I recently ran across Memphis Connect; a site that was developed by the Leadership Academy to bolster the city’s image and to promote ‘positive’ discussion. While I applaud any effort to improve the city, I am stunned by the naivete of this effort. The characterization of Memphis is fictitious at best and pure propaganda at its worst. Had I not lived in Memphis for 5 years, I would have been impressed by all that the city has to offer. However, I know better. The truth is this is a city in peril not a ‘jewel in the rough’. City leaders including the “Leadership Academy” should remember that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. There are relatively few metropolitan areas of comparable size that are worse off then Memphis in almost every relevant category. Memphis has set the bar for substandard health, poverty, crime, corruption, racism, and religious intolerance.
Memphians fiercely defend their city mostly out of tradition and out of a deep seeded inferiority complex. Why not acknowledge the problems and move forward? Instead we keep rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on the ill faded ship. Memphis truly needs an ‘intervention’ rather than more enablers. Unfortunately, there are too many groups and individuals who profit from the misery. Without all the problems, grants could not get funded, agencies would have their budget cuts, and professors would not have thier names in the paper. Can you imagine?