Not the Same


I am an African American Woman, and this status was ascribed to me because my parents are African American so I took on their race; however, this does not limit the things I can do. One of the greatest things I have come to believe about living and growing up in the United State is that social status in the US is primarily achieved.  A person can be rich one day and within a blink of an eye be poor the next.  Another, way of looking at it is that your family may not have a lot of money, yet if you work really hard then  you, yourself may have a lot of money one day.  It is up to the individual to determine how his or her life will turn out. This gives me great hope that I can still make a great impression on the world through my achieved status; by helping my race work in a positive way. With that same view, sometime the struggle can get hard because contrary to what some people believe, working hard does not always get a person what they want. A man that does not work does not eat is an old saying or that people that do not have anything must be lazy. Yet, I have seen a man leave his home before sunrise and not return home until midnight doing hard labor work just to feed his family and still not have enough money to pay all of his bills. Many people say that everyone living in the United States are afforded the same opportunities in life. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People are often given opportunities and all people are not given the same chances (opportunities). A child growing up in the Projects of North Memphis will not be given the same opportunities as a child growing up in the suburbs of Collierville. Thetwo children will not even receive the same quality of education. Social status is often what determines what social clubs and social arenas a person will belong to. Rich people tend to socialize with other rich people; often giving each other’s children opportunities that the maid’s (poor) children will not get. Poor people tend to hang with other poor people. Often dreaming of a way out, they work hard with the hope one day they will own a home or one day their children will go to college.

Children learn from their environment and the live what they learn. Children from a well off background learn to network and meet the right people because it is often said, “It’s not WHAT you know but WHO you know”. Children from a background stricken by poverty often learn to hustle or play the lottery with the hopes of hitting it big. Besides who are poor people going to network with, they are all poor and have nothing. I have seen people in the projects spend their last $2 on a lottery ticket, these people don’t have a gambling problem (well maybe), theyjust want a way out. People with a high social status teach their children how to manage checkbooks and the importance of good credit. On the lower end of the spectrum, they often don’t have a checkbook to manage(paychecks are loaded to a pay-card) and their credit is already a mess from just simply trying to survive (getting title loans or payday loans). Wealthy people often encourage their children to marry a certain young man or young woman from a certain family because of thatfamily’s social status. This is because last names and social prestige mean a lot in the upper class. Think about it, have you ever seen a rich father encourage his daughter to go to the projects and find a husband, no!! On the other hand, some parents living in the projects don’t encourage marriage at all, not because it is a bad thing but because the Welfare department says if you have a husband they can’t help you even if you really need it,especially if the husband is working (even though he is not making enough to pay the bills and buy food). Rich people help their children complete and send in college applications and financial aid applications. They sit down and discuss what colleges their children want to attend and why they want to attend them. On the flip side of things, how can a single mother from the projects help her child fill out applications that she has never seen or even heard of? How can she discuss what colleges to go to when she doesn’t know the names of any colleges (other than The University of Memphis)? Rich people travel and get the opportunity to see many different places. Poor people are often stuck in one place their whole life. The world to them (poor people) is only as big as what they see, and that’s not much. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. All Americans are not given the same opportunities.

Help me Lord!

There is an old saying that goes, “the higher belief one has then the poorer he or she will be.” I for one do not agree with this saying; However, I do see a correlation with poverty and the praise of a higher being. Churches are where people go to give praise to the Lord. I wanted to investigate is there any truth to the old saying so, I went to Frayser area in Memphis, Tennessee  38127. I also went to Doulgass Community. 38108 zip code and there are churches on every street  and some even had two different churches on the same street.



photo essay

Can not help but wonder


In class we talked about the Tuskegee Experiment. After taking two African American courses, it was hard to believe that this was the first time I was hearing about this unethical experiment the was done to African American  males back in nineteen hundreds .The public health service used humans as guinea pigs to conduct a study on Syphilis and it’s side effects. The study was conducted to determine from autopsies what the disease does to human body. As much as I want to say I cannot believe that the government would do such a thing, I have to say, I am not surprised at all that we as a nation would use other humans as study subjects. History has proven that, in some cases, human life is worth nothing and if we can gain new knowledge for science, it seems not to matter at what cost. During the time of the Tuskegee Experiment, the doctors had no objection to using African Americanmales for their research. Upon seeking more knowledgeabout this particular study, I read that there were over six-hundred case studies. These men were told that they had “bad blood” when in fact they were infected with syphilis. This took place in Macon County and lasted over four decades, and probably would have lasted even longer if someone had not leak it to the news media.  Now, what in fact was actually hard for me to believe was that before the story was leaked someone said, “wait maybe this is wrong”, however, the law makers justified it as being ethical because no one was being harmed because they did in fact sign up for the study and were receiving the benefits of a free meal and a free trip to see the “good oledoctor” that was helping these men with their “bad blood”.  No one was being harmed!!  As long as no one was being harmed, Okay did I miss something? It wasn’t harmful tosend these men home to their wives knowing dang well that they had syphilis? That it is a sexually transmitted disease. The main reason for joining the study in the first place was for these men to help provide for their families,which is now being placed in harm’s way, but I guess it was okay because it was not hurting the ones who actually signed up for the program. That is just crazy to think that a human life was played with in this type of way.  I cannot help but to wonder if this same type of unethical practice isstill being used right now. AIDS, for example, is there really a cure?  Is it being sold to the highest paying client or is it that all of the side effects are unclear so more study time is needed? Why would they treat people in this way and think no harm is being done.

It’s a shame


Let me be clear, I am not insensitive to the government shutdown. I am saddened that the country I live in will barter with people’s livelihood and I’m also upset by the public display of ignorance shown by both sides. This is a blatant case of elitism, classism, entitlement all mixed in one. Then, here comes the social media with their ignorant rants about the shutdown. When you can name all three branches of government and tell me how many senators represents each state then I may take half of what you are saying seriously. The president is just a figurehead that represents America. The law does not stop or end with him.  There are levels to this, literally, and there are three to be exact. Another thing, these corporations that are whining, moaning, and groaning about having to fund the Affordable Care Act can afford it! Did you all not realize that you were paying more in taxes starting January 1, 2013 to pay your piece of the pie for the Affordable Care Act? I will not disrespect my president by calling itObamaCare, although I was told he now sometimes refersto it as that himself. Personally I care more about who it will help than who passed the law. I mean, the one who gets it passed will be remembered and their good deed does not go unnoted, however, is that really the important factor. These are the exact same companies that are increasing the prices they charge the consumer to offset the so called unreasonable expense of Affordable Care Act. Understand, wlive in a heavily capitalistic society. Folks care more about lining their deep pockets than the welfare of mankind. It is capitalism running amuck; I promise you not a single one of these major corporations will miss any money as a result. My opinion,  is that it is the principle that  they do not want a black man, well not only that,  lets bring it up to the present time hate; which  is not about race but about the  class one can afford to be in and no  democratic will tell them what to do with their money.  President Obama is not the first to attempt to pass healthcare reform; he is merely the only one that seems close to being successful. The question of the day is how long the shutdown will last? Now let’s recap on history; the last time a shutdown happened, was eighteen years ago during the Clinton administration, the Stalemate shutdown lasted twenty- one days. That was almost a month; so this means they are willing to let their employee go without pay instead of making an investment in other people because at the end of the day they will still benefit from the change. If they give a little money out of theirpockets to make sure others are healthy enough to come in and serve them every day.  If everyone did his or her part the world would be a better place.

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!