Racist Obama Billboard

This billboard is located in West Plains, Missouri, a town where I worked for 7 years (1992-1999).  At the time we lived on 40 acres outside Willow Springs, a community of about 2,000 just north of West Plains.

The people of this area, located in the Missouri Ozarks north of the Arkansas state line, are most likely Scots-Irish descendants, what are often referred to as “rednecks.” 

One thing is certain – there weren’t many minorities living in this part of the country, and for good reason.  The locals were very clannish who would be outwardly friendly when doing business with you, but not at all interested in befriending you.

We purchased our 40 acres while living in the San Francisco Bay area and rented the house on a month-to-month lease.  About 6 months after buying the house, Mr. gyma lost his job, and it didn’t appear another job would be offered anytime soon.  We decided to make our move earlier than we wanted and sent a 6-week notice to our renters.

When we arrived in town and stopped at the local real estate office to pick up the keys, we were told the renters had not moved out because they couldn’t find another place to live.  Shortly thereafter we received a letter from a local attorney, hired by our renters, threatening to take the house away from us because we failed to give the notice before such-and-such date.  It was all bluster and within 10 days they had moved.  In the meantime we were homeless and forced to live in a tent at the local campground.

As it turns out that was one of the best things that happened to us because we met and became friends with the owner, known to us as Miss Bobbie.  She was in her late 60s and ran the campground alone after her husband had died a few years before from cancer.  She was an Oklahoma native but had raised her children in the Ozarks and was well-known in the community.  And she was funny as all hell.

I give you this background because it was Miss Bobbie who told us that when she first moved to Willow Springs there was a billboard on the highway just outside the city limits.  The sign said something like “Welcome to Willow Springs.  Don’t let the sun go down on your sorry black ass.”  Gives you an idea of the type of folks living in this neck of the woods.

I wasn’t surprised, then, when I saw this news article about the racist billboard.  It does fit the mentality of the people living there while we were there.  I do think, though, that there are more and more people moving to that area from outside the Ozarks and they will have a tempering influence on the locals.

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4 Responses to “Racist Obama Billboard”

  1. What can one possibly say?

  2. What escapes me is why they think they need to go this particular route. If you support John McCain, why not put up a billboard explaining why you think he’s the better candidate?

    Barring that, couldn’t the owner of this billboard have gotten his basic message across without the use of “Hussein” and the goofy caricature of Obama?

    I guess the culture war is alive and well in the Ozarks.

  3. Thanks for this post. Most Ozarkers and southern Missourians are better than this! Please visit my blog and leave a comment: blog.worstoftheozarks.com.

  4. I live in Willow Springs. Hard to put into words how shameful and embarrassing this is…

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