Inequalities and Stereotypes

As I sit and reflect on the issues within the south, inequality and stereotypes automatically come to my mind, especially right here in Memphis. As an African American female, growing up in the suburbs, with mostly whites, gave me a firsthand experience. For example, I can remember driving around Bartlett. I do not have the most up to date car, but I do have a clean record and never gotten a speeding ticket. I have had the experience of police following directly behind me for a long amount of time. I have even been stopped a few times for no apparent reason. I have not been the only person who has experienced these type of stereotypes. My boyfriend drives a very nice car. He was sitting in a parking lot, waiting on his friend to come home. The police decide to come around and start questioning him. He asks for his license and proceeds to question him. The police ask questions like, do you have anything in the car that should not be there. He even asks my boyfriend to step out the car. Another police officer pulls up and starts to search the car, where they find absolutely nothing. My boyfriend tried explaining to the police that he did not do drugs or anything illegal, but they had they own image of him in their head.

These two situations show that stereotypes are still alive today, specifically here in the south. It indicates that African Americans are still suspected of any and everything. In my particular situations, the police had no reason to be following me like that, but I believe that the fact that I am African American in a white area, in a older car gave them the idea that I could be doing something against the law. In my boyfriend’s situation, he was innocent, but like me, he’s an African American. However, he was in a newer model car and still got harassed. I guess young black men cannot drive nice cars without doing something illegal, as stereotypes put it. It angers me that the south has come so far, but still possesses attitudes of the past.

Inequalities have always been an issue in the south. It can definitely be seen in Memphis and its surrounding areas. I attended Shelby County School, where we had nice books and all of the computers were Apple brand. However, in my volunteer work, I noticed that in a Memphis City Elementary School, its barely even nice books or up to date computers. As you drive through Memphis and Shelby County, you can see the differences in the roads and buildings. It just shows me that there is a difference. There is not equality in schools or within this city in my opinion.

Hopefully, one day these issues will be solved, where there are no stereotypes and everything is equal for everyone. Maybe the south will be a better place some day.

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