To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Monnie has a post about Bill Cosby's new book. The statistics about black people and violence bother her, as they do every right-thinking person.

When I was still in Memphis, my last job was in a very bad part of town. (Actually, the one before that had razor wire around the parking lot, and the one before that ... well, anyway.) The lab was down in the plant, with the parking lot a short distance away. If I left work at or after sundown and any of the operators saw me come out of the building, he would drop what he was doing to walk me to my car. All of the plant operators were black. Once another operator was just coming into the plant when we got to the parking lot, and he said, "How come you don't ever walk me to my truck?" "Cause ain't nothing gonna get you!" my escort replied, laughing. But that reminded me that statistically, those guys were at greater risk than I was. I started telling them when I thanked them that I appreciated their care and concern, and that they actually needed to employ the buddy system among themselves after hours. They didn't take me seriously, though. I think those statistics aren't generally known and understood.

One of the things that bothered the crap out of me, when I was in Memphis, was the amount of focus and effort and attention on things like sports arenas and fancy boat docks, and how much money the city needed to spend on those things (money we didn't have; besides there were always, always cost overruns and the inevitable discovery of somebody's hand in the cookie jar later on.) I wanted so badly to run across Mayor Herenton out on the sidewalk somewhere and to grab some random black kid - preferably a teenage boy with the khaki pants dragged down so that the crotch was between his knees and he had to duck-walk, you know how that is - and say "Look at this, Mayor Herenton - THIS is Memphis! This is the future of Memphis! Not the FedEx Forum, not Beale Street Landing - but this kid right here! How are we investing in this kid?" And to turn to the kid and ask him in what way the City of Memphis expresses to him that it cares whether he lives or dies. The park program is underfunded - public swimming pools not kept up - summer jobs programs cut - no community centers - nothing that is not privately funded or run by the churches. But by golly, we will have plenty of public funding for entertaining rich folks.

So the kids are neglected and have nothing to do, they see all the attention given to things that are and will forever be out of their reach, then we wonder why they feel disaffected and why they drop out of school and why the crime rate is so high. And it beats heck out of me why the politicians with those entertain-the-rich-folks attitudes and the hand in the cookie jar have so much popular support.


AR Gal said...

AMEN!!! I often lurk on your site (by way of Monnie of course :-) but you spoke so many truths in this post I just had to voice my opinion.

Both my parents are from Memphis and moved away when they went off to college and never looked back. My mom only moved back to help with my grandmother (who had an awful bout with alzheimer's). She still talks about how nice of a city Memphis used to be, especially when she was growing up. I remember that Memphis. I used to think so fondly of it when I was younger....visits to the Winter Wonderland @ Goldsmith's downtown and the hot summers with my friends in the circle where my grandma lived. Now, hmmmm not so much and A LOT of it has to do with "his majesty" Mayor Willie Herenton. I do not live Memphis (I stay right outside of Little Rock) but when I tell you I despise that man...........

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for improvement and change, it's a good thing. That said it makes no difference when change is not inclusive of all areas. I know he is not completely oblivious to all the crime and despair the city is in. It's pretty to hard overlook when so much crime happens there everyday. Point blank, WH just doesn't give a damn. what I don't understand is how most everyone (or so I thought)complains about him as they mayor yet each and everytime election time comes up he strange. Maybe he and Bush have the same campaign strategist.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I remember the downtown Goldsmith's thing from my childhood. It wasn't the same after it was moved to the Agricenter. Don't think they're even doing it anymore.

I don't know what Mayor H. is aware of from behind his gated community and his 24/7 bodyguards. He stated before his latest reelection that his advisors had told him he needed to express some concern about crime. Of course, he says it's not that bad. Why, WHY ... oh well, I don't live there anymore.

Feel free to lurk and/or comment all you want.

CreoleInDC said...

I'm STILL depressed about this. *sigh*