My “Hood”

So, it seems to me that some people think that hoods like mine are filled with drugs, crime, broken homes, and all manner of “deplorable” things.

Let me ask you something right quick. Have you ever even been to my hood? Have you even met anyone from my hood? No? Then how come you can pass all kinds of judgement on where I live and infer things about the lives of people you never knew existed? That’s like me saying that all White people live in huge mansions and drive a Benz on weekdays, and a Porche on weekends. I bet some do, but for the vast majority, it isn’t true. So, let me tell you (as someone who has lived in my hood for far longer than many of you who think so poorly of it) a little about the area.

It’s pretty ugly. Not too many people take care of their lawn, and the streets and sidewalks are raggedy. You’ll see run down houses and buildings, but also some very shiny, well loved cars. Mostly people are friendly (there’s the homeless guy who’s friends with everybody and does odd-jobs for a living). You can catch anyone on a bad day, though. If you happen to need bus fare, someone is usually willing to give you a dollar. If you need to eat, the lady that runs the store will let you voulenteer for an hour in exchange for a little food. If kids are playing in the street, all of the adults who may be sitting outside are watching them. So if anyone does something they aren’t supposed to, they’ll catch it later. People are suspicous of you if you’re new, but once people warm up to you, you’re basically family. Guys are pretty polite. They’ll try to talk to you if you’re a pretty girl, but most leave you alone after a strong enough refusal. My school was pretty ugly too. But my teachers loved each of us. Even the bad ones. They did their best to teach us to love learning, but if you decided to run your mouth at them (especially the English teacher) they’d smoothly put you in your place.

While you wouldn’t want to walk around at night (anywhere, really), you could usually get someone to walk you home. If you couldn’t, then there was a pretty low chance of anything happening to you. Generally, people would avoid you at night on the unspoken principal “do no harm, be unharmed.” I’ve only really seen the police in my hood a few times, mostly because of domestic drama (girl gets mad at guy, guy gets arrested type thing), and once because of a something serious (they brought in SWAT, it was scary). Usually, the community prefers to take care of its own problems.

The things that stands out most to me though are the love everyone has for one another and how optimistic everyone is about the future. All of the elders tell us to vote, and encourage us to do better. All of the youths dream so big and work so hard, you feel their enthusiam seeping into you too. There are some that slip through the cracks, but the hood tries to catch them before the police do.

That’s my hood. I really could go on, but my fingers are starting to cramp a little. There are many more hoods like mine and that are better or worse than mine, but I’d like to ask people to please stop saying such cruel things about communities that have to make do with what they’re given. Everyone’s heart breaks everytime we see another death because we all knew someone like him. Because we tried in vain to save him. Because he was our brother and we loved him. Because a piece of our collective heart was taken from us without a just cause.

Because why not use a taser (not the same as a stun gun) instead of a gun to stop a suspect? Why not give him a chance?