Memphis: The Perspective of An Inner-City Kid

Memphis, as I know it, is a place of few opportunities. I have lived here since I was 5 years old; therefore, I am accustomed to the Memphis lifestyle and cultures. It is a mid-major city compared to other large African American populated cities such as Atlanta and New York. There are few jobs in the city and those  available to the mass majority are low paying jobs. Many households are led by a single parent, in which, is a single mother. I am a product of a single parent household. My mother worked two jobs to keep the household together. Many of my peers and elders are stuck working low income jobs to make a decent living for themselves. I have witnessed many generations, of my peers, stuck in the chain of welfare. Many have made that source of living. The shortage of jobs, in Memphis, have pushed this ongoing issue.

The lack of education competition, in the city, has also lessen and set the city back. Many inner-city students finish high school without a proper education. Also, many of my peers chose to drop out or rather take the option of a GED. Many of these students are not prepared to take assessment tests such as the ACT and SATs. Upon the entrance of college, this can cause a great deal of adjustment for those who choose the college path.  Recently, the grading scale for all levels of education in Memphis has lowered. Therefore, education leaders are not setting a standard for the youth to get a valuable education. The education system is crippling and handicapping the next generation of inner-city children. While I was in grade school, there was not a real push to get a great education either. I went many days without having to study for a test simply because of the lack of education enforcement around me. Grade school was a cake walk. The Memphis city school system gifted wrapped a diploma for me and many of my peers.

There are not many recreational locations for the youth in Memphis. I grew up in the Orange Mound area of Memphis, and we did not have much to do outside of school. Besides playing a sport, we did not have recreational parks, museums, nor gyms to go to. The ones the city do offer are one of historical monuments or abandoned. Most parks are infested with homeless and are targets for soliciting. Many of my peers were not taught to be interested in such activities. This has led to many inner-city kids roaming and the cause of violence.  The inability to go somewhere and do something constructive leaves many inner-city kids with the option of being deviant. As a result of being deviant, the rate of teen pregnancy is a high. Many teens, in my neighborhood, gave birth to children at a young age. Gang affiliation is another result of the deviancy. Many inner-city kids do not have the luxury joining positive organizations and clubs. This leads to wanting to be accepted by their peers; therefore, many join gangs.

Memphis, from an inside perspective, is a place of very few chances. Many of the citizens chose to look for work outside of the city. The city contains low income jobs and very few chances of employment for citizens living in poverty. The lack of education can be the reason for the acquirement  of these jobs. Memphis has also dealt with the issue of not having recreational areas. Many inner-city kids are left with nothing to do to occupy their precious time outside of school. This issue has led to many negative activities.


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