NORMAN — It was, in fact is, still, a matter of pride when I first saw “Made in Bangladesh” on the price tag of a T-shirt in the Ross outlet here in Norman, Oklahoma, USA.
That tag was not the last copy of an exhibition. We saw many such signs glittering in black letter hanger to hanger and reflecting to our hearts. But it is not only symbolic of something dear thousands of miles far from homeland. It is business as well; it is money and matter. The garments we are producing in Bangladeshi factories are flying toward the corners and rows of American super shops. Most of the people I encountered here know about Bangladesh by these stitches and knitting, of course. The majority of them may not know the exact facts and figures about Bangladesh, but they are passing many moments with her “made in” sign.
But these events are not enough, let us be realistic. The state of Oklahoma and a city like Norman are the “heartland” of America. Unlike the East or West coast of this country which may very well be opposite sides of the globe. Cities like New York or Washington, D.C., are quite familiar with Bangladeshi faces and foods, no doubt. But Norman is far from that in terms of milage and meaning.
Very few, countable even by fingers, Bangladeshi people “live” in Norman. Most of them are either post graduate and doctoral students or teachers. And one or two families came here before the Bengal Delta became Bangladesh officially. One of my country fellows figured the total number of Bangladeshi families in Norman between 25 to 30.
Fortunately, the number is increasing. Breaking the long frequencies of decades the city is gaining new faces every year from Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi Student Association at the University of Oklahoma also is becoming familiar within the community through various programs.