At the Crossroads of Whiteness

Peter La Chapelle

in Proud to Be an Okie

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248885
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940000 | DOI:
At the Crossroads of Whiteness

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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

Chapter.  9457 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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