More Than a Meal.

All over the country food is an important piece to people”s culture and can be a part of traditions past through a family. It could be argued that it is even more than that in the South. Food is a way of life, obviously food is essential for one to live, but in the south we believe that great food is essential to human life. For us it does so much more than nourish our bodies, it soothes the soul, it brings friends and family together, and if done right it can knock your socks off. The tradition of certain foods being passes down from generation to generation in southern families keeping many types of food very popular and relevant in the southeast region. Foods that one can only get in the south, well get right in the south. Food is just on a entirely different level here than anywhere else.

The south s the fattest region in the nation and most likely world. I believe that is because it is just that easy to gain weight in the south. Lets face it all of the food that we consider to be good are not very good for you. I am speaking to our love for “Soul Food” and our knack to fry anything that will fit in said fryer. While the fact that a good number of southerners put on their excessive weight by living on the McDonald’s diet, many others did it in a delicious and rich way. The fact that we crave these fried pieces of gold is not our fault it is in our blood.

I know that I am not the only one that grew up going to grandma’s house for a meal that would satisfy not only the body but also the soul. These foods have been passed down for generations and kept alive for yeas and years, and with luck the generations to follow will keep these family traditions alive. Such foods are not just prevalent in families but in this region. Many of the foods people have come to love were the product of hard times that fell on our ancestors. When these hard times it many found cheap ways to give food flavoring, and with tweaking of recipes over the years one could not live without these delicious foods and spices. Again, while they are not the healthiest things for you, i can assure it tastes much better than salad. Speaking of vegetables, the south has of course made it possible for vegetable not only be great tasting but also terrible for your arteries. Yes, I am talking about frying veggies, fried okra, fried cauliflower, fried zucchini, and friend squash. All at one point were healthy and bland, on trip to the south and they are covered in fried breading and irresistible.

For other parts of the country and world what makes them stand out are things like landscapes and shopping centers. We have all of those things plus much, much more. We have food that can not be rivaled ( unless you are a vegan or suffered some terrible injury that has left you without the sense of smell and taste bud).  It has put us on the maps across the globe and the reason why we can not seem to stay on a diet for more than three weeks. It is something that brings people together and causes joy from you first bite to the last and gives you something to crave until the next time that family member decides to spoil the family with again. Food is a corner stone that makes the south awesome, and possibly the best place to live in the world.


A Factory Owner’s Paradise

During the 1950s northern factory owners faced a problem. They were loosing money and workers. Unions, taxes, and education had started to eat away at their pockets. They were forces to move, but where to? As the owner of a major factory one has to always try to maximize profits. There are a host of things to consider when expanding your business. Factors such as location, worker skill, amount of labor, and unions. We have to find a place that can fulfill these factors. The American South sounds like a winner to me. Their is a abundance of rural land that can be developed into a powerful factory. We can do two options with the location. We can build the factory in the center of the land and make the rest of the land into a small town that we provide everything. We can build a grocery store, drug store, and maybe a bowling alley to give the workers something to do. We will also build housing that we will provide “free” of charge. We can send their most of their “checks” directly to the stores we provide so that they can get the things they need. This potentially can keep crime right low because people will not carry around a lot of cash. Option two is to build the factory near a city and have people drive to the job. We will have to pay them more because of the commute.

The South has a work force that is a owner’s dream. Everyone is desperate to work so we can offer low wages and they will accept. Their is a large population so placement will not be a issue. Many workers are illiterate so production will be slow in the beginning because of job training. The positive side of this is that we can turn these people into specialize for the company limiting their skills so they can depend on us. When we limit their skills to just fit our job requirements we also decrease the risk of strikes. Factory owners have a huge advantage over the workers. The workers in this area are not use to these type of labor. The South’s main labor was agriculture. The factory environment is a totally different from fielding the lands. The work conditions was horrible and dangerous, but southerners did not know the difference. They were not given benefits and children were also sought out to work.

Unions are the biggest factor when running a factory. We do not like Unions! I repeat we do not like Unions! Unions are a deal breaker. They have so many demands and try to turn workers against owners. Unions ask for too many benefits and try to add rules to the factory. If we can not agree to terms they organize strikes costing the company money. The factory can not function well with a union in place.

The South is a paradise for opening and running a productive factory. The rural area offers acres of room to build and develop factory. If the factory is built in the center factory owners can create small towns for its workers to reside. If the factory is built near a town the jobs will pay more to get you to travel to and from work. The workforce is huge and has low education, owners can mold them in the way they want. No Unions they are deal busters! They cause to many problems.

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.




   “Making Easy Money Pimpin Hoes In Style” is what Memphis “Ten-a-ki” is suppose to stand for. Oh, my bad. What is “Ten-a-ki” you say? Besides standing for Tennessee, it also the supposed ten thousand dollar price per kilogram if purchased in Memphis. Which is not true because the going price for a kilo of coke is about $36,000. Well, that’s what I heard it cost. There is no way for me to possibly know that, cough cough. But on a more serious note, living in a city whose name is an acronym for prostitution and drug dealing, sounds like a very serious problem. There is a known hip hop artist from New York city who liked the name so much he claimed it as his own, Memphis Bleek. I guess he is no different than every other out- of- towner that came and stole from our home grown culture. From what I understand the word pimpin does not necessarily mean prostitution. Pimpin can be used as a general term such as, gaining something for a little of nothing. There is a more positive meaning, like when one is in a situation and they are being treated wrong or unjust and instead of behaving abruptly, they “keep it pimpin” which means keeping emotions intact and under control. Although pimpin is a way of life for some, I have always felt it may have originated in the South as far as African Americans are concerned.

  Okay, this is how I see it. During the Great Migration, when about 6 million blacks left the rural South and headed North, West, East, etc.,not everybody was able to find jobs. Therefore, one of the oldest profession was in service. I know I am reaching right now but by the way Bishop Don Magic Juan dresses….he gotta be from the South. Country is, what country does. With that being said, we have Oscar Award winning Three 6 “Hard Out Here For a Pimp”, Hustle and Flow movie, and must I not forget, the local legendary King of Clubs Danny Owens. There is no proof for what I am writing but it kind of makes since if you think about it.

  Not everybody knows those street terms of the representation of M.E.M.P.H.I.S mean but for those that do, do you think that name has a correct meaning? I do not personally know any pimps or prostitutes, nor drug dealer, so I guess that does not represent my Memphis. I sometimes wonder if these type names have put a curse on the city. If life and death is in the power of the tongue, “I rebuke the dark cloud over my city”. Martin Luther King was assassinated, Elvis Presley over dosed here, Nathan Bedford Forest is celebrated here, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr lost their title here, but that is still not enough gloom to shut the city down.  While poverty rules here, high crime rates sky rocket, well I WAS suppose to be uplifting the city so on that note, Memphis is known for more Rich history than it is truley given. And  although I just put alot of not so good news out there, it’s all about how you look at it.  Just understand that just every city, town or countryside wants to be known for something. Whether it be a shameful reminder or one to brag on, everybody wants to be heard.

Southern Hospitality

The term “Southern Hospitality” is something that people all over the country use to describe the warm, friendly feeling you get in the South when you interact with most strangers. Everywhere I go people hold doors open for others without a second thought. We are taught to use good manners when dealing with people in our everyday lives. I know that as a young girl I was taught to always say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” when speaking to adults. This small piece of instruction instilled in me as a youngster has stayed with me throughout my entire life. Even now, when I interact with men or women (whether they are older than me or not) I always address them as ma’am or sir. I have also noticed that many of my friends and relatives have the same manners. I have cousins who were born and raised in Chicago, and they do not speak with the same manners as my brother and I do. I never really noticed the difference in our mannerisms until last Christmas break when we all went out for dinner and my brother and I addressed the waitress with a polite “Yes, ma’am” while our male cousin was very short and somewhat rude to our waiter. He also made a comment about how he thought it was strange that my brother held the door open for the people entering the restaurant before us. I thought it was very interesting that even though we are closely related, we had very different ideas about the types of manners that were appropriate in this restaurant situation. I love the fact that whenever I am walking around campus and enter a building behind someone, they automatically hold the door until I reach out to hold it myself. I always say thank you. It is just an implied interaction that pretty much everyone follows as normal. When I went to New York for Christmas a few years ago, I was quite displeased with the lack of community feel. It didn’t seem like anyone cared about anyone else. No one held a door for me or anything else that I was used to from back home. I love the way that at home in the South, everyone seems to be a part of a real community instead of just a bunch of people living in the same area. I love that one of the things we are known for is our “Southern Hospitality”. A lot of my family is from the North and I know that they all think of the South as a friendly place and love to visit us down here. I am definitely going to raise my children with the idea of Southern Hospitality instilled in them. I want my children to be incredibly polite and know how to navigate the world. I think that the tradition of “Yes, ma’am” will continue in the South as long as people continue to raise their children in this tradition. One of my favorite sayings is, Say what you will about the South, but nobody retires and moves up North.

How cute!!!

I never thought I had very much of a southern accent until recently. Living in San Francisco this past summer was a huge learning experience for me and one of the many things that I learned was that I do, in fact, have a pretty prominent Southern accent. This was made known to me by almost every new person I met. I could not count on both of my hands and feet how many times I heard some form of the phrase, ” I love your accent, it’s so cute!”  At first, I took these comments as compliments, and then it got old. The more I began to think about what these people were saying the more aggravated I  got. I have heard this narrative from many other people in their descriptions of travels they have had outside of the South. Many people outside of the South view it almost like a child, as if we can not take care of ourselves and need to be cared for. Maybe it is silly, but I feel that by saying a person’s southern accent is cute, it is almost as if they are equating that person with being child-like.  To me, this compliment became more and more of an insult every time I heard it.  I would prefer to hear anything other than cute, when it comes to my southern accent.

This narrative speaks to a bigger problem in our society and that is the dumbing down of southern people in popular culture. More often than not you will hear about the South in some sort of negative light. Duck Dynasty for example, a show on A&E , is about a family who made their fortune off of selling duck calls. Instead of being portrayed as intelligent businessmen and women, they are portrayed as backwoods rednecks who do not have any sense. While the Robertson family has been able to expand their brand with this television show, I believe that it does them a great disservice.  Another show that plays up to the “dumb Southern” stereotype is Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a show about a family from the rural Georgia. If you have ever seen the show, you know exactly what I am talking about. This family seems to be completely uncivilized and just down right stupid. While the show is definitely entertaining, it only furthers the stereotype that southerners are slow and stupid.  This stereotype is not all bad, there are many people out there who have been able to build their brand around the stereotype, however, the image of the south should also include its positive attributes.

Being Southern is something that I have always been proud of. I feel that as southerners we do ourselves a great disservice by just thanking people when they tell us we have cute accents. Granted I’m  not quite sure what else we would say, but the point is that there needs to be more positive conversation about the amazing things that are happening in the South.

A New Spin on Slavery

After watching “Ten Dollars an Hour” in class last week, I was without a doubt disturbed. I was complaining to my family and friends about it for two days straight. I understand that this is happening all the time, throughout the world, every day. But, it was never put into perspective for me the way it was during our discussion in class. It’s like a never ending cycle of slavery that continues today in 2013. Slavery supposedly ended many years ago, but the principles still exist, and what I mean when I say this is that labor and worker characteristics still apply. Ben Guest did an outstanding job directing this documentary, and I’m admired by his strength and courage to release such a powerful piece. Leasse Williams, which is who the documentary is about, works as a cook in a fraternity school in Mississippi for fifty hours a week, at ten dollars an hour. She jumps off the screen as this bubbly, friendly person, but I wonder if that’s really how she feels deep down inside.

“Ten Dollars an Hour” made the connection to slavery then and now. The idea of customer service has been based in slavery. In the documentary, Leasse is described by her ‘superiors’ as a person who is a hard worker, loves to please, and someone who is always happy. We know that slave owners described their slaves as hard workers who love to please, and who are always happy. No offense, but the fact that they are located in Mississippi doesn’t make it any better for Leasse. It has been said that some areas there have never let go of their slave mentality. But, moving right along, Steve, the accountant says that he believes that if the kids are happy, then Leasse is genuinely happy. Slave owners would also say this about their slaves, the idea of slaves being happy in their owner is happy. Steve goes on to say that Leasse is very agreeable and loyal. Now that is exactly what a slave owner wants, a slave to be a ‘yes man’, no back talk or conflict wanted. Slave owners love those who are loyal and there whenever they need them. In Leasse’s case, that’s weekends, and even while she’s attending a funeral. *blank stare*

In my perspective, Steve, who is the accountant, is also the slave owner. Now, Janis is the house mother. She hires the cooks, looks over them in the kitchen to ensure that they are preparing the food correctly, buying ingredients, and so on and so forth. Janice plays the role of the mistress, so to speak. She doesn’t really do much at all but plays second to the slave owner, and helps spend the money. Here we have Leasse who is just trying to make enough money to support her family. She doesn’t complain much, not at all really, but you can tell that she’s tired. It takes a lot out of a person to cook three meals a day for twenty or thirty boys, then go home and cook for your own family. The sad part about is that no one sees Leasse’s struggle. They all think she’s just a happy camper, but at ten dollars an hour, how can she really be happy with that?

My point is that whether we like it or not, slavery still exists today. There are just different twists and turns on it now. The principles still exist. It pretty much works the same, the title of “slavery” just isn’t attached to it anymore. “Ten Dollars an Hour” really made me understand that. In all actuality, there’s nothing we can do to escape it. I feel like it will always exist because of the economic social status of African Americans. Regardless, black people will continue to be the minority, and will continue to treated as such. White people always want to be respected by blacks but never want to respect us. Even in the video, we saw the white boy that Leasse absolutely adored. She went on to say that she even LOVED him, and the first thing that came out of his mouth was, “She respects me.” He didn’t say anything about loving her. It’s a shame. It really disturbs me because I can tell that Leasse has a big heart, but at the end of the day, I can’t change the fact that she is being taken advantage of.

Pay Inequality and The Image of a woman

Women are discriminated against simply for being a woman. Women have been oppressed for many years and I am not so sure if they ever will stop being discriminated against because they are not considered to be a dominate figure in the United States. Minority women are not the only group that is being discriminated against. White women are also victims of discrimination. It does not have anything to do with color it has everything to do with gender. No matter what race a woman is  she will still experience discrimination.

Aside from being treated differently by society, women are being paid differently than men as well which is completely unfair. Even if a woman has completed the same amount of education and has the same amount of experience as a man she will more than likely not get the job or if she does get the position she has to get paid lower than a man would. No matter how qualified a woman man she will never be considered the same as a man. The major reason that women are paid lower is because women will have babies at some point and that means they have to go on maternity leave to take care of the baby. Even though men can go on leave when they have a baby but it is more common for women to go on maternity leave than a man. Women are looked at to be caregivers and are expected to take sick days for their children.

Even though women know that they are being paid considerably lower wages they still have to continue to act and carry themselves as a woman of the south would. Women have to continue to be passive because that is what is expected of them. If they spoke up about something that they believed in they would be considered as a nag or a “bitch” which is what society hates. Women have to compete against other men and women when it is time to get a job. That means they have go an extra mile to be considered better than the man. They will need more experience or more education in order for an employer to consider them.

There was a time where my sister was applying for an HR position for a trucking company. She was extremely happy because she got the job. After awhile once she got the hang of the job and she discovered that she was getting paid considerably lower wages than the male workers. She was not too happy when she found this out. She confronted her supervisor about her concern and she was told that they were being paid more because of their experience. She continued to fight her way to higher wages. A few months later she discovered that her job was downsizing and she was let go of her job. There was not much she could do but just deal with the outcome. Only women were let go which is totally unfair.



Recently in my Sociology of Gender class we watched a documentary entitled “Babyland.” It was an ABC 20/20 documentary highlighting the problems of infant mortality here in the Mid-south, but more particularly how bad it is here in Memphis. In Shelby County, the mortality rate of infants is the same as in some third world countries, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Before I watched this video I thought I had a pretty good idea of how bad the situation was here in Memphis, but I was wrong. The amount of premature babies being born everyday is staggering, I think it said the number was around one every 45 minutes. If a baby is born premature it has a significantly less chance of survival than that of a baby carried to term. In the video it stated that the biggest problem is that the mothers are not taking the necessary steps to ensure their baby’s survival. A lot of this irresponsibility is of no fault of the mother’s though, I am sure if given the chance, and the means to do it, she would take care of herself while pregnant, but the fact is the majority of these mothers are impoverished living in the lower class parts of town. They are also black.

One of the people the video spotlighted was a young black girl. At the time the video was shot she was far along in her pregnancy but she recounted how uncertain she was in the beginning of the pregnancy. It took a more or less rich white woman to come in and “save” the teenage black girl because she did not know what she needed to do nor had access to the proper facilities on her own. The white woman had become like a mentor for this black girl and had made sure she received the proper care to ensure the survival of her baby. This situation is not the case the majority of the time. Many of the mothers do not have the financial means to pay for medical services and others still do not have the means to get themselves to a clinic even if they could afford the services. There are some even still whom do not fall under any of the above categories and can not get treatment because the clinics made available to them are closed, often after only being open for a short time during the day, due to lack of funding. How are we supposed to ask mothers to take the necessary precautions to be sure their babies survive if we as a city are not providing the services needed by these lower class mothers? The doctor from the clinic made a good point, she said that “nothing will change until the people in charge begin to acknowledge the problem and start funding places like this.” When asked by the reporter why they were not acknowledging how serious the problem was she said “Children don’t vote, babies can’t vote, poor people don’t vote.” This is true. Basically what she is saying is that we as a community are not recognizing this need and are not making this problem a priority. Like I said above, I did not know how bad it actually was until watching this video. People need to be educated on this so we can raise awareness, increase funding to these clinics, and ultimately bring an end to the infant mortality rate here in the Bluff City.

High Infant Mortality Program Babyland Tennessee

The above is a link to the 20/20 promo on YouTube. I was unble to find the entire video online.

The Global South Messed Us Up!

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.