<Begin Rant—- Warning what follows is a Rant I’ve been stewing on for a while.>
Ok, I think I’ve had enough Memphis bashing. It seems the most popular past time in Memphis is telling each other exactly how bad the city is and how people can’t get ahead and how poor old Memphis can’t even get a decent basketball team that doesn’t end up getting smacked by the NCAA.
While I am the first to admit that Memphis is not the top of the heap for a lot of people, it most certainly is NOT the worst place in existence. Yes there are areas where the crime is bad and the drug use is high, but I dare you to show me any metropolitan area in the US that doesn’t have some sort of issue with any one of these things. We seem to be so quick to pile on when bad news about Memphis is published in a national paper or magazine, but when an article or list which shows Memphis is good at something, we all act surprised that we even made the list at all.
And before someone points it out in a comment, Yes, I live outside the city. I was told while looking that being in the county would be best and also given a list of places I should “stay away from” lest I find myself in the “bad” part of town. After that, I dutifully warned others and stayed away from downtown like it was the center of the zombie apocalypse. After being here for a couple of years now, I have come to learn that while Memphis has its faults, and strange political machinations, there is much more about this city than Elvis, BBQ, and Crime. We should be celebrating these things whether you live in Memphis, or you live in the metro area around it. And get real people, we are all identified with Memphis, whether we live downtown or and the UofM or are in Germantown, Cordova, or anywhere else in the county. Just think of what you said the last time you told someone where you were from… Oh I am from (fill in the blank) which is just outside Memphis.
We have an excellent university named the University of Memphis, which has a storied history which should be celebrated. We have something that only 28 or so other cities can claim, an NBA franchise known as the Memphis Grizzles. (Yes there are 30 teams, but LA counts twice, and yes, I know they aren’t winning right now, but until a couple of seasons ago, neither were the Celtics.) While the city can’t seem to shake to pall and depression of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., we tend to forget the role Memphis and many of its citizens played in the Civil Rights Movement. Rather than celebrating that heritage and trying to build on what those great leaders accomplished, we fall back into bickering about race and falling back instead of moving forward to The Dream MLK spoke about and that I STILL believe in today. We have a tremendous musical heritage that includes more than Elvis. The unique mix of Delta Blues and Jazz, with Rock-a-billy and Gospel point to a depth that many never explore. We have a culinary heritage that should not be ignored. Yes it is not the healthiest food to eat, but a piece of fried chicken on top of a waffle with a little maple syrup just can’t be beaten by any French froo-froo food. The city has more acreage in parks than most cities its size and those parks are pretty well maintained. The Memphis Zoo is national treasure in my opinion and is one of the few zoos in the nation to host Pandas; an honor China does NOT extend lightly.
There are tons more to love and honor:
- A hospital system so recognized for excellence that a CEO of a certain fruit themed comp-any came HERE to have a transplant done
- An arts district that rivals any other in the nation, New York and San Fransisco INCLUDED.
- The busiest commercial air hub in the WORLD
- Multiple universities, all of them considered in the upper end of quality when compared to others in the nations.
- An arena that can host the biggest draws around
- The Pyramid – the iconic view that greets people as they cross the Mississippi that will soon see use again.
- The Brooks Museum of Art, one of the best in the region, if not nation,
- And on and on and on…
Yes, Memphis has it’s issues and yes, we are struggling. There are people living just minutes from me who will go hungry tonight. There are people who will do unspeakable things, just to “get by.” Someone will most likely be shot tonight or worse. Yes, there are problems with infrastructure and government and just about anything else you can point at but….
We should not sit back and point at those problems and moan about how bad its gotten and how we wish it would just get better. When we do that we are part of the problem and we only make it worse. We need to be part of the solution. We have to stop complaining about whats wrong and crying over milk that’s already spilled and spoiled. We need to step up and step out and help those in our community who need our help.
And above all, STOP WITH THE BASHING ALREADY…… Let’s celebrate what is right, just, and good and try to help change those things which are not that way yet. I believe they will be one day, IF we can get our act together and work for The Dream we were told would one day come.
And frankly, if all you want to do is bash, do it out of my earshot please as I won’t be listening to it anymore.
<——End Rant> We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.