Sunday, September 17, 2006

Southern Heritage Classic? Southern Thug Classic?

I would first have to applaud Fred Jones' efforts to bring a first rate sporting event to the City of Memphis, Tennessee. However; I am dissapointed by what I had to encounter in attempting to attend The Southern Heritage Classic on this weekend! The game has historically been an opportunity for college students, alumni, and just plain families in general to enjoy. The game has always been overshadowed by The Battle of the Bands at halftime, but now the game is overshadowed by so many other non game related events. I am by no means blaming Mr. Jones for what I saw on this weekend. Yet these are my observations about the event and about the City of Memphis and its residents. First of all, their was a tremendous bottleneck of vehicles from each adjoining street that connects to the Liberty Bowl Stadium. This is to be expected whenever 50,000 or more people assemble in a small area of space. Yet, I was severely dismayed that it took me nothing short of one and a half hours just to arrive at The Liberty Bowl Stadium from Southern Avenue. I support the goodwill that is promoted by the various tailgating activities, but I am dissappointed that people that want to attend the game can't even get into the gates because they are blocked by thousands who have no intention at all of attending the game. My family's trip down Southern Avenue was interupted by the following- Cars Shows, Motorcycle Clubs, Gangs of Every Flag and Color all wearing white T-Shirts of course. We saw families having to park miles away from the Stadium who then had to pay parking fees to individuals who probably did not own the property and parking spaces that they were renting out. The same person that one would pay to park his or her vehicle, was probably the very same person that would burgularize one's vehicle once you were out of sight! The crowds of adoring sisters and mothers and grandmothers had to press past throngs of brothers with matching t-shirts on, and hanging trousers who were by no means dressed for the event. We saw a police car about every 35 vehicles that cruised by to see the sights. The City of Memphis did not have enough police on hand to manage this event. Even if you were a hard brother that doesn't take any stuff, you would be a fool to engage the crowd of thugs that just said something to your wife! Yes, a sister doesn't want a brother to just pull on her, but what is one to do when that sister had to park 7 blocks away and has to walk by 35 brothers in front of the neighborhood liquor store just to attend the game. If a fight broke out and that's a laugh because their was no doubt a fight would break out, but the question was just how many weapons were there in a five block vicinity of the game, where their enough to engage in warfare in Iraq? I saw high school kids riding 6 deep in the car, looking for something to get into! What happened to the Spirit of this game? Was it mandatory that I would view the behinds of scores of women and men who had no intention at all of attending the game! Had Freaknik been moved to Memphis? Was it completely necessary that I should not look at the heavy Chevy with 6 rough looking brothers in it that was next to me in traffic? Would they care that I am a member of the clergy? Where are our priorities? Where are we heading? Can African Americans hold "family events"? Is it true that we can't get together and hold a decent event? Will the Classic denigrate into a sideshow? Why pay for tickets, when just walking back to your car after the game could cost one his life? Mr. Jones and both of the local mayors in Memphis,Tennesee please get a grip on this quickly or you will find that the very people that pay for tickets won't come again. I had tickets and had every intention of enjoying the game, but the afore mentioned sideshow kept this brother who grew up in the heart of the "hood" and is still representing away! Please get a grip on this ASAP!

The Editor
Memphis Minority Online.Com


Anonymous said...

Memphis is dispoportionately ghetto and low class.

Anonymous said...

Things that happened Saturday night as follows:

1. Young lady sprayed in the face with unknown substance on Beale.

2. 3-4 stampedes

3. Roberies

4. Assaults

5. Woman cut by broken glass on Beale due to stampede.

6. Beale street shut down around 2:30 am due to disorder.

Check the public police incident reports.

Memphis is on a serious down spiral. black people's mentality here is ruined by hip-hop and gangsta rap.

There are lost generations due to crack babies and bad parenting.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% but this happens at most of the HBCU events. I went to college in New Orleans and the same things would happen at Bayou Classic. Heck, some of the Bourbon Street businesses would close instead of putting up with the black crowd during the Classic. A lot of the ppl causing trouble have never been to college, support a college, or plan on going to one. I dont think you can do anything about that but maybe they could limit the tailgating to a certain area to allow the ppl who just want to see the game a way thru.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with all of the comments on the blog--however, take into consideration that although there are historically African American colleges and mainstream(whatever that means) colleges that we attend, there is still a very, very large portion of the African American Community has not even attended college for any length of time.

This is true for the City of Memphis and many urban areas. Before hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, 2/3 of the African American Population lived below poverty level.

In my reflection as an educated African-American Woman, I feel that instead of trying to bridge the gap between those who are educated and those who are not, we are quick to point fingers and clump all those who are not educated or articulate into one category. There are and will always be poor people. While there are several of those who do not respect themselves or others, there are just as many people who are gracious and want the same things for their children and families as those who are better off. Not down playing the thug types (I’m sure there were a few at the game this weekend), it is definitely not a good thing at all by any means. Look at it as a reflection as what we need to do to help our community and examples to others.

As far as the Southern Heritage Classic goes, I attended the tailgate before the game for the first time in ten years after being away from Memphis for many years. I saw a mixture of African American people from all backgrounds convening in one place to have a good time during an event weekend that was spearheaded by an African American Man almost two decades ago. Now, would this have even been possible a just over a half century ago?