July 2010 Editorial Winner

Perception is reality: Where do we want to stand?

Kim Benedict, The Ardmoreite

Recently, the Ardmoreite did a two-part series on individuals who have immigrated to America and the costs and processes that are involved.
An additional story that we might consider is the integration of immigrants into our culture and communities.
Because, let's face it, some Oklahomans aren't necessarily the most tolerant people when it comes to accepting differences, whether in color, culture or philosophy.
And, while many Oklahomans take pride in being a "redneck", which can be defined in many ways, it generally doesn't have a positive perception for the rest of the country.
We're not alone in claiming the redneck title — there are probably pockets of these individuals in every state — but some states, like ours, seem to be generalized by this description.
Unfortunately, in a world economy, flexibility and acceptance of cultural diversity, along with a skilled workforce, quality education and state-of-the-art medical care, will be key to attracting high-end business and industry. As a state, and a community, we need to have a reputation for welcoming new people and new ideas into our business and social landscape.
Ardmore is lucky to have a head start in recognizing what a world view can do. The Noble
Foundation — recently ranked as one of the top ten scientific institutions for academic faculty — currently employs 110 Ph.Ds from 29 countries.
The scientists, and their families, are a positive part of our community fabric. They are a great example of people who add to our world knowledge and allow us the opportunity to experience and gain a deeper understanding of cultural differences.
Oklahoma, as a state, is the epitome of Midwestern culture. Our people are smart, hardworking and skilled. We enjoy sports, recreational activities and the arts. We have a rich Native American culture and history. Children, education and health care are priorities.
We may enjoy the humor of being a redneck, but growing our economy and job base is no laughing matter.
On the world stage, 'Oklahoma,' in general, and 'Ardmore,' specifically, needs to stand for quality, opportunity, progress and vision.

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