Discrimination                              Against the "Okies"

Discrimination Against the Oklahoma Migrants

As migrants from Oklahoma came to California, the Oklahoma migrants started to notice something that they couldn't ignore. There was a presence of discrimination in the air. As the word "Okie" would start to get noted by them, other things were started to get noticed as well. They started to notice that people feared them out of the ordinary and that police officers would check them more than once. As workers reached to agricultural industrial land, discrimination was put down on the Oklahoma labor workers. As the migrants worked, the powerful associated farmers were afraid that the Oklahoma migrants would demand better wages and unionize. Due to that, they began to demoralize and humiliate the migrants. Many of the camps for the migrants were located near small towns in which they came face to face with local discrimination. Another reason why the Oklahoma migrants were discriminated against is because the competition of getting a job. During the Great Depression, jobs were scarce and so was money, so as the migrants came in, they were basically competing for a job with the local residents. Because of their hate towards these "job stealing okies", as they would put it, residents and farmers increased taxes on many goods. Farmers were so cruel to the extent that they would not let the Oklahoma migrants speak, sing, or whistle while working and if they did, the migrants would face threats and insults. Even though the farms produced more food then the workers picked, farmers chose to starve the migrants and burn the extra food so some of them would move off the land. The residents and locals were so cruel that the hospitals would not treat many of the Oklahoma migrants or their children, in schools "Okie" children were harassed, insulted and ignored by the teachers and bullied by the other students as well. Some went as far as dubbing the Oklahoma migrants as "communist spies" from Russia and viewed them with suspicion. A mayor of Brawley, California back in the 1930s claimed that a migrant Oklahoma camp near their town "was communist through and through...The women of Brawley would not be safe on the streets with the Okies".  Even as hope looked scarce for the Oklahoma migrants, many kept waiting, while many left.