Memphis is known for its rich history in music, Civil Rights Movement, and its location between two states alongside the Mississippi River. Today, Memphis is known for its infant mortality, below state average testing of its youth, increasing crimes amongst the youth, and a mental health crisis. Now, the issues expand to the mistreatment of immigrants, particularly, the Hispanic community.
The Commercial Appeal, on Monday, February 9, 2015, reports on “Hispanic population outpaces help” and “Black Memphians top victims list.” First, the media portray conflict between two ethnic groups, as if neither are citizens, while excluding interest groups’ intentions. In other words, it’s an ideological war, an assault on “blacks” and Hispanics.
Furthermore, in Section A, Hispanics have come to Memphis in search of new beginnings. However, their arrival has been unwelcoming by local leaders and members of certain communities. Since 2000, the city has been faced with language barriers that have caused safety concerns for the Hispanic community. At the center of conversation are dispatchers for the Memphis Police Department and for the Memphis Fire Department being unable to communicate efficiently and effectively with non-English speaking immigrants. Thus, making them “targets/victims” of crime: police harassment, slow 9-1-1 responses (must be transferred to LanguageLine Solutions), and “armed robbers,” or “gangs” (associate with the “black” community). Another major issue, besides lack of emergency dispatchers, is whether to provide help to immigrants that do not have identification. The local authorities and the deputy police director have different views concerning this matter. One Hispanic citizen pointed out that the city has put more effort in finding a dog for Canadians than that of its own quality of life. The city is working to build a bridge of trust with immigrants and to provide better services.
Next, in Section B, “Black males” show higher in causing and being victims of homicide. Mayor Wharton appears to be speaking to multiple groups, but only to maintain current conditions. In short, he wants to decrease crimes with weapons by enforcing the laws already on the book. He used the pronoun “we”, separating ideologies, while maintaining loyalty to his constituents: “It’s misleading for anybody to think we can ‘police’ our way out of this” and “What we can do is take the laws that are on the books and make sure they are enforced without mercy, stringently, to make it so painful to even think about carrying a gun illegally.” Neither is an attempt to get to the core of our city’s plight.
“Blacks” are ranked highest of homicide victims, with Hispanic males following, and “whites” afterwards. Presumably, all are citizens, where does other Americans fit? The “black” and “White” dichotomy creates tensions, especially, when others have the power to go unnoticed in the public, and pin groups against each other. I was sure that segregation had ended before I was born. However, the ideology continues to be played out in the media. The media report tension between Hispanics and “blacks”, ignoring the fact of local failing institutions, such as family, education, and church within the African-American communities, which stem from unconstitutional acts. The bottom line is not to improve the quality of life for everyone, but to make money with the resources available. I believe to uplift those having difficulties, at first, may be costly, will result in high returns once provided appropriate services, especially, for the children.
Most importantly, the children are in the middle of adult affairs, taking on issues before understanding the hostile environment that created separation of the people. Hopefully, the children will be able communicate better for the safety of theirs and future generations’. It will take great leaders to address vestigial ideologies of previous generations and to care for all humans, regardless of citizenship, especially, victims of any crime.