So a couple of days ago I was talking to one of my melanin challenged friends and she mentioned that she loves how “hood” I am. She continues on saying that she isn’t hood but she can deal with it.
I felt some kind of way about it but wasn’t to messed up about it. Later that week in a less polite conversation I was having with a co worker (who was full of melanin), she referred to me as “hood” as well with a derogatory tone and facial expression.
I got upset then, both at the tone and the usage.
I am sick of it really. This whole “Us vs them” mentality within the black community.
I grew up in the hood. I learned to read before the age of 3, write before 5 check/roast a ninja by 8 and fight by 10, all in the hood.
I played hopscotch, couldn’t let the streetlights catch me outside, had block parties, borrowed a cup of sugar, flour, and washing powder on a regular basis.
I hung clothes on a line. Had an old man that sat on the porch and drank 40’s out a brown paper bag. Ran through water hoses when it was to hot, and had to drink out that same water hose cause my momma told me if I “came inside I had to stay inside” I wasn’t “gone be running in and out the door running up her lectricity bill”. I got into fights, had people call me names. I ate watermelon on a stoop with the juice running down my legs. I didn’t win every battle or every award.
And yes there were others that were worse off. Yes there were others that slacked off. That hung on the corners, there were robbers, and thieves. I ve seen people shot, I ve been shot at, I saw and held a gun at an early age. However most of the people in the hood? Looked and thought like me.
Yes there were pitfalls. I went to schools were the funding wouldn’t allow us to have computers, or labs. I graduated top of my class but behind the digital divide.
I am the hood. Im not special, its not by God’s grace that I made it out but by his grace that I was there molded and raised in an environment of love and acceptance. Where everyone was fair game so no one was left out.
Where everyone did what they liked, with no regard for why or what or labels. Because we were all ultimately working for the same thing. To get ahead, to really live the American dream as we see it on tv.
But those of us that manage to get close to it…. Look back at the hood with disgrace. They don’t reach back and help.
They don’t remember the small gestures that helped them get out.
And so now hood has become something derogatory, something shameful.
When it shouldn’t be.
I am hood. Born and Raised. I speak well, I work hard, I give back. I know the value of the dollar and of hard work. I know how it feels to be stepped on, looked down upon and deal with lowered expectations.
I am hood. I am not ignorant or class-less. Tacky or uncouth. I am hood. Regular, Ordinary there are many just like me. Im not the 1% I am the 99.
So the next time someone calls me
I will respond gladly; Thank you.
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