Friday, April 06, 2007

A much needed conversation begins....

Desi Franklin has decided to take on the job of starting a real conversation on the subject of race in Memphis, Tennessee, and I commend her for it, and hope that you and I can lend a hand to this worthwhile endeavor.

This is a conversation that those of us must have if we are serious about bringing this city back from the precipice. There is much right with this city, and there is much wrong with this city, and we need to move it in the right direction.

I contend, however, as I have noted at that post, that you MUST include class and economics in this discussion in order to have a clear view of where we are, how we got here, and how we must improve the city. Without understanding how economics fits into the equation, we leave out the elephant in the room. I have to point out that only when Dr. King began to talk about economics was he considered dangerous outside the South and Midwest. It was also when he was murdered.

Nonetheless, I want to be a part of this ongoing conversation, and if you love Memphis, you should, too.

Go on over there.


Smart City Consulting said...

LWC: You make a good point about the intersection of economics, class and race in Memphis. If we're serious about it, we need to look at economic development policies - the tax freezes that strengthen them - that rely on a lower class to deliver up the low-wage, low-skill jobs that we've bust our rear ends to get. As a result, we have problems that embrace both white and blacks, although of course they embrace the latter disproportionately. But if we're serious about arriving at solutions, we have to be equally serious about examining the institutional interests that produce precisely the city that they set out to create. More to the point, it creates a culture of scarcity, where a "if you're winning, I must be losing" attitude proliferates. We definitely need a culture of abundance, but there are more than racial barriers to clear. There are the very real economic barriers that are at the root of so many of our problems.

Richmond said...

Well said, comment number one above. Nothing will change without mutual sacrifice, mutual forgiveness and mutual compassion. We can't change the past, be it 40 years or 40 seconds ago. With perseverance, courage and empathy, we can shift the future toward a more humane world.