Living, Learning, and the Outgrowth of a Paradox

Memphis, Tennessee has a rich creative history. Beale Street was a central location for African Americans and was their spot to relax and unwind. It was filled with culture and a place where people could feel somewhat equal to whites, but that was short lived. There are many people from Memphis that have contributed their hard work and intelligence to making this city a place full of culture and attempting to keep it up to par compared to other cities. That is the biggest mistake that Memphis as a city could possibly make. I did not realize this mistake until our class discussion. It never crossed my mind that we are focused on becoming something that we are not. We will never be Atlanta that has the AUC, the aquarium and the Coca-Cola Factory. As Memphis we overlook The Civil Rights Museum, the Stax Records, The University of Memphis, and the famous hip hop culture that we have here. It is common for every city to think that their city has nothing to offer. I have learned that a paradox is a statement that contradicts itself. Memphis is filled with contradictions, and have over time been consumed by them. The consumption of all the negatives has shed a dark light on Memphis from the people who have been born here and that currently live here. Memphis, Tennessee has an exemplary neonatal care department, but also has a sky high infant mortality rate. It goes unnoticed because the high infant mortality rate is always being broadcasted. I have come accustomed to seeing a lot of deaths in Memphis, and I have never paid attention to the hospitals and their specialties. I admit, that is not on my mind, but I am at fault for downing my city because of the crime rate and not acknowledging the good it has.  Memphis is known for its musical history. Its history is known around the world and has become timeless. There are some Stax produced records being infused to songs still in 2013. Sure, I was elated to know that music from my city is still being glorified and appreciated, but I still shake my head at all the people I know that wake up and decide to be a rapper. It just saddens me to know that people see that as an easy way out. It is a chain reaction but the chain is weak. The chain is weak because all they see is the glitz and glam not the actual talent that it takes to be a rapper. While watching Hustle & Flow, I related to the movie and I have witnessed some people live their life like that. Not once was education mentioned in the movie except when it was being used to talk about “who you know”.  There are not many people in Memphis who actually want to go to school with the concept of graduating. People are just going as if it is just something to do. I am a victim of letting the negatives overshadow the love that I have for my city. I loved my childhood and I am enjoying my life now living here and I am 20. I am glad to say that the paradoxes will no longer blind me. No longer can the negativity bring my spirits and perceptions of this luscious growing city down. I accept that the growth of Memphis is slow but at least it is moving forward. I will contribute to shining light on Memphis for what it is, and I will stop comparing my city to other places because it will never be another city. The progress of Memphis has to come from within. The citizens of Memphis must work together to better our city. No change will be made overnight, but every input helps. It is not the city governments complete fault, even though they make  the decisions, we as citizens can contribute to making our city better by voicing our opinions more. The paradoxes should diminish and the positivity in Memphis and about Memphis should flourish, which will bring support that is overdue in our city.


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