Misconceptions of using the term “the hood” in everyday conversation

LARIONA JACOBS ‘17

Special to the Denisonian

There are many references to the neighborhoods in which we come from, but there’s one in particular that hits home for me: the hood. Google’s and Urban Dictionaries definition of ‘the hood’ both reflect the ideology that not only is the hood violent, but also that someone the hood is “ghetto.”

In other words, when thinking of the hood, others who identify him or herself as not apart of it, come to the conclusion that the people who reside in the hood are gangsters, thugs, and criminals.

I’d like to settle this by saying that EVERY neighborhood, no matter how delightful of a facade it reveals, has it’s own internal problems.

As someone who comes from the inner city of Boston and was raised in the Projects, I’ve heard “the hood” thrown around a significant amount of times.

People would often judge me for growing up in a low­ income environment where their were shootings, weed smoking, and other miscellaneous activities.

What people don’t realize is that while all these things were happening, never did I feel unsafe because I knew that I lived in a community where people looked out for me.

Along with the perception of “the hood,”comes the perception of the people that live there: uneducated, ghetto, and unfortunate.

Before coming to Denison, thankfully I had not experienced face-­to-­face racism, or maybe it was just plain ignorance, not being knowledgeable. I get that sometimes people just simply aren’t educated on certain things, which is totally fine, but only to an extent.

The extent to which one cannot speak upon something they have little to no knowledge about and put others down by making invalid comments. So let me stop beating around the bush and tell y’all about a Saturday night on the hill.

One night while walking home with a group of friends, laughing, play fighting, having fun, and of course being a little loud, (no we weren’t drunk) someone passed us and said, “Hey! Y’all ain’t in the hood anymore!”

My group of friends and I stood there in silence, complete shock, before I started yelling.

Just to reiterate, I had NEVER dealt with anything regarding racism, bias against me, or anything of that sort, so hearing someone say that, someone who doesn’t look like me, made me feel not only offended but outraged.

All I could do was yell.

Now, I don’t believe yelling was necessarily the the right thing to do, but something had to be said. This person needed to be told that something of that matter shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Not only were we identified as a part of the hood, but what caught this person’s attention was our appearance and the height of our volume. Because of that we were perceived as people who were distinguished to be that of a thug and ghetto.

Yes, I am from what people call “the hood,” and yes there are some people where I live who have not lived up to society’s expectations of a utilitarian. Yet everyone is different, and my friends and I are a product of that.

We may come from places that are looked down upon because they are not immaculate or appealing to the eyes, but those places are home.

They are the places where we feel most safe at, the places where we can be ourselves without being judged for our choice of expression. They are the places where we’ve accepted that while we may not be entirely the best, we will stand up and educate others on the truth. And if being from ‘the hood’ means getting looked at in a certain way, I’ll own it because guess what? I beat the odds and I’m here for a reason.

Lariona Jacobs ‘20 is a potential sociology/anthropology major from Boston, Massachusetts.