymakers and business leaders to develop a plan to address diversity after the survey closes at year's end...

More than 600 people have responded to the survey, with most being white (66 percent), women (64 percent) and college-educated (98 percent).

Imagine that, a shaky news story pitched by a narcissistic PR hack looking for some self-promotion made its way into the Oklahoman. You got to love it. Maybe I should issue a press release about the results of The Worst of OKC and or Ogle Madness? Also, how did a random survey that no one's heard of make get 600 respondents. Knowing what I know about the Internet, that's a lot. Are they giving away iPads or TVs or something? Oh, they are! That explains it. I wonder why the Oklahoman didn't mention it?

Putting the Oklahoman's new "Seriously guys, we'll write a story about almost anything" journalistic standards aside, the results of the poll are not surprising. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or the guy who brings you chips and salsa at Chelino's to see that our state doesn't welcome diversity. And you don't need an Internet survey answered by college educated women and minorities looking for a free iPad to tell you that. Just look at recent history. Our state's voters and lawmakers have gone out of their way to let minorities,  women and other know that they are not welcomed in the Sooner state.

Here are six examples:

1. Affirmative Action: On this year's ballot is State Question 759. If passed, or better yet, when it passes, it will ban affirmative action programs in this state. I don't have a problem with this at all. Affirmative action programs are nothing but a convenient form of reverse discrimination, because as you know, qualified white men have a big problem finding good jobs in Oklahoma. Plus, racial and gender based stereotypes and discrimination are long gone. It's not like our elected officials and the people who vote for them think black people are lazy or that women should stay at home and support their families.

2. Views on Homosexuals: I know it's just one person, but remember when Sally Kern claimed that homosexuals were infiltrating our society and were a bigger threat to our national security than terrorists? How could you forget, right? Well, it's not like she got her job by winning a holy war or something. She's been easily re-elected twice since she made those comments. Also, our state was one of the leaders in the fight to deny basic benefits and rights to homosexual couples when we overwhelmingly banned gay marriage in 2004.

3. Sharia Law: Sick of activist judges using the Koran to interpret traffic laws, Oklahoman's voted by a 70% margin to ban Sharia Law in the state. The basic intent of the law was to limit the rights and religious freedoms of Muslims. Fortunately, it was struck down by the courts.

4. Immigration: Although we're not as extreme as Arizona, we still go out of our way to let undocumented workers know that they are not welcomed in Oklahoma.

5. Women Issues: If you're a woman, Oklahoma is a great place to live. Not only are you more likely to earn less, die young, or go to prison, but you also have a limited-government legislature that's dead set on restricting your rights and access to perfectly legal medical procedures like abortions and breast implants. Just kidding about the last one. Our legislators are totally fine with you getting breast implants.

6. The No Name Change Judge. This is a relatively new one. Judge Bill Graves, or as we call him, the No Name Change Judge, will not approve name changes for transgendered folks. He does this in the name of science. Apparently discrimination and bigotry is a science.

Anyway, I'm sure there are other examples that I overlooked or forgot, but who cares, my point is made. Thanks to our wacko politicians, Oklahoma is  just not seen as a very welcoming state. Unless, of course, you're a white male conservative Christian who's scared of people who are different from you. Then it's awesome. You don't need a survey or free flat screen TV to tell you that.

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