Making Memphis Home

Memphis has long had a negative reputation of violence and being behind other urban cities.  Over time we have spent large amounts of money developing our city. Things in Memphis have greatly improved and has gained positive recognition. Many college graduates have chose Memphis as their new home. Memphis has a variety of post bachelor school options. The University of Tennessee medical school has a campus located in the downtown area. The school is walking distance to two of the regions finest hospitals. Being close to hospitals is a plus for prospective students.  This has brought a heavy flow of students from all over the country. The University of Memphis Law School is also located in downtown Memphis. The school was formally a post office. The location is close to the court systems downtown and many law firms. The law school has a high ranking as a best value law school and its approved by the American Bar Association. These factors have brought many people who plan on having a career in the legal field to Memphis.

Memphis is also a chose for chose who recent college graduates with a bachelors degree looking to start their career. This wonderful city has good weather, cheap cost of living, good food choices, and access to a major river. The weather is warm most of the year we rarely get snow. Warm weather is a plus for people not to comfortable with the cold. Though we are warm most of the time, it does not get as hot as Texas. The cost of living is a major plus for prospective people wanting to relocate. This is the most important factor, because you want to live comfortable within your budget. The cost of living in other major cities is very high so saving people a lot of money brings residents to town. One can easily rent a nice one bedroom apartment downtown for eight hundred to one thousand dollars a month depending on its amenities. This is a far cry from San Francisco where the same apartment goes for two thousand and five hundred dollars and up. If downtown is not your scene Memphis has a variety of nice apartment complexes around the city starting at five hundred a month for a one bedroom.

The city has a variety of excellent food choices. Bar-B-Que is the most famous food of the city. The style particular style Memphis makes it Bar-B-Que is different from other regions around the country. Memphis style of Bar-B-Que is “wet” which is a sauce based flavor applied to the meat. Many people love the different, but flavorful meat. Fried Chicken has also become a staple of Memphis. One of the restaurants that has brought many tourists in from around the world is Gus’s fried chicken. Memphis also has a host of comfort food diners which is a major attraction to people moving into the city. River Access is also determining factor when considering relocating. Rivers bring jobs, trade, and travel opportunities. Jobs are provided by the river by working on boats such as barges or studying the water life. Trade is a major economic benefit of easy access to river merchants and swap goods fast and easy. Traveling to other cities among the river’s trail is easy with the direct connection from Memphis. Memphis is a excellent place for college students to start their career in. The city has a great variety of schools, excellent weather, and a low cost of living. Make Memphis your new home we welcome you!

Hustle and flow… through a native eyes

Let me start off by saying this no I am not trying to down play the movie hustle an flow or Memphis.  I just want to simply tell how i feel about the movie and the way i feel it represented Memphis. First off i do not think it was a bad movie and I read a lot of critics about the movie and they believe this movie showed Terrance Howard in a different light. That the movie Hustle and Flow showed how good of and actor he is.  What i did not like about the movie is the constant use of the word mane. The word mane was used a thousand times within the movie.  I am aware that people in Memphis do use the word mane but i think they over did it. almost every sentence that came out of Terrance Howard mouth contained the word mane. Also, the accent i know that we live in the south and have a southern accent, but i hate when movies try to make people have a southern accent personally to me they sound real country and a mess. Yes we are country and do not talk like people that is from New York or California, But our accent is not as bad as the movie made it seems.  The movie also did not capture Memphis in a good light. It did not capture all the good things about Memphis the movie was film in North Memphis what you would consider the “Hood” part of Memphis. It was plenty of nice areas in Memphis that they could have choose to film the movie in But they choose North Memphis. It seems like the represented Memphis as this poor city, going to hole in the wall clubs, everybody hanging outside the skating ring, that the woman are hookers and strippers, everybody look hot and sweaty. In the movie it seems like everywhere Terrance Howard and the other cast members went that they was hot and sweaty never clean looking. And i am a native from Memphis and the people i know that lives in Memphis are not always sweaty looking everywhere they go. I have family that lives in Mississippi and they have not been to Memphis in years and after seeing the movie hustle and flow they asked me do all men in Memphis have hair and wear it rolled.  All I could was Shame my head because of the image the movie but in people minds about be living in Memphis . If you never lived in Memphis or visit Memphis often you would really believe this is how Memphis is but it is much more to Memphis than the movie captured. When my family asked me that I told them no and I also told them I had friends that feel the same way about the movie as I do.  I think every time I watch the movie hustle and flow with my friends that we always laugh and discuss how tent portrayed Memphis. I’m not sure if we from the inside looking in and can not see what they see but I promise I do not see it. I really hope people do not prejudge Memphis because of the movie hustle and flow. I promise Memphis have more to offer than drugs, strippers, hookers, pimps, poor living, hot sweaty looking people and man wearing roller set hair. Do not judge a book by it’s cover.


The Most Dangerous State, Tourism, and The Broken Window Theory

We have all seen in the news recently that Tennessee has just been named “The Most Dangerous State” in the United States by the FBI’s statistic research. My home state had the nation’s highest violent crime rate last year! Most of us were shocked by this new information. According to the FBI, the research was based on violent crime being murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.

With major cities like Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, I didn’t really see Tennessee as being more dangerous than any other state with these cities that are known for having a lot of crime. However, many people do think of Memphis as the crime capital. This is because Memphis’ violent crime rate is the fifth worse in the nation. Nashville is also the 18th worst, which I was shocked by. These two cities combined with the poverty rate, and low education level of our state made us skyrocket to number one on the list.

How can we stop violent crime in our city and in our state?
In my opinion, we have to start with the doing something about the poverty rate and education. In class we discussed how our city is investing in sports, businesses, and the development of downtown and the river for tourism rather than investing in education and low-income citizens. I think that our culture can speak for itself. While most of us don’t understand why people would want to vacation here, there are many reasons for people to want to see the Home of the Blues such as: our National Civil Rights Museum, The Memphis Zoo, Graceland, Sun Studio, Stax Museum, Beale Street, The Pink Palace, world-famous restaurants and much more. The problem with our tourism is that we have so much crime that it scares people away. We also discussed the “broken window theory” that most definitely has a huge impact on why people do not want to come visit Memphis.

It is almost like there is a vicious circle around our need for tourism and the money it brings in and spending money on tourists rather than using it for our school systems and low-income citizens. While we are spending money to make the city look better to outsiders, we are neglecting putting money into the low-income citizens and the education systems. This results in our high poverty rates and a lower standard of living. Outsiders and then taken back by the “broken window theory” by seeing our city as a place with too much crime. To them, Memphis is too “scary” or there is too much violence to even consider visiting; therefore we cannot gain as much income from tourists.

While the “broken window theory” steers most people away, I love the character of cities and buildings that aren’t all brand new, shiny, and polished. I love to explore old, abandoned buildings and downtown Memphis is the place to do so. The Sterick Building, which has been empty since 1980, is Memphis’ tallest building and I had the opportunity to explore it as well as get on the rooftop. The view is unbelievably beautiful and something that I will never forget. It made me appreciate our city more and see it for the amazing place that it is! Sometimes the run down places are the most interesting to see. Memphis isn’t a place to go see fancy, expensive buildings; it’s a place to explore and learn about southern history and culture.

Side Note: If you want to read more about the most dangerous states in the U.S. and see the other states in the Top 10, here is the link:

But He’s a Pastor. He wouldn’t lie about having HIV.

When dating, you should always approach the relationship as if the individual has a STD (sexually transmitted disease). Every time you have sexual intercourse without protection, not knowing anything about the person’s health, you willingly put your life in their hands. Often times we get confused when we are dating. Money and status tends to blind us and we act on emotions alone. Does it really matter who he or she is? One woman had to find out the hard way.

Just recently in Memphis, the news stations ran a story on a local pastor who was charged with a Class C Felony of Criminal Exposure to HIV. Rodney Carr, affiliated minister of The Fellowship of Believers in Christ Church, knowingly spread the disease to his girlfriend whom he did not inform of his condition. She did not find out until after they broke up, when she tested positive for HIV. Now while I understand he should have informed her of his condition, she should have been more careful. She was a married woman seeking counseling for some problems she was having with her husband. Carr being an ordained minister, she trusted him a little more than she should have. While it is true, you should be able to trust ministers, deacons, pastors, etc; let’s be real! We have been hearing for years that some of the biggest whores, liars, manipulators, etc are sitting in the pulpit. You trust them as far as you see them; your trust and faith should be in God alone. Any clergyman who would throw himself at me knowing I am a married woman, whether separated or not, would concern me. That was the first red flag! You committed a sin with a supposed man of God. True enough we all sin, but that was like playing with fire. I curse like a sailor when I’m angry, but no matter how I feel at church, I cannot bring myself to curse. Disrespecting the church in any way, is just file. I understand how it feels to fall in love. You do things that you wouldn’t normally do. However, you have to keep in mind that every action has a consequence, and sometimes those consequences are unbearable. In this situation, Rodney Carr is just dead wrong. His wife cheated on him during a separation and contacted the disease, and brought it back to him. History just repeated itself. She stepped out on her husband and contacted the disease as well. This is really sad, and whether he is locked up or not, he already has a life sentence. I can only pray she did not sleep with her husband afterwards, and pass it to him. I know Rodney Carr, a friend of my family, and he does not look like he has HIV. He dresses nice, drives a nice truck, lives in a nice home, well-mannered, and respectful. Honestly, I did not find out until Thaddeus Matthews exposed him the day prior to the News Channel 3 exposing him. This is a prime example of how we cannot assume that because a person looks clean, they really are.

In the United States, having unprotected anal or vaginal sex mainly spreads HIV and the sharing of needles through drug use with an HIV infected person. African Americans are the racial/ethnic group that is most affected by this disease. The social, economic, and demographic factors that contribute to the numbers include discrimination, income, education, and the geographic region. There are approximately 6.304 people living with HIV in Memphis, and 5,753 with AIDS. This does not include the expected 20% more people who are not aware of their condition. There is no cure for HIV, and if not treated it damages your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to other diseases that causes AIDS.

To protect yourself, always ask for health records. Go to the clinic with your potential sex partner and use protection. HIV can go undetected for years, so you’re never safe. Unless you’re married to that individual, protect yourself by all means. HIV does not have a specific type of person it attacks, and the next person could be you.

If you have been exposed to HIV or are concerned about your status please contact your primary care giver or call the Ryan White Program Provider at 1-877-HIV-KNOW (1-877-448-5669).

Memphis City Schools new grading scale

Last week in Memphis, TN the Achievement School District (ASD) changed the grading system for Memphis City Schools. according to the ASD the grading system was not design to lower the standards of the students but to make students to take more responsibility when it comes to there grades. the ASD stated that students will make high grades in class and on their report card but when it came to standardized test they will score low. the grading system was to show that our students are really behind that they are making passing grades but are unable to apply the knowledge they learned to test like the TCAP.  The new grading system caused a lot of fuss in the Memphis community because parents and students already think that we are behind when it comes to other school system so why would they lower the grading system? according to the book “Memphis and The Paradox of Place” the Memphis City Schools report a high school graduation rate of 48.5  percent, one of the worst in the united states.  With that being said if Memphis City Schools has one of the worst graduation rate why would the grading system change? now you have to earn a 46 or below to fail when before it was a 69 or below. hopefully what the ASD is saying about the new grading system is true that it is away to help the students not hold them back. Because if its not than i am scared to see how much knowledge the kids are about to have. my opinion and it is only my opinion because i do not work for the ASD and do not know anything about the ASD. But, i believe the new grading system is a way to just help the kids pass along. the grading system make getting a passing grade easy. this grading system allows you to not have to put that much hard work and dedication into passing. students that been making grades in the 50s and 60s are now considered passing. this only makes it harder when they go to college and see that college does not take it easy like high school. its almost a set up for failure. i would really love to see how this turns out. hopefully for the better and not the worse. Memphis City Schools really need to find away to improve their school system and hopefully changing the grade system is the answer. everybody need to just relax and see if the ASD going to make this work but if its works then its going to be a good thing. Because not only do we need our students to pass we also need them to pass standardized test and this supposed to be the whole purpose of the new grading system.  There is plenty of  Memphis City School that is on the list of schools that students are not passing the TCAP. The school stays on the not passing the TACP list for so long that the state have to take over the school and get new staffing.

How South Was Segregated

The southern states have always had more problems with segregation than the northern. The south was the last states to pass segregation laws. Those laws still stand today. Whites and blacks still do not get along to par. For the most part all of the whites still keep to themselves and the blacks keep to themselves. We as humans segregate automatically, by nature or by instinct.  Racial segregation is generally outlawed, but may exist through social norms, even when there is no strong individual preference of it. There were and still are many of times that segregation stands in court, law, and through anything to do with fights with interacial views. Most people today do not look at the past but some still do. The way things used to be is always brought up into the picture somehow. Segregation will never go away it is always here to stay. The whites and blacks were always against one another and they still in present times are. The people in the United States today are very different from all those years ago. People in the old days had slaves before segregation laws were passed in the US. Today the US has many more issues than just segregation. For the most part this is taken care of. The problem is yet to stand in the courts if the history was to come back to the US again. America is a free country but just because it is a free country does not mean that there are no laws, rules, regulations, or consequences. For all laws there is a reason behind them. No one will catch someone in this day and time that has a slave or would even think about having one. Slaves where from the past and are not going to come back because the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery. In this present day there is no reason for segregation but there is no way for it to be stopped completely because all people think and have different logics of the law than others. Everyone is intitled their own opinion. The people may get in trouble for giving their opinion at the wrong place at the wrong time but the law is the law and that’s what stands when it comes time to testify. Segregation is not just happening in the south it is happening all over the world and from the day the law was passed in the united states it still continued on and on. Today in southern states it is a big problem. The whites and blacks stay to themselves like it was before the amendment was passed. They do not mean for it to be like this but that is how people today choose to make it. This is the reason so many people in the south are the way they are. The reason for segregation laws are because all were abused in other nations with segregation and still to this day are. Segregation is not a good thing. Segregation was long before this time and the generations are just going to get more and more involved with situations and matters that they do not belong but without out a past there would be no today.

Through the Lens of Fame

I have heard it said that the white Southerner is the last “safe” stereotype in America. There’s even a term for it: “hicksploitation.” You can poke fun at a white Southerner and nobody will bat an eye because, hey, it’s true, right? However, it’s also said that humor is often one of the first forums to shed light on tough social issues; if that’s the case, then what does it say about life as a poor white Southerner?

Network television has made a fortune in a new niche of entertainment featuring the lives of Southern working families on shows like Buckwild (MTV), Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (TLC), and Duck Dynasty (A&E). Never mind that there isn’t a single show that portrays socioeconomically comparable families or groups of ethnic minorities in a similarly negative light: shows like Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta (VH1) and The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Bravo) tend to focus on the wealthy black Southern circle. One proposed show that would have broken the mold, All My Babies’ Mamas (Oxygen), was so vehemently put down by the public–specifically, advocacy groups and civil rights activists–that the network cancelled the show before it ever aired.

But in the last decade, focus has shifted to a darker and even more desperate aspect of Southern life: Appalachia. Portrayals of rural America are disturbing; just look at the 2010 Academy Award winning film Winter’s Bone or the character Pennsatucky, also known as Tiffany Doggett, on Netflix’s newest series Orange is the New Black. Even the desolate setting of District 12, located in a futuristic Appalachia, in Suzanne Collins’ series The Hunger Games. It’s terrifying–inbreeding, crystal meth, harsh environmental conditions, lack of resources and capital–life is dangerous at every turn.

Here’s the kicker: impoverished, uneducated, rural white Southerners have no advocate. They are silent victims, not only of their own condition but also victims of a history where being any kind of white is better than being any kind of minority. In return, the demographic group is perpetually overlooked and underserved. Unlike in other disenfranchised groups portrayed in the media, there is no empathy for the victim. No, the white Southerner has the reputation of being a “safe” stereotype, one that it is okay to comically abuse. Wrong. These people, shown through the lens of fame, hint at a much darker truth in America.

The rural, impoverished, white Southern communities in Appalachia as a whole suffer more from problems of economic depression, violence, mental health and affective disorders, disease, and chronic drug abuse than the rest of America. One article presented in class discusses the shocking drop in life span in uneducated poor Southern women. People living in appalachian America are assumed to be a backwards, hopeless, unwelcoming, and undeserving group, contained in an isolated, lawless, pastoral mountain community.

What, then, is the pop cultural appeal of Appalachian culture? I would guess that a largely white audience sees an opportunity to express latent fears and desires regarding their own whiteness. God forbid that, in today’s culture, anyone suggest that a white, employed man could be a victim. God forbid that anyone suggest that whites also suffer. A long history of white authority makes a newly self-aware population err on the side of caution when expressing concerns about class and race. Appalachian America takes whiteness to all its extremes, depicting struggle in terms of race, religion, and region. It allows white America to vent on our own issues with impersonal distance, and opens a forum to reflect on and discuss the flaws and troubles of our lives at the expense of further marginalizing Appalachian-America.

Night Life

Most would recommend Beale Street if one was looking to have a good time on a Saturday night. I can remember  rushing my twenty-first birthday to come so I could get on  Beale. It was the talk of the town and seemed like the best thing going besides a club atmosphere. Twenty-one came  and Beale Street became my Saturday night ritual. I knew that my Saturday night would consist of laughter, drinking, dancing, fighting, police, strippers…you saw it all on Beale Street. The older Ii got the less attractive Beale on Saturday night was for me. In class we discussed Beale at its many phases since it has existed and I was surprised to learn some of those facts. For as long as I can remember Beale Street has been a tourist attraction by day and the “turn up” spot by night. We analyzed Beale at different points in time such as early twentieth century, mid-century, and post-king assassination which  showed that as time progressed the idea of Beale Street became less favorable. I never would’ve though that Beale Street was nothing more than an open public “juke joint” and to learn about its growth from being looked upon as being the “Harlem of the South” to being demolished and born again was astonishing. The state in which Beale Street became after the assassination of Dr. King is more of the Beale that Street that I can relate to. Over the years, so many things have happened on Beale Street whether it happened in a club, in the alley ways located on Beale, or trouble that has occurred while on Beale and it followed the individuals home. Due to the increase of crime, curfews and strict stipulations regarding behavior and age have been put into place by city council officers and law enforcement. These efforts were  to try and prevent crime and I also think in many ways to keep down on the public embarrassment.  As we discussed in class, Beale Street really took a turn in the late ninety’s and early twenty-first century. Beale lost its prestigious value and for many it has become a eyesore for some of the residents that live here in the city. Memphis city leaders made decisions in prior years to demolish certain aspects of Beale Street but later reconsidered their actions and put efforts in to place to try and rebuild Beale Street  to resemble the “old Beale Street”. The city could put up lavish blues clubs and some of the finest dinning places but had Beale Street lost its prestige? I don’t believe there is anyone that would share the same opinions about Beale Street and what it has or has not taken away from the city of Memphis. The one thing that is agreed upon is the historical impact Beale Street has had on this city. Even today, people travel from all around the world to visit Beale Street and many other historical monuments that Memphis has. Beale Street is the heart of our city and for that reason it will forever thrive and always receive efforts from council leaders and willing residents to make it better and better.

Sociology of the South Blog post

One of the many things that I enjoy about “my south” involves  finding entertainment for my family of six without having to spend money!  I am in love with Tom Lee park and I think it’s an awesome place for families to have  family moments, relax, spend quality time, and not to mention…enjoying the great view! The park is a city park and its located immediate west of downtown Memphis, Tennessee, overlooking the Mississippi River, the shores of Arkansas on the opposite side, and the beautiful condominiums. I found out that this park was named after an African American by the name of Tom Lee who saved the lives of 32 passengers of a sinking steamboat in 1925.  In my opinion, this park is where it’s at!! The park holds several events like the annual Memphis in May celebration, which is a month long event that is split into different events. The Beale Street Music Festival which is an event that showcases a mix of local and national music acts. World Championship Barbeque Contest, and the Sunset Symphony that consists of a night of classical music.  People come from all over to enjoy the different activities that are given at this park every year.  This is my idea of an “astonishing south”!

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Let Me Explain!

Living in a city where music refuses to die! I feel like singing the down home blues right now for our city and the lack of knowledge people have about some of the new changes in the school system here in the Memphis area. In order for the students to grow they will need positive reinforcement, mind challenging work, and the support of the community. That is why lowering the grading scale cannot be the only answer and is not the only change being made.

Positive reinforcement is important and will work if you give a child more encouraging words like great job, keep up the good work.  It will make him or her want to do better in their school work. In the Whitney Achievement School the children receive a paper check at the end of the week and on Friday they get to spend their earnings at the school’s bookstore or pay their way to future school field trips. This is preparing the children for the real world outside of class because at a job after working so many hours you in return receive a check for your hard work.  Each teacher has an iPod with a list of their student name with an app that connects all teachers to that child’s behavior in that grade; moreover, like on a job, for a different action money can be deducted from your check.  The children can lose money for a host of thing as well.

For example, if a child leaves their homework at home he or she will lose a dollar off of their paycheck. If a child is not dress in the correct uniform then a dollar will be taken as well. In order for the children to not lose focus of the main point, which is encouragement, no more than five dollar will be deducted per day. This is to try and keep more positive outlook than negative.

Then aside from lowering the grade scale the school has implement two hours of nothing but reading. They have added more subjects to the curriculum. Exposing them to more knowledge then before and they also have added classes that they call support classes.

Another change aside from lowering the grading scale the school has extended the school-hours. This is for two reasons: the first reason, is to keep the children in a positive environment to keep them for negative activities like gangs, stealing, and hanging on corners and the second one; is to introduce them to different things like band, choir, kickboxing, and Zumba and many more activities. Finally, stop putting all the responsibility on the school!  It starts at home. It takes a village to raise one child so get involved and volunteer your time and money. The most selfish thing people can do is turn their back on the problem that the school system is having because those same children will be the next doctors, lawyers, nurses, and congressmen and women they will service their parents and teachers in old age.

In a city where resources for attracting industry, such as low wages, low tax rates, and cheap natural resources, that have benefited private investors, often at the expense of investments in public service. This change is an upgrade to our children because clearly there has been more value added to their life, so before judging these changes, we need to check their price tags because our children clearly have been removed from the clearance rack!