How Many SLAVES do you own?

The U.S. South has had a significant influence on the rest of the world especially Global South. As things have progressed in the U.S. South they have steadily made their way around the rest of the world and influenced both its industries and societies. One major thing that has occurred throughout history is slavery. Particularly the U.S. and U.S. South have been known for their enslavement of African Americans. However through an ongoing process of civil rights movements, equality laws, and formation of unions U.S. enslavement and unfair workers’ rights have legally been abolished. So this must mean that companies are treating employees fairly right? Or there is no more slavery? Well not quite….

With the laws in place, rather than companies complying with them, they have simply moved to other countries where they can have cheap labor and employees willing to do it. In these countries companies pay an unmanageable salary, put kids in the workplace, force them work in completely unhealthy conditions and excessive hours with no benefits. Thus reforming what was unethical in the U.S. South and expanding it into the Global South where they can get away with it. These companies then send the products and goods back to the U.S. where we, the consumers can then purchase them.

Majority of all the items we acquire as people from clothes and food to electronics at the end of the day come from somewhere else, from cheap labor, from a slave.  So essentially although we do not consciously support slavery and unfair rights in the U.S., with the products we purchase every day we are supporting slavery and the companies who own and taking advantage of people in other countries. But we sure do love the cheap prices right?

Is there a way to change this? Is it worth the cheap prices? Are consumers willing to pay a higher price for goods or does it not concern us because it is not in our country? I think this does need our attention and awareness. Often as consumers we do not pay attention to such things because it’s not something that is a concern in our everyday life. It’s not us or our children having to work in such conditions. We only reap the benefits without ever having to face the realities of situation.

Although the South (U.S. South) may not be rising again, the Global South is pushing on strong with its inequality and ethnicity. A major problem of this opposed to the U.S. South is that it is not something that we are forced to face in our everyday lives; meaning that concern and awareness of such actions is down and so nothing is being done to change it.

I found this website that can somewhat give us an idea of the way we are supporting slavery. It is a quick survey about your personal lifestyle (the items you use, the things you own, ect.) that will end by add all the variables of how many slaves you would own. My number was 63 slaves.


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.

Platinum VS Gold

Much musical success has risen from the streets of Memphis. Music from Memphis has a distinct richness that comes from within the lyrics. It is more than just songs and beats it is a feeling that comes over us when listening to the song; where the dialect speaks of the real struggles that real people are facing. This creates a connection to the audience that is made directly through the artist who has lived it and is putting their personal passion into the creation of the music. The artist communicates the song in such a strong way with everything from the lyrics, to the tone of their voice making the music come alive and helping the audience bond with the song and the artist. The richness of the verses and link to the people are what bring many artists up from the trenches gaining them recognition outside of Memphis leading to their success.

The artists speak from the heart because they have lived through the rough times and know what it is like to have to grind through the struggles of a blue collar low income lifestyle. Once gained success some artists lose their true identity from Memphis and forget what how the city and their life within it made them who they are, while others do not forget the struggles of their past and the difficulties of what they came up from. “Hustle and Flow” demonstrated being connected to Memphis and portrayed the concepts through the use of Platinum and Gold. Those who gained success and lost touch with their roots where seen as “Platinum” and those who remained intact with their past and struggles as “Gold”.  In the movie Platinum is represented by Skinny Black and how his success drove him to become “too good” for the city, while Gold is represented by Djay and his crew whose success is driven by the difficulties and struggles of their life in Memphis.

Artists from bluff city need to be “Gold”, they need to embrace Memphis and be grateful for how the city has historically changed music by forming its own styles of Blues, Rock Roll, Hip Hop, and Rap. With changes is social status and lifestyle of becoming famous it is easy to become “Platinum” and forget about Memphis and the negative stigmas that lie there. But artists must not forget how their tie to Memphis has made them unique and is what holds the key to their success.  If it wasn’t for Memphis and their experiences in the city, their achievements would not be nearly the same.