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A growing Hispanic population poses challenges

Filed by KOSU News in Feature, Local News.
October 3, 2012
 

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The burgeoning panhandle town of Guymon, OK now has a Hispanic majority, and many in town agree it’s the reason for their wealth of jobs and successful local businesses. But the transition from a traditionally white town to majority Hispanic wasn’t easy at first.

On the second floor of the old high school, Director of Title III and Migrant Services for Guymon Public Schools Julie Edenborough describes how the cluttered room we’re standing in will soon be the new migrant learning center.

“I’ve got book cases and 375 trade books coming in,” Edenborough said. “I’ve got study carols for that corner with laptop computers. And, I’m in the process of painting and fixing cracks.”

It’s Edenborough’s job to manage the needs of the students whose native tongue is not English but one of the 24 different languages or dialects spoken in Guymon classrooms. Such a staggering number of dialects in a relatively small school system is just one example of the strain that Guymon has felt under population growth. Sitting in her office across the hall she recalls how the demands put on the schools made some residents bristle.

“I remember at the time that there were some people who said that ‘those’ students would slow ours down. I was told to put my children in advance placement classes to get them away from ‘those’ children. So, there was very much an ‘us and them’ mentality.”

In 1994 when the City of Guymon agreed to partner with Seaboard Foods, allowing them to build a large pork processing plant in town, some locals expressed concern. Similar businesses followed, and Guymon’s Hispanic population has grown steadily ever since. The projection by the US Census that white children will no longer be a majority by 2023 long ago became a reality in Guymon, as Hispanic enrollment has gone from a minority to the overwhelming majority. Even with the addition of a new elementary school just five years ago, every seat in the school system is full.

“We are already at capacity,” Edenborough said. “A building we planned to tear down, that should probably be condemned, is still in use because our doors are overflowing.”

“We grew pretty fast. But I also look back and wonder if they hadn’t come, where we would be now?” Doug Melton is Superintendent of Guymon Public Schools. Even though he acknowledges the early tensions, he seems disinterested in questions about the legal status of his students or immigration reform in general.

“In Guymon we kind of do our own thing,” Melton said. “That stuff happens in Washington D.C. and Oklahoma City.”

Melton’s opinion isn’t an unusual one around town. Vicki Ayres-McCunne believes that much of the resistance to Guymon’s diversification is overblown. She says the national immigration debate and Oklahoma’s own immigration bill, HB 1804, feel worlds away.

“I think you do see a lot more people embracing it,” Ayres-McCune said. “And, I think that the outside world, for whatever reason, they think it’s been a hardship. But, really the people around Guymon and the panhandle region are welcoming, and have really embraced the different cultures.”

Jezebel Delgado was born in California, but moved to Southern Mexico with her family at the age of two and moved to Guymon as a teenager. Now in her late twenties, she works at a loan office while studying for her master’s degree.

“I just bought a house on Fourth Street, and everybody on that block is white. Well, my neighbor on my west side wasn’t too happy to see me, but my other neighbor accepted me, and that’s good. You know, I’m just going to do my best to make him feel comfortable, and I hope he’ll do the same.”

Delgado and other immigrants and Hispanics in town agree that while some of those old anxieties do still linger, they don’t just feel safe or tolerated in Guymon, they feel welcomed.

7 Responses to “A growing Hispanic population poses challenges”

  1. Katy says:

    It's all rainbows and sunshine when there is few, but when there is a majority of them….see the white flight begin.

  2. xenaphobe says:

    Whites are suckers

  3. sarahalbion says:

    Imagine the reaction is a town in India or Africa became majority white due to European immigration. Of course, it wouldn't be allowed to happen.

  4. WhiteRabbit says:

    In the 1960's "Anti-racists" forced ALL and ONLY white countries to open their borders to non-white immigration. Then "Anti-racists" forced ALL and ONLY white people to "integrate" or face consequences for being "naziswhowanttokill6millionjews." Now "Anti-racists" are calculating that ALL and ONLY white children will become minorities and eventually EXTINCT. If "Anti-racists" did this to ALL and ONLY black countries, it would be called a genocide. "Anti-racist" is a codeword for anti-white.

  5. oh look, more articles about how great it is that whites are becoming the minority in towns white people built. Beautiful vibrant diversity, isn't it? Why don't you try to write this same article in Japan about Indonesian immigrants. See how well it goes over. According to the author of this article and the anti-white radio station that posted it, genocide is only a crime until it happens to whites, at which point it is to be treated with bemused deference if not openly celebrated.

  6. Michael Stone says:

    Why are the Hispanics singled out? Use the word 'immigrant' instead, as there are many other newcomers, particularly from Southeast Asia and Northeast Africa. In fact Guymon has become a polyglot of nations with nearly 30 different dialects/languages to be heard. Recently, at a local charity, where I volunteer, we had a visit from children who attend a local kindergarten, and I felt I was present at the General Assembly of the UN, without the political garbage, it was wonderful.

  7. ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

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