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About 9 years ago, I met a guy who was relatively new to Nashville from Florida/Canada/Jamaica. He said to me, “Nashville has so much potential for greatness beyond the Country scene. Why does it seem that this city isn’t abuzz for much other than the Country scene? Isn’t this supposed to be ‘Music City USA’? I mean, I’ve seen a few things here or there that’s different, but not much”. The truth behind his remarks and questions were quite embarrassing. You see, I’m a native resident of the Music City. And frankly, I felt offended after listening to his indirect inquiry of why a person of my presumed stature would remain in such a place. I knew his intentions were not to offend, but that didn’t make me feel any better. My reply to him; “well, there’s more going on here than meets the eye. You just have to be willing to embrace diversity.” He looked at me as if insulted and said, “Man, I’m from Florida/Canada/Jamaica and spent significant time in Alabama. I think I definitely qualify as one who embraces diversity”. I said, “That may be true of you, but that’s certainly not the case as it relates to the ‘would-be’ socialites in this town”. He then asked, “Well then, what’s the problem”? I stated, “I think the residents here have a restrictive mindset stemming from generations long before you and I were thought of. We know that we’ve grown considerably as a nation, but some regions are clearly much further ahead in their psychological development”. He replied, “So you’re saying that Nashville is a very racist place”? I said, “Racism exists everywhere, but I don’t see it as the mass reason for our local disconnect”. Personally, I believe racial relations have improved and are improving across the board. I don’t know that we will ever do away with it completely, but the efforts are there. I believe the larger communal issue centers on the displayed behaviors of elitism, anxiety and ignorance vs the smaller (though significant) levels of hate. Lest we forget, Nashville is also considered “The Buckle of The Bible Belt” as is explained within this URL: https://goo.gl/SSx82T. This fact has as much to do with area practices as any. He asked, “Well, why aren’t you fixing it? What needs to be done about it? Didn’t I just learn that you are a promoter? I gather now that you’re terming this problem as the ‘psychology of the community’. So what are you going to do about it”? I replied, “If I had the answer to that, Nashville would be much better and I’d likely be RICH”! That conversation reignited a spark within me; one that I hadn’t felt as strong since my 2nd year of college. It evoked desire and passion to do something about this undesirable truth. “How do you change the local psyche” became the question of the hour. I decided that for starters, a long-term resolution had to begin with conversation. But then the question became, “how do you get neighbors and strangers to converse”? Chief amongst my issues are the reasons/excuses people choose not to socially engage (ex., Age, Professional Perception, Family Responsibilities, Religious Interpretations, etc.). And then, it hit me: You find creative ways to inspire, promote and educate them on the necessities of social engagement. On many occasions, I’ve witnessed the concession that we don’t have many intelligent reasons to feel anxious around one another after healthy interaction. Most of our causes, desires and many of our beliefs are common/mutual or at least, respected. When that becomes understood, things like elitism and ignorance begin to dissipate. With that, I decided to do my part to answer the bell by bringing people together to Socially Engage in ways that I can. In an effort to encourage this interaction, my goal is to educate, inspire, entertain and persuade my audience to DESIRE ENGAGEMENT via a weekly blog. For starters, my requests of you are to Self-Evaluate Critically, subscribe at jspring74.com and WhiteList (add) info@jspring74.com (jspring74) in your email address book. Looking forward to having you Join The Conversation.