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Proud to Be an OkieCultural Politics, Country Music, and Migration to Southern California$
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Peter La Chapelle

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248885

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248885.001.0001

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At the Crossroads of Whiteness

At the Crossroads of Whiteness

Antimigrant Activism, Eugenics, and Popular Culture

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 At the Crossroads of Whiteness
Source:
Proud to Be an Okie
Author(s):

Peter La Chapelle

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520248885.003.0002

This chapter considers how migrants changed California and also how they were changed by their contact with California and Los Angeles. In the first few years after the exodus began, Okies were subject to a well-organized media scapegoating campaign that portrayed migrants as threatening folk devils. Media attacks not only stirred up moral panic about Okie intentions but also persuaded California authorities and legislators to pursue restrictive and discriminatory measures. The chapter notes that this led some migrants—especially stars in the Los Angeles music and radio industries—to create counterimages by singing, talking, and writing about the members of the Dust Bowl migration as a coherent and praiseworthy group.

Keywords:   Los Angeles, California, migration, Okie, media scapegoating, Dust Bowl

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