Posted: Jan 15, 2009 5:22 pm
i couldn't agree more with this viewpoint article...i've said for a while that memphians have the biggest inferiority complex of any city i've seen.
Memphians need to stand up for Bluff City
The city's faults are well-known, but residents don't recognize all that's good here
By Scott Morris
Special to The Commercial Appeal
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I'm mad, and it takes a lot to get me mad.
In the 1976 movie "Network," Howard Beale, a despondent TV anchor, rants, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" His cry caught on, and people all over America began opening their windows and shouting out his complaint.
Well, I'm mad as hell about people disparaging Memphis, the city I love, and I'm not going to take it anymore.
I'm tired of people who live in Germantown and Collierville refusing to go Downtown "because of the crime." I'm tired of the endless talk of racism. I'm tired of hearing people say there's "nothing to do" here. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore, and, if you call Memphis home, you ought to feel the same way.
In the 1950s, Memphis was known as the cleanest city in America. We are now labeled the most unhealthy, one of the poorest ... whatever. It's not the perception of people from outside Memphis that bothers me; it's the perception of people who choose to call Memphis home that has got me so upset.
People who have lived here all of their lives still see Memphis the way it was 50 years ago. Racial conflict, a lack of economic opportunity and few cultural amenities are, for the most part, outdated concepts that do not fully reflect all that Memphis has to offer and the progress we've worked hard to achieve.
We are no longer a simply black-white city. Ours is a multicultural city, as evidenced by the growing communities of Hispanics, Filipinos, Chinese, Somalis, Indians, Pakistanis and West Africans.
No economic opportunity?
Look at the businesses started here by the members of The Society of Entrepreneurs. I don't mean just Holiday Inn and FedEx, but Mid-America Apartment Communities, Dunavant Enterprises, Varsity Brands, NSA, a host of orthopedic companies, entertainment industry businesses and many more.
Memphis is the home of not one but two orchestras, two ballet companies, excellent museums and theaters, professional sports franchises, colleges, an award-winning zoo and library, and every form of the arts you'd expect in a major U.S. city. And this list is woefully incomplete. I'm sure you could add to it.
Bottom line: If you can't find something to do in Memphis, then you're either not looking or you're just plain lazy.
I chose to live in Memphis because I've grown to love its people. And yet part of my chosen family persists in seeing our glass as half-empty, and it leads to a negative and unhealthy atmosphere for us all. Life is meant to be lived with joy. Constantly picking at scabs brings pain and decreases the pleasure in life for all of us.
Do I want our schools to be better? Yes. Am I horrified when I read about another victim of crime? Of course I am. Do I want the gang graffiti to go away? Give me a paint brush. Do I want us to solve the problems caused by poverty? It's what I work on every day at the Church Health Center. But, I also want us to love our hometown and see that Memphis truly is a city that has a lot to offer to those who participate.
Think of 10 things that you find good about Memphis. Then the next time you hear someone running the city down, tell them why you make Memphis your home and why you choose to be here. You may find that a little civic pride is good for the soul.
Dr. Scott Morris is founder and executive director of the Church Health Center and associate minister at St. John's United Methodist Church. For more information about the Church Health Center, call 272-7170 or visit churchhealthcenter.org.