When I was in grade school everyday before class started we all stood and said the pledge of allegiance. “”I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. Never would i think that schools are not saying this anymore because of religious beliefs.I mean we was founded under Christianity and even back when I was younger if you were not Christian and you did not want to say it you simply sat in your seat. I really do not understand why would the schools punish the kids that believe in this not be able to say it because the word God is in it. I feel that is not right.  Many people is taking this a little to over the top in opinion.

“God help, I’m so lost!” If you listen carefully, this is a common thought that is heard throughout many schools in the nation. Is this thought appropriate? The following statement clearly shows that the law allows students and adults to practice religion, but at the same time be respective of others and their beliefs even if they do believe or if they don’t. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, or to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” (First Amendment, The Constitution of the United States). Prayer is not normally permitted as a scheduled part of classroom activities, because it would result in the violation of the principle of church-state separation, which has been defined by court interpretations of the 1st Amendment to the U.S, Constitution. The separation principle is extended to Public school as an arm of the government, with an exception which can be permitted if, during the school year, a mixture of prayers, statements, etc are delivered, using material ive received from a number of different religions and secular sources. So far, this has never been tried in a school or ruled upon by a court. I think that people need to stop being so crazy and taking this over the top. Because if you think about it our history has alot of things dealing with religion in it. So what next people is going to want to take these things out of history books.

The South as a fixture

When my mom and her family moved down here from Illinois back in the 70s, concerned relatives called and wrote asking if they needed any necessities. Is there electricity? Plumbing? Do you need us to bring you down some meat? The Depression Era South was an image still fixated in the minds of those who had never been here, including filmmakers. It was, after all, the 70s when the long chain of horror movies set in the South began, relying on ableist caricatures of Southern ‘inbreds’ to create suspense and fear.

It’s not the 70s anymore, and I think it’s fairly obvious to most everyone that we have things like electricity and meat down here, but talk about the South to anyone who’s not from here and it isn’t long until they refer to it as a backwards region that needs a Sherman’s March 2.0 to get us back into shape—despite the fact that it was things like Sherman’s March that planted us so firmly into the realm of stagnation and poverty. There’s a good portion of people who view the South as some sort of frozen fixture on the US, a weird parasite to roll our eyes at and blame for the failings of a bipartisan government.

Take the government shutdown, for example. It didn’t take long for fingers to be pointed at Southern republicans, for the region to be considered a neo-confederate haven that simply can’t catch up to the rest of the Union. I suppose it’s easy to paint any region with a broad brush, but I feel like the South is dripping with paint at this point, despite knowing plenty of people who go above and beyond in subverting the image of an overly conservative South.

I feel like it’s far too common for people to see the entire region as a single entity while ignoring the progression and changes on a state-wide, city-wide, and especially individual scale. The South serves as a sort of strawman, a ‘how not to’ for anything you could name, and while it’s definitely justified in some cases (I don’t blame anyone for being wary about race relations within the South, after all), I think it’s way too easy to take generalisations and practically cement them to the region you’re discussing. It’s gotten to the point where I look around and see changes, but no one else seems to. They refuse to.

People everywhere rely on generalisations to form opinions. After all, it’s impossible to form separate images of millions of people and use that to create an actual average. However, I also believe that this view of the South is hindering its growth; the more this is pushed on us, the more we accept it, and the more the South loses for it. Famous people are ‘from’ here, they don’t live here. Kids grow up being told that if they want to make it, they need to look elsewhere. There are plenty of economic reasons for this as well, but I think, in part at least, this image of a stagnant, unglamourous South is definitely to blame.

Southern Music!!!!


I love music, and that is all genres of course; but, I must say southern music is the absolute best. Music originated from southern culture, and many successful musicians were born and raised in the South. For example, Beyonce, UGK, Ciara, Lil Wayne, and Outkast are some of my favorites and they are all from Southern states. It is just something about the ring of southern music when you hear it. I love riding to Al Green because his music is so relaxing and soulful. Green’s music allows me to be able to travel in a car for multiple hours. Music is somewhat of who we are, and especially if you grew up in the south where music was played from the time you woke up until you went to bed. I remember being at family gatherings and just hanging with my friends, and music would always be the center of what was taken place. I love music because it helps me through certain situations, and it also helps lighten up anyone’s mood. My parents introduced me to music because my mother sings at everyone’s wedding, and my father plays multiple instruments, so I had no choice but to enjoy different types of music. I think everyone can agree that music is always the topic on television, in their homes, and even in schools. However, southern music particularly moves you in a way no other music does. For example, Elvis Presley’s music makes people go crazy and many of his songs were number on e hits in other countries. Many southern artists take their music back home and use their situations to create their music. For example, many of them describe their childhoods and how they made it to where they are now. I can relate to many of their music because I was raised in the South. The south comes together when it comes to their music as well. For instance, many southern rappers collaborate on songs, and they always represent the south. Southern music makes me dance, and it keeps me humble because I love the way it sounds. The sound of southern music ranges from blues to hip hop and it always creates a new sound as the years pass. Even in southern churches the music seems to be slightly different from other regions. People recognize southern church music when they hear it. It is just something about the way the music is put together, and it is amazing! Music in general is the way of life, but southern music tends to be in its on category when it is played. Artist around the world love to work with southern artist because they know they will experience a more magical sound. Music and technology has come a long way since the first sound of music, but in a way that it will always be around. Music is remarkable and memorable, and without music I think the world would be very boring! Therefore, whoever invented music, well southern music is a genius!!!

Confederacy: Country or Racist

This past week I was talking to a friend of mine, definitely one of the only three I have ever felt comfortable since I moved to Memphis, and he said something to me that made me question Southern Black mentality towards race, as well as White, and the intention behind both. I admitted my weariness about working with a large group of Whites in a setting where I would be the minority, simply because I have what many people call trust issues. Out of nowhere, the Confederate flag was mentioned- as one of our predominantly White fraternities on this campus owns one in their house- and I admitted that I believed everyone needed to let go of the Old South. “Some people just need to accept that the South lost that war…”, I said. Much to my dismay, he admitted that growing up in a rural town in Tennessee he wore Confederate flags all throughout high school because it was just something that country people did. He said, “I don’t not like Black people. I was just raised country and that’s what we do.” For this to be someone that I’ve known to hang with nothing but Blacks, never portray a Black persona, and represent Dyersburg every step he takes, I knew that his statement was sincere.

Here in the South, we often identify with our past life whether it affects our thought process or our habits. While a White person in the South may not directly identify with racism or view society from a socially superior standpoint, it is believed that every White person “feels some type of way”. On the other hand, it is the common belief that Blacks in the South have not strayed far from their depictions as watermelon-eating, barefoot people, and those who have high societal rankings just absolutely have to be Uncle Toms.The rest of us are believed to actually be racists that only call for activism when someone mistreats our own “kind”.

With this conversation, I had to think… Why do we assume all White people are racist? How do we know that their ancestors owned slaves? Factually, it is historically correct that several Whites here in the South actually did not own slaves and were actually prejudiced against as well if they were poor. Personally, I have to own up to being cautious around any White person that looks at me sideways. That is something that will most likely not change overnight. However, it makes me wonder what we are doing to recreate segregation and if it is a learned behavior or out of fear. No, my mother did not teach me to side step for anyone on the street (unless they’re elderly), but I will reroute my steps if I see a Confederate flag on a man’s belt. What she did teach me is to question everything and be sure of everything I believe, so am I switching sidewalks to save him from what I may say if he sneers? Even moreso, who said he would sneer? That could have been his grandfather’s belt or a gift for shooting a deer.

Just food for thought. Are we judging books by their covers or automatically painting them with the colors we find in documentaries like “10 Dollars an Hour”?

The Fight against African American Women and the Jim Crow Era

The African-American women play an astonishing role in the fight and struggle against Jim Crow. Jim Crow was a character in a song by Daddy Rice, a white man who painted his face to portray a black male. Jim Crow was a disrespectful charter that made black people seem dim-witted.  It was furthermore a very insulting word to the African Americans much like the word nigger. “In the 1900, the term was generally identified with those racist laws and actions that deprived African Americans of their civil rights by defining blacks as inferior to whites, as members of a caste of subordinate people” (The history of Jim Crow). Shortly after the Civil War, black women were slowly moving past slavery. They had high hopes of being housewives and did not want to work in the fields and tend to farms anymore.  The desperately wanted to raise their children and be mothers like the white women had been living for years. The Jim Crow Era made this almost impossible for the African American families. The era brought mobs that would beat black men, making their voice unheard in political statements and keeping men out of industrial work place. Since the black me had no say in the matters of their towns, jobs were giving to the “trusted” white men. This often put a burden on the wives, seeing as they would be the strong ones for their broken families. Black women would rely on their families and friends to stick together and support each other to pursue their civil rights they so rightly deserved and have a voice in America’s culture.

African American women were becoming a great deal more educated than any gender or race in the 1900s. Young black men would often tend to the fields to support their families. This meant neglecting their education to keep they family together. The women were giving lead way in the fight Jim Crow, and by studying hard to be leaders to end the battle. The women began to organize clubs that supported “anti-lynching legislation, suffrage for women, and the availability of higher education for both sexes” (The history of Jim Crow).

Perhaps one of the greatest organizations in African American history was the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). The black women were fighting for their rights in the world. The organization raised money to help further education, provide shelter, fund black schools, and healthcare needs. This was brought together by different cubs to promote women rights and to bring racial encouragement. Mary Church Terrell was the organization’s first president. The motto for NACW was “Lifting as we climb”. Terrell was a determined woman and lead her organization with these words, “Too long have we been silent under unjust and unholy charges; we cannot expect to have them removed until we disprove them through ourselves.” There were over 1,000 cubs all over America supporting each other through those rough times. They had faith that they would be treated as equals.

Organizations were in play for the Jim Crow Era against African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was working against the Fifteenth Amendment in an attempt to establish white supremacy. The Ku Klux Klan was founded in Tennessee with a rapidly growing population that was soon to be ran and operated illegally, by the Southern States. The KKK was a group of white supremacist that conducted raids and random acts of extreme violence to scare African Americans out of voting. This tactic was used as a part of the KKK campaign to declare ultimate white supremacy in the South. The blacks lost a lot of lives due to the blood spilling cult.

Given that the Fifteenth Amendment was not successful in protecting the African American’s rights to vote, due to the KKK operation. Congress passed a new act called the Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871. The Enforcement acts of 1870 coupled with the Fifteenth Amendment provided better protection for African Americans against violence and discrimination.

Even though the war was over it was still very difficult times for the Back culture. In 1890-1906 every south state turned on the blacks and enacted laws to do away with black voting all together. Although the fifteen amendment states “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Southern founded new laws they could use against them. They passed a poll tax law, making it impossible for black people to vote. It was not until 1891 that the Supreme Court granted its approval to throw away the law keeping the blacks from voting due to the fourteenth amendment.

The road of accomplishments in the 1877-1920’s African Americans did change the world. Many whites refused to treat freed slaves equally despite to passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The Supreme Court tried very hard to provide equal opportunities for African American’s within the context of the new amendments. There were many unfair times and a time that the law twisted in the white man’s favor but they still fought for their rights as citizens. African Americans did begin to be treated more fairly as the mid 1900’s progressed. If the African American culture did not fight for their freedom in these hard times we would not have our president today. African Americans have showed this country that without our diverse race we would not be the land of the free. I wrote this paper because I wanted to people to understand how strong black women were in the south. This tells a story that some people might not be familiar with.

The Effects Slavery had on African American children’s lives in America

The Effects Slavery had on African American children’s lives in America
Children are impressionable and vulnerable for many years of their life, no matter what race they are and no matter where they live. Sometimes the circumstances of a child’s life are positive, and unfortunately sometimes they are negative. The environment in which African American slave children grew up was anything but positive, with oppressive authorities who refused to acknowledge them as equal human beings or much less treat them like ones. Culturally, slaves were perceived as property that could be owned and transferred, so there was little concern for the emotions or well-being of their lives. At such a young age, these slave children were subjected to psychological damage and abuse that ultimately had an impact on the way they interacted with others, viewed other human beings, and how they felt about the life they were forced to endure overall. Much of how these children responded was attributed to the slave-owner’s style of authority, and also by the influences of strength and wisdom from their family members, if there were any actual family with them at all. It is unfair to assume a child should understand its circumstances under slavery, and most of the time they never did.  The youthful spirit of these children were dampened but never completely stifled.  Kids will be kids no matter what, but these particular individuals suffered in a society that made them adjust to a life that was naturally unintended for them to live. A child is typically curious, energetic and



playful, and these qualities even survived through the harsh settings of slavery, despite the idea that they should not exist in that environment.

Enslaved children were particularly vulnerable to separation from their parents. Regardless of the fact that they might be separated from their family, the parents of the slave children kept a strong sense of identity for their family. The fathers would often give the children gifts and pass down family air looms to their children. They constantly tried to keep the family together or make them seem like they had a part of each other. When they could not be with their family they would become a part of a kinship group. A kinship group is when an extended family member or close friend would take the role of the child’s parents. They would be their new family during this hard time when their biological members were stripped away. The children were distracted from all the trials of slavery when they were part of a family or kinship.

Even with slavery’s hardships, slave children’s childhood was not always deprived from them. The children would find toys to play with. Many children played with home-made toys or they played with mud and sticks they found outside. They would also play games together to help them cope with their daily struggles of slavery. One of the most popular games the slaves played was tug-of-war. Singing songs together and dancing at night time was a very popular part of their culture. The slaves would sing songs about their lives to get the emotions of stress and frustration out. Slave children were not completely deprived of their childhood because they kept their sprits high and depended on each other for support.

The children worked a little differently than adult slaves. They would begin to work on the plantations at different ages. The younger children would tote water around and pick up rocks, and would also work in the yards to keep them free of weeds and manicured. Children around six years of age would tend to milking cows and feeding the animals on the farm. By age twelve they were considered adults and would be responsible for the same jobs as their parents.  Under all these horribly unfair conditions, it is impressive to note how strong and determined the slaves were in maintaining the few lively aspects of their existence. It was a combination of survival instincts and the knitting of support groups within their culture that helped them to bear all the surrounding forces of negativity.

While most people in today’s time could not imagine what it would truly be like to grow up as a slave, something anyone can appreciate is the fact that these children were able to stay as positive as they did and make the most of their situations. The amount of mental and physical strength displayed by slave children was beyond admirable. To be able to cope with the breaking up and destruction of their family while simultaneously enduring the hateful laws and treatment from their authorities could arguably be one of the most difficult scenarios imaginable for a human being to experience. By playing games and exercising their youthful tendencies, the slave children helped themselves to overcome the resounding negativity that permeated their lives. When viewed from the right perspective, the way in which the kinship groups formed was actually one of the most beautiful parts of the entire slavery-era. It represented that when united under forced maltreatment, a group of people can come together and support one another with love and encouragement no matter what. To think that certain people, especially children, were ever treated in this manner inside the United States is embarrassing and shameful to realize, but as the slave children did during their hardships, Americans and other people around the world should draw positively what they can from it all. Never giving up, keeping a hopeful attitude, and staying close to the people you love will always bring about positive results no matter how awful things can be.

“The Times, They Are A’Changin” (Dylan)

Looking back on my life, I am amazed at the changes I have seen in the interactions between races in the generations before and after mine.

I grew up hearing stories from my maternal grandmother about her grandmother, who “died of pneumonia from tending the ex-slaves who were sick” You see, these ex-slaves were so content with their lot after ‘the whoa-ah” ended that they wanted to stay on, as just one big happy family. I never believed that propaganda; my mother taught me the truth. While my grandmother had more of an Old South view on racial interactions, my mother’s view was more one of compassion. She saw many of the indignities that black people endured in her small southern town, and felt sad about how African Americans were treated in her generation.

I began school on the first wave of integration in public schools. I do not recall my parents ever using the “n” word, or speaking disparagingly of black people. But I do remember my older brother making racist remarks often as we grew up. I probably bought into some of his views in my youth. Then I watched the miniseries Roots on television at age twelve. It made a big impact as it gave me a painful glimpse of the violence and sufferings of African Americans during slavery.

As an adult, the PBS documentary Africans in America sparked a yearning to know more about the African American experience in this country. I bought the book, read it, and sought out other books on many different topics regarding race in America. It took many years for me to get a better understanding of African American culture and history. In my schools growing up, the only black history taught were snippets about George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, and Booker T. Washington. I had no idea that African Americans built this country in large part, fought with valor in all of our wars, and bravely spearheaded their own fight for freedom and equality.

When my daughter Jamie started school, she became best friends with Somer, an African American child at her preschool. They were inseparable from preschool through high school. The friendship that I developed with Somer’s parents was a good experience for me. They were both more educated than me, had better jobs than me, made more money than I did, lived in a nicer house than Jamie and I did, and frankly they were better parents than I was in many ways. It was good for me to personally see and know this successful African American couple, and so many others just like them at Jamie’s school. It helped to reinforce the lessons I was learning from my readings.

I will never forget one night when I drove Jamie and five of her friends to a middle school dance. We were all crammed in my Honda CRV, listening to music on the radio, and I looked in my rear view mirror and saw all these happy kids: Jordan, half-Arab, half Caucasian; Reggie, African American but raised by a Caucasian adoptive single mother; Nam, Asian; Jamie’s boyfriend Justin, half black and half Caucasian; Somer, and Jamie. We had our own little Rainbow Coalition right there in my car.

That image has stayed with me because it felt as though I was looking directly at America’s future. It was a seminal moment in my life, seeing those kids laughing and having fun, each one on an equal social footing with the others, and seeing no skin color. It gave me a sense of hope, a promise that America was changing, with each successive generation, on the way to becoming a more integrated, cohesive country, one Rainbow Coalition at a time.


The Glass Ceiling and Elevator

The reason why I love Sociology so much because it is all about seeing the strange in the familiar. People wouldn’t realize the different inequalities we are dealing with here in The South if it slapped them in the face a couple of times. One concept i realized that is still deeply embedded in the south is the concept of the “Glass Ceiling”. What is the glass ceiling? According to Buzzle.com “Glass ceiling is the mindset of the traditional patriarchal society habituated to discriminate women from basic rights. The term is particularly used for women at workplace who are denied pay equal for the same work as the opposite gender.” The Glass ceiling is a form of discrimination, which is the simplest way I can put it. I see this concept applied to most women of any color and of course people of color as usual. If we go way back to history in The South, the structure of the south was built by mostly buy white men with money. Those who didn’t have money had little to no upward mobility, which leaves the rest of society to be set of for failure.  Back to the glass ceiling concept, women are mostly harassed by society and seen as inferior to men. Concepts such as the glass ceiling can cause psychological problems. This concept is always practiced in the stereotypical society today which can cause more stress in women lives. For example, if you take a woman and man in the work force side by side that are applying for the CEO position of that company, and they both meet the requirements but the woman have a little extra which make more well-rounded than that man. Who do you think will more than likely get the position?  Why? I say the man will more than likely get the position because women are not seen as leaders versus a man. I have also seen this concept applied to a black man or woman versus a white man or woman. Women are being brutally discriminated against and most don’t realize it. It is like you can see the top, but can’t quite reach it. I guess that is why it was named the ceiling.

Another concept will be the Glass elevator, because I explained the glass ceiling I am pretty sure you guess what this one means. The glass elevator is very similar to the glass ceiling in a way. Again, it is all about seeing the strange in the familiar. According to Jenna Goudreau on Forbes.com, “Men that enter female-dominated professions tend to be promoted at faster rates than women in those professions.” This is true in so many ways. A perfect example would be a male nurse, a man who becomes a nurse will be “pushed up” (glass elevator) to a higher position because men are seen as leaders and it would not be “right” if he had the same job as a woman. “Research shows that men in female-dominated jobs tend to fare better even than men in male-dominated jobs, and they typically earn higher salaries, receive more promotions, and achieve higher levels within organizations than their female counterparts.” (Forbes.com) This concept is very sad but true. Soon or later people will realize the strange in the familiar and start beating the odds.

Why Sec football makes the south special?

You could take any other conference in any part of the region and it would not compare to the football in the south. The SEC has some of the best game day atmosphere’s in college football and how everybody seems to come together as one. This is one of the biggest parts of living in the south is being a fan of the SEC and loving that play of football due to what it stands for. The teams all have a representation of the south in their history but one team that really stands out in the south is Ole Miss’s Colonel Reb, in which he has been a main figure of what the south is composed of. The south is prolly one of the biggest areas for football and how everybody gets into the games like it is a religion on Saturday to watch SEC football.

I can remember growing up just filled with excitement waking up on Saturdays knowing it was SEC football day and even better when I got to go to the games it is like a feeling like no other. To me it is so amazing how one thing can make so many people happy and give up their whole Saturday to watch the games that they love. Sec football is one of the power houses in college football in which has won the last 7 national championships and dominated the polls for even longer. It is something we should be proud of because it represents the South and gives us a good look in just a small way like football. It is had been told that the reason why the south is so good at football is because we talk so slow that the players seem to understand better and take it in to stay. We are not that big so much here about professional football here because it is a new phenomenon and has had only 40 or 50 years to catch on. Whereas SEC has been an antidote to an often dark history for as long as even our oldest people can recall. We are of long memory here and know how to represent what we are till the day we die. We take our conference that represents us and so the pride of it to anybody in the country because we are proud to be apart of it due to what we represent.

The SEC gets dogged all around the country for being dominate in everything they do and mostly because they are associated with the South. The south has diverse that we are white trash that only cares about ourselves in which it is complete opposite that we care about more than a lot of other regions in the country. With the  fans still arguing that Southern colleges are dominant at football for reasons that are, amusingly, no different from what makes their own programs successful from time to time. They say we have better athletes because we have lower academic standards, but that notion has become a glass house in which other colleges in other regions no longer wish to throw stones. In fact we have some of the best graduating numbers in college football and they continually raise year after year.

Sickle Cell Disease hitting close to home

I have a brother who has the recessive trait of sickle cell. He has a son Derrin, who has the complete sickle cell disease. Derrin is the sweetest two years old I have ever known but, because his cells are shaped like a sickle, he can’t walk. His mother has the recessive trait as well which when she and my brother had him they knew their son had sickle cell from the beginning. Derrin isn’t sick everyday but when he does get sick, he is in the hospital for days. The doctors are mostly trying to get him to sleep while working on the pain to resolve within his body. He cries a lot so we as a family never know when he is in pain or not. The doctors say whenever he is screaming and crying, then he is in pain. He takes three different medications daily in the winter time because he has asthma as well so they do not want anything making him worse with the cold weather. Derrin has to be held all the time because he can’t tell us what’s wrong with him. My brother and his son’s mother are black, which is why this book hit home for me. Just for the whites thinking that this was a black person’s disease was absurd. Derrin’s mother and my brother did not want to get tested for sickle cell while she was pregnant because they feel as though they already knew the outcome of the results. This is exactly what the people did in the book and they lived longer through the pain and this disease because this disease is actually fighting off Malaria. On Thursday, my group has the number five issue with how race was invisible then they paid attention to sickle cell and then it declined. In doing this class exercise, it gave me more insight after I read the conclusion and had the discussion in class about how at first the doctors wanted the black people to be able to work but they also needed some blacks to be sick so that they could experiment on them to see how to cure this disease. Once the healthcare was becoming more and more funded by federal and private dollars the healthcare industrial complex began to grow. Once that began to grow, doctors began focusing on more prominent diseases such as cancer and so forth pushing sickle cell downward in the decline in attention to this disease. In this book, dying in the city of the Blues I realized plenty dealing with the south that I had not known about Memphis before. I thought Beale Street was for black people and now I barely see blacks on Beale except for a weekend night. I learned plenty about sickle cell trait and disease that I did not know before. Things like they claimed it to be a black people’s disease. I also learned that Vas Crump was helping blacks as we were helping him with his voting and his machine. This was an interesting book and topic. I am happy to share my story.