After we finished reading Memphis and the Paradoxical place in class, I began to think about the way people view Memphis. The point that stood out to me the most in the book was when Rushing talked about how reporters from up north would write articles about Memphis saying that it was a dirty place to live in and that was the reason the people kept catching the yellow fever. After reading this section of the book it made me realize that things like this have not changed for Memphis. Although residents of Memphis know that the city is amazing and not as violent as people make it seem, outsiders continue to tarnish the city’s image. For example, as I was strolling through the latest stories on Yahoo, I ran across an article that was talking about Elvis Presley and the Whitehaven community. The journalist wrote a story about the current condition of Elvis Presley Blvd. and hundreds of people chimed in to give their two cents. Multiple people stated that they were afraid for their life while in the area and encouraged others not to visit. REALLY!! Everyone knows that the Whitehaven area is far from dangerous, but appearance and perception is everything. Because one person said the area is bad, other people stray away from visiting the community and this undoubtedly affects the economic growth of the area. The commentators on the article failed to mention the real reason they feared for their life while visiting Graceland.
It is common knowledge that mainly Whites visit Graceland. It is also common knowledge that the Whitehaven community primarily consist of African Americans. We can say that race is no longer an issue in America, but everyone knows that is a load of crap. Racism is still alive and kicking. The people that visited Graceland were not afraid because the area is know for violence because that is not true. They were afraid for their life because too many black people were close by. Now if they said they had stayed in South Memphis and they feared for their life this might be a different story. I just feel that too many people who know nothing about Memphis try to say what the city is about and they have no clue what they are talking about. I believe that not enough people focus on the positive things that are going on in the city.
People tend to forget that Memphis is constantly trying to make the city a safer place to live in. For example, last year Memphis started this thing called gas for guns. This program encourages people to bring in their guns in exchange for gas cards, grizzles tickets, or gift cards. Things like this is Memphis’ attempt to make the community a better place.
Memphis has multiple things fighting against them. The first thing that we have against us is our history. From the beginning people have been told that Memphis is a dirty violent place and that stereotype has remained with us. Another thing that Memphis has against it is that it is in the south. People still perceive the south to be far inferior to northern cities and this will forever be the mindset of Americans. While I know that Memphis is an amazing place to live and visit, others will never know this for themselves because they allow the views and perceptions of others shape their outlook of this beautiful city.