A Blessing in Disguise

I am sure we can all agree that there has been some circumstance in our life in which we were unhappy with the cards we had been dealt, maybe trying to reject them; then sometime in the future looked backed only to realized that whatever those cards may have been, the way they panned out actually turned out to be for the better. These situations and circumstances may appear negative or make us unhappy in the moment but in the end we realize how they actually turned out to be “a blessing in disguise”. Our own personal ignorance is what kept us from realizing it in the beginning. This idea of a “blessing in disguise” is something the city of Memphis has continually experienced and will continue to experience they need to realize it.

One way that Memphis has experienced this concept was through Blues music. When the style of Blues (a mixture of folk, jazz, and rock & roll) first emerged in the city it was rejected by majority of Memphians. They viewed it as slander that was anti-religious, more specifically anti-Christian. The city and significant people did not support the music until it began getting national attention and interest. With such popularity and interest the Blues brought attraction to the city, making it a tourist attraction and the historical birthplace of such a unique and historical style. This boosted the city making the blues “a blessing in disguise”.

Another way Memphis has experienced “a blessing in disguise” was through Sickle-Cell Anemia. The disease became extremely prevalent affecting many Memphians during the early 20th century while many African Americans were migrating to the urban city from their rural suburbs due to lack of job. In the beginning the disease was very negatively frowned upon and even more severely segregated the population in Memphis. Sickle-Cell was considered a genetic disease of outcasts. But Memphis began doing studies on the disease. These studies resulted in much support from the government through grants and eventually Memphis became the first to open a clinic for the disease. This gained national attention and appreciation as the disease was widespread throughout the country. What at one time seemed to be such a degrading disease for the city is now something Memphis’ studies on the disease are world renowned. This disease opened many doors medically for Memphis which was “a blessing in disguise”, especially during the time of high rising unemployment and poverty in the city. Sickle-cell and everything that came along with at one time may have been what kept the city from going under.

Memphis is a city that has been forced to face many challenging situations which in their time seem so undesirable  but as we see has only helped the city come out better off and more well-known. During these times many controversies and unhappy citizens fill the city but it is due to the fact that they cannot see the “blessing in disguise”. So before discrediting the city and trying to get out as fast as possible due to a little rain on the parade, as Memphians we need to realize that it is a city which has been built on struggles and that what appear to be such a struggle or so negative might just  turn out the opposite. It might make history and be what keeps the city in function. Think twice before running for the hills because many of the issues currently facing Memphis , as negative or bad as they may seem, may turn out to be “a blessing in disguise” that could make history. People must remember that the most amazing gifts do not always come in the best packages. As seen through Memphis’ history it is only a matter of time before the current grind it is facing turns into a blessing.

Delicious Southern Food!!!


The south is known for many great attractions, but the food has to be the overall best attraction thus far! Yes! Southern food tastes like no other type of food. For example, people travel from all over the world just to eat in the south. Many of my family members from Detroit and Florida is always asking me to bring them food when I come to visit. Barbecue is a well known southern food that everyone seems to crave. Especially Memphis, the barbecue is finger-licking good, and the meat falls right off the bones! I can’t forget about the most important food, and that’s SOUL FOOD. Soul food does something to my body, and I feel so good after I eat it. I get tired of eating fast food, but I can never get tired of eating “REAL” food. Vegetables are so delicious and in the south they are usually handpicked and extra fresh. My grandmother makes the best greens, candied yams, meatloaf, and cornbread. I had to say that because she takes pride in everything she cooks. Every piece of food she cooks is from scratch, and that is very significant for southern women. I also like “Pappadeaux” in Atlanta because they have a delicious fish and grits meal. Nothing represents the south like some fried catfish. Atlanta is also known for having “Gladys Knight and Ron’s Chicken and Waffles”, and the chicken there tastes amazing. I absolutely love ‘B.B. King’s” in Memphis because they serve a great Filet Mignon and mashed potatoes. But “The Grille” restaurant in Memphis has the best grilled food I’ve ever tasted. I like traveling to New Orleans because they serve a spicy gumbo that I must have when I visit. Seafood is significant in southern style foods because there is nothing like fish, shrimp, and lobster. The south is also known for frying everything. For example, in many southern family households, fried chicken is on the menu majority of the time. Eating southern style food makes anyone feel at home, so many people visit only to eat. Southern food brings families together, and it keeps families close. Many African American families use this type of food to connect to their roots and/or culture. I appreciate food in the south because in other regions the food does not taste as good. For instance, food in California is horrible, so the only food I enjoy is sushi, on the west coast. Up north I only enjoy the pizza and pasta. In Chicago, I tend to only eat breakfast food because they don’t have many soul food spots. Therefore, I can’t say it enough; there is no other type of food that can compare to food in the south. Banana pudding is another one of my favorites. I remember as a child in the summer, we would sit in the backyard and eat banana pudding while watching the clouds roll by. Southern food keeps memories alive, and makes people happy. The south has the most delicious food on earth, and I absolutely love it!

Here in the United States people take sex to lightly. Some people think that just because that person does not look like they have a disease or think they have known that person for so long that they can be trusted. But in reality when you are having sex out of wed lock you definitely need to protect yourself.  Because like my mother told me every thing that look good to you is not good for you.  He could be the finest man on earth and you have sex with him unprotected that five maybe 10 minutes can ruin your life forever.

Even now a days you can not even trust your husband or boyfriend because there has been cases reported about husband’s giving their wives and boyfriends giving their girlfriends STD’S and even sometimes HIV.  It’s a story about a woman getting Hiv and her husband knew it and he didn’t even tell her After a doctor called with the lab results, life would never be the same for a 29-year-old Chattanooga woman.She learned her husband of nearly five years had given her HIV. He’d never even told her he had it, even though she’s pregnant with his child.”That day changed my life forever,” she said. “Just because he didn’t pull the trigger doesn’t mean this is not a murder.”

This is only one of many stories . You have to be very careful now a days. I know you might be thinking if I can not trust my husband or I can’t trust my wife what Is the point of being married.

I feel that no one is perfect and if you make a mistake and you step out on your wife or husband you should protect yourself because a night of pleasure unprotected can sometimes change your whole life forever. So be careful and always protect yourself .


Wealthy and Healthy

In the South, especially Memphis, we have a plethora of hospitals with very high credentials. Is it all a joke? Why are there so many hospitals in the South? Why won’t people go receive the healthcare help they need and receive treatment from the hospitals here? Healthcare is an imporant issue in today’s news, simply because it is a universal necessity. In Memphis, there are people dying senselessly. There are hospitals here in Memphis specifcally, capable of hosting these patients and helping them, but it is not cheap. Being seen in the emergency room, after waiting a couple of hours you will most likely spend any where from 200-500 dollars. Insurance and their qualifications make it hard for everyone to be accepted. I have witnessed people become stressed worrying about how to pay for their hosptial bill. In the past, African Americans were not the highest prioity when it came to receiving treatment. African Americans were viewed as strong and tough. White doctors often disregarded the fact that they needed treatment. Although times have changed, people are almost afraid of going to the doctor. They simply make their symptons minor and never go. Many diseased people find out long after they have contracted the disease or sickness. Even if people are sick, they often try home remedies before going to the doctor or the hosptial. After they finally realize they should go, they are given minimum treatment because they do not have insurance or they simply have the wrong insurance. In class, we discused Memphis’ ambivalence, which ultimately came down to should we help the people with sickle cell or not. That is still the question in the year 2013. As a people, we are worried about having to pick up the tab of someone elses bill. Although when it is our family member, we want everyone to contribute to the cause. It is amazing how years later, the same situation is still an issue, even though sickle cell is not the main focal point, it has become broader and more widespread. The Afforadable Healthcare Act is still trying to be passed. I am not sure if this will be the answer to America’s healthcare problems, but it sure would help to bring in a breath of fresh air. African Americans in the south need to do better as a whole regarding their health and their well being. I can honestly say that I need to make better eating choices and exerceise more. As a twenty year old young lady, I do not visit the doctor annually. I just do not have time, and it honestly never crosses my mind until something bothers me. That is just how it goes in my family, and I know my friends are the same way. It is important to know what is going on in your body, but it is also very expensive and becomes a huge issue if something is wrong. Not attending the doctor annually can be compared to the saying,”if it aint broke, then don’t try to fix it”. I am aware that it could possibly be a southern attribute, but I’m sure people everywhere think like this. If visiting the doctor did not require a copay and staying in the hosptial did not cost you a month worth of rent then maybe people would go more. In the South, people should not feel like going to the hosptial is a burden and feel obligated to know that the hospital is there to help them. Being healthy is not only limited to the wealthy, it is for everyone because everyone deserves to live.

Class Systems

When it comes to the different class system people tend to say they are middle class when asked by someone. In actuality most people fall below the middle class system. I know I am guilty of this when I am asked by someone what class I consider myself to be apart of. Actually I fall in the working poor category because my parents do not make over a certain amount of money to be considered middle class. It is often said that whatever class system that you grew up in that is the class you will forever stay in for the rest of your class. I plan to become a teacher when I graduate from college so that means I will remain in my current working class system. The working class generally works on an hourly wage rather than for an annual salary.

People who are considered middle class are either in the lower end of middle class or the upper end of middle class. The lower end of middle class tends to make more money than the working class and they have more education than the working class. I was not aware that the middle class was broken up into two components. Once it was broken down that way it made more sense about middle class. Most people claim they apart of the middle class because they are too ashamed to say they belong to the working class or working poor. It just seems ideal to say that you belong to middle class so that you will not be an outsider. The upper middle class tends to make hundreds of thousands annually. They tend to be well educated and hold high paying job positions or titles. More than likely they have more leisure with the own work schedule and they probably are more likely to manage other people at work. When I think of upper middle class I think about people who are on the verge of being upper class according to the U.S. standards.

People like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates are considered to be apart of the upper and elite class. These people are more in the upper class because they have new money and people with new money are often looked down upon because they have not always had their money which in my opinion should not matter because all money spends the same way. People that are apart of the elite class are born into this class. It usually takes a few generations to be considered elite. Even though Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates have elite status money they are not apart of the elite class because they were not born into money. The elite class do not work during their lifetime. As far as education they go to school abroad or they go to boarding schools. When it is time for their children to go to college they go to ivy league schools to receive what is considered the best education. If I had a chance to choose what class I would want to be apart of I would choose upper middle class because I would still like to work for things that I want in life but I also want to live comfortably and not have to worry about things that the working class and lower middle class has to worry about.

Gender Matters

In class last week we discussed the topic of sickness. We questioned whether or not people naturally get sick. I was always taught that a human being grows old, gets sick, and dies. So, in my mind, the answer would be yes, everyone will naturally get sick. But, it was brought to my attention that sickness doesn’t generally happen unless pre-genetic. Of course, people get colds and things of that nature, but the chronic illnesses don’t usually happen naturally. This was interesting to me because I’ve always thought that getting sick was just in the cards for everyone, but I was wrong. We went on to discuss major illnesses like cancer, obesity, and heart disease. I was also surprised to learn that women are more likely to die of heart disease than men.

Heart disease is an extremely serious issue, so to discover that doctors don’t properly diagnose women with it baffled me. Men tend to properly get diagnosed because they don’t go to the doctor as often as women do. If a man goes to the doctor complaining of heart problems or pain, the doctor will be more inclined to run some tests and look at it as a serious problem they need to take care of. But if a woman goes to the doctor complaining of the same symptoms as a man, the doctor is less likely to take her seriously simply because women take more frequent trips to the doctor’s office than men. The doctor will probably just end up telling her she needs to get some rest or that she’s just stressed. Gender inequality at its finest!

I was a little upset after learning about this gender bias towards women so I did a little research. Apparently, women are treated less aggressively for heart disease than men. One of the reasons people may accept this is because it has been said that women have different symptoms than men, and the diagnostic tests may not be as accurate in women. So in order to detect heart disease in women, there are different methods, as well as different treatments that need to be acknowledged. However, this does not give doctors the right to simply ignore a woman when she complains of heart problems. It means that doctors should strive harder to detect these symptoms in women because they see now that they are more difficult to find.

It has also been said that a woman’s heart is different from a man’s heart. The research that I found wasn’t as much as I would’ve liked, but it’s enough. I did conclude that a woman’s heart is smaller than a man’s heart, as well as a woman’s arteries. Research shows that it takes a woman’s heart longer to relax after every heartbeat. This could coincide with the fact that women have a 50% chance of dying during heart surgery than men, due to fact that a woman’s heart operates differently. Researchers also believe that is why women are more likely die after their first heart attack.

Heart attack symptoms are different in women, which brings me back to my first point about doctors not properly diagnosing women. Women often tend to complain about pain under their breastbone, indigestion, abdominal pain, nausea, and difficulty breathing. Doctors easily misinterpret symptoms of a heart attack with a gall bladder disease or some sort of anxiety attack. Women are also more likely to experience a heart attack later on in life, especially when they have other diseases such as diabetes, that sometimes connect to heart attack symptoms.

I’ve said all of this to say that doctors have got to be more careful. It’s quite simple if you ask me. Doctors, I know you all are busy, but it’s vital that you all take the proper precautions when it comes to women. Yes, we do visit the doctor more than men, and yes it may not always be about something drastic. But, it is the doctor’s job to take our feelings into consideration. Do not simply ignore us and send us home with a note to get some over the counter medicine. I think it’s much more to it. I found all of this research about how different a woman’s heart is which means that the information is out there. We are becoming more knowledgeable about the gender differences, therefore doctors should really take us more seriously. We know that the diagnostic tests aren’t always accurate in women so there has to be other ways to detect it. All I’m saying is that women deserve the same treatment as men. If it takes a few more extra tests or a few more extra dollars, so what! Aren’t we worth it? According to James Brown, this is a man’s world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl.

They (Almost) Paved Paradise


If the city of Memphis had its way, my house would literally be an exit ramp right now. I have seen the map of the proposed path of I-40 through Midtown. Luckily that tragedy was averted, albeit narrowly. Instead, my house sits on a tree-shaded street in the part of the Evergreen district that was saved from a concrete destiny as part of our national highway system. As Wanda Rushing explained in her book Memphis and the Paradox of Place, a gaggle of ‘little old ladies in tennis shoes’ saved this jewel that is Midtown from becoming another exit on a cross-country interstate. The lot my house sits on was one of the hundreds near Overton Park that were cleared via the use of eminent domain back in the late 1960s for the proposed highway that would have bisected the park. Ironically, as I read Rushing’s chapter detailing this near-miss, I was sitting on my front porch swing enjoying the sights and sounds of my unique Midtown neighborhood.

When I moved to Memphis in 1987 I was confused by the large swath of empty lots just west of the park. When it was explained to me that an expressway had been expected to be erected there I thought Memphians must truly be crazy. In all five cities I had lived in prior to Memphis, no city had such a beautiful park as Overton, such pretty architecture as the homes that surrounded it, nor the eclectic flavor of an urban area such as Midtown has.  I still find it astounding that Memphians at that time thought that destroying Overton Park and its environs would be a good thing for Memphis.

One of the lots on Overton Park Avenue once held a house that my grandmother grew up in around 1910.Two more houses she lived in during the early 1900s were also lost to ‘urban progress’! I-240 destroyed both of those houses, one on Waldran Avenue near Poplar, and the other on Minna Place, near Lamar. To think that every home her family lived in was destroyed by interstates is sad. The empty lots in Midtown were like scars on the landscape.

The lots near the park lay dormant for many years until they were finally released to developers in the 1990s. Now almost all have homes built on them, and families once more fill the lots with activity: children playing games in the front yards, husbands raking leaves, wives setting out Halloween pumpkins on the front porches. Thanks to a thoughtful person in the city’s zoning office, all new construction had to match the period architecture of the surrounding neighborhood. Newcomers to the area usually can not tell the difference between the original and the new homes, and thus the scar has healed.

From my living room I can hear the whistle from the kiddie train at the zoo, and if it is a clear day I can hear the monkeys screaming. My grandmother used to tell me she could hear the zoo’s lion roaring from her house on Overton Park Avenue, and although I often listen for him, I have not heard him yet. But thanks to those little old ladies in tennis shoes, I just may yet.


Who came up with the idea?

Until recently I have always been the type to have a plan. I grew up in a single parent household, the youngest of four; we were all brought up to be very outspoken and independent individuals. Now as an adult my personality has not changed much, I have always  known what I want out of life and how to achieve all the things necessary to get there. Not getting a degree has never been an option; due to the fact that all of the women in my family received their bachelors and higher. If I has not decided to attend college my mother would have cut me off financially and held it against me for the rest of my life. With the pressure weighing heavily on my I entered college immediately after graduating from high school.  Just life all parents my mother’s only intent was to insure that I have a bright future ahead of me that guarantees a stable future. I am a criminal justice major, and have always been interested in becoming a part of a police force whether fighting crime or answering the calls. After much thought and fear of entering the real world after graduation, I began to realize that law enforcement is not the profession for me. Now that I’m older I realize how my surroundings affected my decisions throughout life; my interest in law enforcement only existed because of my families history of being in the profession.  just like many other fields law enforcement has changed dramatically over the years. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t hear of a officer who has done something wrong  that cripple the public’s opinion on who can be trusted. Citizens have become more ruthless when it comes to the lack of respect they have for the ones assign to protect them. Now that I am a mother I weigh my options more when it comes to putting myself in dangerous situations. I have always been aware of the fact that I cannot expect to become rich off a officer’s salary, before it was not about the money but about the thought of protecting others from danger.  After learning about class status in Sociology, I have become more interested in becoming a entrepreneur. I’m not too thrilled about taking out over twenty thousand dollars in student loans to figure out that my life plan was actually my family’s plan for me. I am sure that there are many other college student who are in the same boat as me; those who pick majors based on their family’s approval.  In my family’s opinion when I receive my degree in the spring it will be a big accomplishment and the starting point of a successful future. It has become a social norm for my generation to live our lives based on what our friends and families consider to be the correct way to do things. Now that I have a child of my own I will make it my duty to encourage him to follow his own path of success.

Memphis Issues

Memphis’s Issues

            In this time and era, one would think that a city like Memphis would be on one accord in trying to make the city better. However, it is my opinion that this city is just as backwards as it was many years ago and there are still a lot of attitudes and mentalities stuck in that time period. I argue this because of the many issues, attitudes, and stereotypes the city of Memphis face today.  For example, the school the merging of the two school systems has created a variety of chaos and true colors have come out to the open. I would think that most people would want equal opportunity for children in this city. However, that seems to not be the case. I live in Bartlett, and a lot of my neighbors were showing their support for a separate school system. These people had signs in there yards and this issue was often the topic of discussion in the neighborhood meetings, as well as town meetings. It was from my understanding that my fellow neighbors wanted a separate school district because this consolidation meant equality education. It meant that even more African Americans were moving in, in my opinion. There was not an elite Shelby County Schools, it was now together. Memphis City schools now had the same chances and resources as Shelby County School Students.

Another issue that bothers me is the crime rate here in Memphis. Every day, there seems to be someone being killed, robbed, or beaten. It amazes me that so many people result to doing things like this. Most people would say that it is mainly the African Americans killing other African Americans, and I would definitely have to agree with this statement. I am not sure why these types of crimes keep happening. To me, it shows that a lot of Memphians are still not where we are supposed to be as a whole. It indicates a lack of compassion, a lack of education, and a lack of morality. Where are the role models, where are the community leaders, where are the programs? It is my belief, that this city is to busy worried about irrelevant issues instead of what really is going. It is sad situation.

I am not exactly sure what will it take for Memphis to become one. I am not saying that Memphis has to be perfect because nothing is perfect. All I want for Memphis is for it to be a better city. I want better attitudes, equality schools, and a drop in crime rate. I want positive Memphis mentalities, but until then Memphis makes some kind of change, this city will always be in a cycle of the same issues.

Memphis & the First 48

Memphis is the infamous “City of Blues”. We have Beale Street, National and Famous Museums, and the home of Elvis Presley less than 30 minutes from each other. Every year we have family members, tourists, and travelers alike stopping by to taste the barbecue we’ve branded and see our attractions. However, beyond the rapport we’ve built for being a great tourist city in the South, there’s one generalization we cannot escape: “Yeah, I know Memphis. Y’all are on ‘The First 48 all the time”. Given my combative nature, my first instinct has always been to pull out all of the facts I know or question a statement until the person that said it actually questions it themselves. However, I’ve never been able to fight this stereotype because I don’t actually watch “The First 48” and probably never will, leaving me with no comeback.

It was a well-known fact at one point that Memphis held the #1 spot in a listing of Most Dangerous Cities produced by Forbes. With our numerous star appearances on “The First 48”, we set a standard that could not be beat and shed a light on one of our biggest problems in our city (accompanied by low literacy rates and infant mortality, but who’s looking at that). It wasn’t until 2008 that the Commercial Appeal reported a discontinuation of Memphis’ ties with the show. City Council Member Wanda Halbert expressed her concerns as such, “I heard out-of-town people say Memphis was out of control, we were exposing the world to the worst aspects of our city…”, also noting that Memphis isn’t denouncing it’s role in crime as big city, but the show “sensationalizes it”. So what is it that brings people to Memphis, you ask?

Despite and beyond our reputation, as a whole Tennessee benefits greatly from tourists every year. USAToday stated: “more than 50 million people come to Tennessee each year…  tourism has an impact of more than $14 billion on the state. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the country, with more than 9 million visitors each year.” Ranking #1 in tourism for West Tennessee, Memphis has a lot to offer people that don’t have access to its attractions everyday. On the other hand, people that live in Memphis see nothing new or exciting about Beale Street. We visit Beale Street every weekend to people watch, Graceland maybe once in our lives to say that we went, Mud Island really just looks like water springing into the air across the River, and we visit places like Ching’s Hot Wings more than we do our Downtown Museums. However, when someone mentions our star appearances on “The First 48” our defense mechanism is to challenge their hometown and say that Memphis is never shown in a positive light. My question, as a city tax-payer and half-native, is do we support our city in any way, or do we just protect it from being shot down? When someone shadows our light, are we coming together to pull the blanket of crime, despair, and statistics off of the underlying heart that lies underneath? As much as we want to protect others from “talking bad about our city”, what are we doing to give them something good to talk about? I’m guilty, but I’m not the only one.