While thinking about what I should write for my final blog post, a story came on the news about pre-k in the Shelby County school system. Not to my surprise, the pre-k option for the school system did not get approved because people did not vote for it. For one, there was a low voter turn out rate. Only forty percent of registered voters went to the polls to vote. Secondly, out of that forty percent that did vote, they overwhelming voted no. I questioned why would people deny the children of the city the opportunity to get a jump start on their education and I came up with a few logical answers to these questions.
The first thing I could think about was who might have been apart of that forty percent who voted. Now I am not positive, but I assume that the people who voted not to have pre-k added in the school system were a part of the upper middle and upper class economic group. I say this because people who have money do not need to send their children to city funded pre-k programs. These people are able to send their children to private institutions or hire tutors to educate their children; therefore, they do not need a pre-k system in order to educate their children. This is a big issue in the South. Memphis in particular does not value a child’s education. Instead of providing a quality education to all children, the city of Memphis expects the parent to insure that their child is properly educated. TO a certain degree, I do believe it is the parents responsibility to make sure their child is receiving an education, but that only means making sure their child attends school and completes any homework while at home. The rest of the responsibility lies in the school system and they are not doing a very good job.
Another reason I believe pre-k was not voted for is because some people view it as a day care for their kids. In the south I always hear a lot of parents saying that they can’t wait till their child goes to school so they can have a break. This is a mindset that numerous parents have in the south. Instead of viewing school as a place their child can go to better themselves, they instead view it as somewhere they can send their child to get some type of relief for a few hours a day. If parents do not step up and take a stand for their child’s education then who will?
The quality of education in the south is far inferior than the education children receive in the north. As a whole, the south tends to have a me first attitude and does not care about the education opportunities for the children. It is important to remember that children truly are our future and without them we will be lost. They are the future doctors, attorneys, and teachers so if we do not educate them properly where does that leave the south as a whole?
In class, we have been talking about the Global south and the impact it has had on the United States South. It has been made clear that when it comes to labor, the United States south has modeled its practices after those large industries in the Global South. With that being said, I began to question whether or not the affect the Global South has had on the United States South labor force has been a positive or negative one.
Before answering this question, I think it is first important to distinguish the Global South from the United States South. The Global South extends beyond the confines of the United States, and extends to include places like Asia and Latin American countries; whereas, the United States south only includes southern states in The United States of America. The Global South, in a sense, set the stage for how to treat their industrial workers. For factory jobs, we have learned that the Global South offered poor working conditions and they rarely cared about the well-being of their workers. To prevent the formation of things like unions, the Global South created racial tension amongst their employees. This ensured that people would not join together and protest against the company in order to bring about some change. This exact method is how the United States South constructed and ran their factories and warehouses.
This method, later adopted by the United States South, is how industries ran and maintained order. This method is still around to this day. Of course, this method was created to maintain a type of social control in the workplace; however, it fosters an unequal opportunity of the employees. Because of this competition between races that was created at the boom of the industrial revolution, again, people who are members of minority groups are still disadvantaged. So, not only were African Americans targeted and mistreated, but also women were viewed as the weaker gender. Factory owners then and now believe that women are less likely to speak up against poor working conditions because if they were to lose their job, then taking care of a family would indeed be out of the question.
After meditating on all of this information, I came to one conclusion. By following the Global South in their effort to create an ideal workforce for industrial businesses, the United States South set themselves up for failure. If the United States South came up with its own idea of how to run their industries, I believe that they would have come up with more reasonable working conditions. I may be being a tad bit too optimistic considering the history of the United States of America, but I strongly believe creating their own mechanisms of social control in the worker place, these early factory owners could have created working conditions that were ideal for the American south worker instead of the Global south worker. If these things would have happened at the beginning of this industrial boom I believe the United States south labor jobs would be so much better.
In class, we have been talking about the people of little substance. With these discussions, we have learned that when sickle cell anemia was a problem in our city, the people of substance decided to care for these sick people because of the grant money they would receive for constructing hospitals. Of course that seems harsh, but Professor Robinson has helped me realize two things. The world does not care about “people of little substance” and its all about money all the time! With that being said, I started to wonder. Does Memphis still care about the healthcare treatment for those people of little substance and if so, do they have any ulterior motives?
After thinking about this question long and hard, I came to the conclusion that the answer to this question is no. Unlike countries that pride themselves on keeping their citizens healthy so that their economy can prosper, the United States treats health care as a business. The south especially does not make sure that the “people of little substance” are accurately cared for. My aunt lives in Iowa and the way the north handles healthcare is vastly different than they way the south does. In Iowa, anyone who can not afford their medical bills will be taken care of despite their inability to pay. It kind of reminds you of the way Lebhonor works in Memphis. In Memphis however this is not the case. The south is too busy making money from the sickly that they fail to realize the economic benefits of a healthy working class.
When it all boils down to it, the “people of substance” only cater to the people of “little substance” when it benefits them financially. Its sad to say, but things have not changed much since the sickle cell anemia boom in Memphis. So, after coming to this realization, another question came to my mind. How different would Memphis be if the “people of little substance” had their healthcare needs attended to? I believe that Memphis would prosper greatly. The first benefit of making healthcare available for everyone is lower hospital costs. As of now, when a person receives a hospital bill, they often notice that simple things like a box of tissue cost hundreds of dollars. The reason for such high hospital bills is because they are paying the bills for the people that cannot afford to pay it themselves. If Memphis devised a healthcare system that assured everyone who could not afford medical treatment were taken care of, then everyone else would have lower healthcare cost. Some may wonder how this will benefit Memphis. Well, if the cost of medical care was lowered, then people would have more money in their pockets. This money could in turn be redistributed back into the Memphis economy and this would assist Memphis in their effort to prosper financially.
Memphis is still a place where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is a fact that will likely not change; therefore, I have come to the conclusion that Obama Care needs to become every “person of little substance” because Memphis does not care how you get your medical bills paid for!
After we finished reading Memphis and the Paradoxical place in class, I began to think about the way people view Memphis. The point that stood out to me the most in the book was when Rushing talked about how reporters from up north would write articles about Memphis saying that it was a dirty place to live in and that was the reason the people kept catching the yellow fever. After reading this section of the book it made me realize that things like this have not changed for Memphis. Although residents of Memphis know that the city is amazing and not as violent as people make it seem, outsiders continue to tarnish the city’s image. For example, as I was strolling through the latest stories on Yahoo, I ran across an article that was talking about Elvis Presley and the Whitehaven community. The journalist wrote a story about the current condition of Elvis Presley Blvd. and hundreds of people chimed in to give their two cents. Multiple people stated that they were afraid for their life while in the area and encouraged others not to visit. REALLY!! Everyone knows that the Whitehaven area is far from dangerous, but appearance and perception is everything. Because one person said the area is bad, other people stray away from visiting the community and this undoubtedly affects the economic growth of the area. The commentators on the article failed to mention the real reason they feared for their life while visiting Graceland.
It is common knowledge that mainly Whites visit Graceland. It is also common knowledge that the Whitehaven community primarily consist of African Americans. We can say that race is no longer an issue in America, but everyone knows that is a load of crap. Racism is still alive and kicking. The people that visited Graceland were not afraid because the area is know for violence because that is not true. They were afraid for their life because too many black people were close by. Now if they said they had stayed in South Memphis and they feared for their life this might be a different story. I just feel that too many people who know nothing about Memphis try to say what the city is about and they have no clue what they are talking about. I believe that not enough people focus on the positive things that are going on in the city.
People tend to forget that Memphis is constantly trying to make the city a safer place to live in. For example, last year Memphis started this thing called gas for guns. This program encourages people to bring in their guns in exchange for gas cards, grizzles tickets, or gift cards. Things like this is Memphis’ attempt to make the community a better place.
Memphis has multiple things fighting against them. The first thing that we have against us is our history. From the beginning people have been told that Memphis is a dirty violent place and that stereotype has remained with us. Another thing that Memphis has against it is that it is in the south. People still perceive the south to be far inferior to northern cities and this will forever be the mindset of Americans. While I know that Memphis is an amazing place to live and visit, others will never know this for themselves because they allow the views and perceptions of others shape their outlook of this beautiful city.