I agree it is pretty awful and embarrassing how much money Memphis pours into subsidizing literally hundreds of downtown development projects, but is still the only city its size (at least that I'm aware of) that doesn't have any free homeless shelters and has no money allocated for homeless services.
While Nashville has invested in tiny homes, Oakland has invested in providing restrooms and garbage disposal for its public encampments, and Salt Lake City has invested in Housing First for its homeless citizens, becoming some of the innovators of solving homelessness nationally, Memphis continues to mostly operate as the same socioeconomically segregated shithole its been since the days of Jim Crow.
We have a venture capitalist reality show star as president. His rival in the election was an ex-Walmart CEO/ex-first lady... this entire country is trash.
Most white people in Memphis are too apathetic or self-absorbed to even acknowledge the glaring racial inequalities in that city, muchless do anything about it, and Memph is a perfect example of this.
Carnita Atwater brought up some important points, and Memph's response was to be dismissive and perpetuate some baseless, anti-Semitic "alternative facts" about Jews being rich and powerful rather than address the very real racial disparities in Memphis.
Jews haven't "moved on", and anti-Semitism certainly hasn't either... in the last two weeks alone, over 60 Jewish Community Centers recieved bomb threats from various white supremacist groups... groups with politics and worldviews that don't differ all that greatly in my experiences from the average middle class white Memphian.
It always is astounding to me that anyone could seriously say "black people are lazy" in a city that literally would never have existed without the unwaged and undercompensated labor of African-Americans.
It isn't that African-Americans are lazy, its that white people in Memphis continue to benefit from the accumulated wealth, power, education, and social capital of previous generations that African-Americans were excluded from and continue to be. It's the real world equivalent of inviting someone to play Monopoly 2/3rds into a game and berating them as "lazy" and "irresponsible" because they can't amass the resources to beat you.
Like the aforementioned game, the material reality of today is rigged by the material history of yesterday, and that is precisely why black history is so important.
This country was literally founded by undocumented immigrants and riotous protesters destroying private property.
Lets call the Pilgrims and the Boston Tea Party what they were.
Not even sure why everybody thinks convicted criminals are living off welfare, Tennessee offers no general assistance program and felons are banned from recieving food stamps, public housing, section 8 vouchers, and TANF.
Combine this with the fact that Tennessee allows discrimination based on past criminal history by employers and landlords and its really not a mystery why so many people turn to crime again after an initial fuck up...
There are no economic opportunities for a large percentage of the population, and the ever increasing police force and for-profit prison industry actually incentivizes criminalization, thus perpetually increasing the pool of people who have to turn to crime in order to survive.
This is the problem with treating crime as a symptom of bad people (or blaming a specific ethnic group), and not a symptom of economic inequality and desperation.
And no millions poured into bringing big box stores, building downtown condos for middle/upper class people, or militarizing the local police force is going to fix this trend. That the very people most affected by these policies are excluded from participating in the political system, just means the "solutions" to the crime problem will (for the foreseeable future) be centered around the personal conveniences of those who prefer temporary personal tranquility to the painstaking task of solving the broader causes of crime, causes that are compounded by mass criminalization and incarceration.
California... just the single largest contributor to the U.S. economy and most populous state, no big deal.
Great work Tennessee! At this rate you'll have legal recreational weed by 2060.
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By Chris McCoy
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