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.

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.