What's Wrong With Happy?
After several readings of Attica Scott's "Color Conscious" column on race and racism in the Knoxville community, and particularly the article entitled "The Happy Black," which appeared in the Dec. 13 issue, some problems with race issues become tragically apparent.
There are those who seemingly strive to foment good race relations in the community and others who strive to foment racism.
I have lived here the entire 42 years of my life, and I have many friends which represent various races. They are not my "negro" friends or "Chinese" friends or "Mexican" friendsthey are my friendsperiod. I don't think of them as representatives of a particular race, I think of them as people. We all get along good because we don't worry about race, and we all stand up for each other, too.
This type of thinking is a danger to those who foment racism, because if we all are getting along well together, then what happens to all of the groups out there that scream about racial hatred? They disappearthey cease to exist. They all fear this, and that's apparently why Attica Scott seems to fear the "Happy Black," which is an African-American who is happy with his or her life. Scott seems to think that blacks shouldn't be happy, and it is traitorous to live in peace and harmony with the whites in our community.
In the "Color Conscious" articles, Scott rants and raves about white racism, but never discusses the possibility of other races or minorities being discriminated against in our fair community. What about Hispanics? Native Americans? As a matter of fact, it seems that as far as Attica Scott is concerned, there is only one race of people around here who matter. Isn't this racism in itself?
One thing I've noticed about our community is that if people are allowed to live in peace and harmony with each other, they generally do so. As I stated above, peace between races and ethnic groups is a great danger to the very existence of the various groups who say they "represent" this or that race. These groups don't want us to get along.
Apparently, neither does Scott.
Other Worldly Sips
If it were only a can of soda, Universe Knoxville could be slammed down with gusto, only to be brought back up with a little burp and a polite apology of "excuse me." But it's not. It's a multi-million dollar great idea that I personally believe is doomed to failure because the owners of the vision failed to properly shop the community.
Now, if they would just peer over the shelves a little bit, they would see that you don't find a V-8 or your favorite soda sitting beside cans of Comet in the soap isle. You wouldn't go there, and you wouldn't buy one found sitting there.
Universe Knoxville will not work downtown because:
a.) Bars, trendy restaurants and even Old City charm are not going to entice kids and families to Universe Knoxville beyond first-visit curiosity. Without kids and families, its doors will soon close;
b.) No shelf space! No end caps! Meaning no room to develop adjoining properties that could draw in kids and families. Furthermore, the visual magnificence of the structure is lost in the cityscape;
c.) Skewed interests with the convention center. Let's face it. Kids and families are not your typical conventioneers. Conventioneers are usually adult, and they leave the kids at home. As a matter of fact, conventioneers will probably avoid any place that draws children. Instead they are drawn to more adult diversions and, at the least, a subtle and relaxing place to unwind with other adults.
Now with that said, let's look at what Universe Knoxville could be, because it truly is a grand idea that could be the best thing that has happened to Knoxville since someone decided to put a college on the hill. Start with this:
Imagine the south side of the Tennessee River, right across from Knoxville's biggest icon no one can see (unless they catch a quick glimpse of the stadium while crossing the Henley Street Bridge.) And there she is, on the shores of Vestal, a site with acres and acres of land screaming for development and redevelopment, with the potential of erasing years of neglect, raising property values and creating needed jobs. Universe Knoxville, bigger and better, could sit proudly on the shore, its spires sticking high into the heavens surrounded by luring interests such as a like-themed amusement park, recreational facilities, and shopping. Imagine boating up to waterside restaurants and shops and kids riding a real Space Mountain roller coaster. Imagine the Vestal community becoming the "Star of Knoxville" and spearheading a corridor of tourism that will revitalize South Knoxville and Knox County the length of Chapman Highway. Imagine Football Saturdays. TV cameras may actually peer over Neyland Stadium to the "Pride of the South Land Shore." Parents may even have another reason to send their kids to UT. They might even stick around and visit a spell along with a few conventioneers. And lastly imagine this: we could call it Universe Knoxville and the Other Worlds' Fair. Get it? Other worlds as in space? I didn't think so.