Florida is a weird place. I think we have already established that, and one look at any local news website should confirm it.
One of the main reasons that Florida is such a “colorful” place to live is the constant influx of new residents. These transplants, composed of a wide variety of people ranging from retirees to fugitives, come to the Sunshine State for all sorts of different reasons. Whether you are looking for warm weather, lax gun laws, or political asylum, Florida has something for everyone.
However, spend time with anyone who was born here or who grew up here long enough and you will eventually hear them complaining about all the non-natives who have moved to the state. You get the sense that they are longing for the Good Ol’ Days (Like when? 1982 or when air conditioning didn’t exist?).
The ironic part is that this migration has been going on for decades, and it would be a safe bet that many of the people who dislike the non-natives are either transplants themselves, or natural-born Floridians have only been here for one generation. Trying to explain the hypocrisy of this sentiment to one of these people is more difficult than keeping lovebugs from splattering all over your windshield and bumper during their summer mating season (We’ll discuss lovebugs in another post).
These sentiments have led to a number of fantastic pejorative terms for outsiders ranging from the vaguely clever (“snowbirds” for seasonal retirees) to the patently offensive (“Island Rats” for Puerto Rican and Caribbean immigrants) to the just plain lazy (“Yankees” for, well, Yankees). This aggressive attitude towards outsiders, while not widespread, is particularly puzzling for a state that derives a large part of its revenue from tourists. It’s like they want you to visit, spend all your money, and then leave, which frankly sounds a bit like Las Vegas, but instead of strip clubs and depression, we have cartoon characters and depression.
Florida: Come for the Sunshine, then Leave!