>While waiting to get a table at the infamous Rendezvous BBQ restaurant in downtown Memphis (1/2 a block from our hotel, but not 1/2 a mile from the Mississippi Bridge as far as I know), I felt something fluttering my nape. Swatting at it, I knocked what appeared to be a roach to the ground. Then someone stepped on it (not on purpose; they were just walking along) and its guts squished out. Yeah, that made me really hungry.

Actually, it's a nice metaphor for my feelings about Memphis thus far. It is a fun city, with so much to see and do, and yet there's a side to it that is disgusting. For example, Confederate Park and the statue of Jefferson Davis. Jefferson Davis is not a hero. He is a traitor. He led a group of traitors who defied the Constitution and seceded from the US. According to the Constitution, he should have been killed when caught. Instead, this betrayal is celebrated throughout the South as if it is not something people should be ashamed of. Southern heritage, in my mind, is as horrific as Nazi heritage. At least the Germans are smart enough to be mortified by their past actions.

Not that I think the North is better when it comes to racism. My hometown of Chicago has a vile racist past and remains the most segregated city in the US today. In New York City, my current home, I read infuriating accounts of police harassment of people of color. A memoir I just read, "Jesus Land," documents thoroughly the sick mentality of ignorant people in Indiana. So no, I am not saying the North is perfect. However, I also don't see statues and monuments to people who dedicated their lives to preserving institutions of hate and bias any where in the North. We don't deify these people, even if we aren't honest about ourselves, either.

Anyway, now that I am all worked up and frothing at the mouth, I am excited to be leaving for Graceland in a few minutes. Nothing is as soothing to the soul as Elvis's jumpsuit collection and ingesting a fried PB, banana, & honey sandwich on the premises. Then we are off to the Civil Rights Museum, which is in the historic Lorraine Motel where MLK Jr. was assassinated. It sounds like it will be a transformative experience, and just the honest look at racism and discrimination in the US that I want more of.

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