by Dawn Boykin

I can not even begin to rationalize with the ongoing nature of  senseless violence that is taking place in the African American Community today. The young and the old are behaving in a ways that is far beyond belief. In “The Hood” there seems to be no rules to follow, no loyalty, and broken families perpetuated by ongoing oppression (internal) socioeconomic oppression (external) as well as prejudice and discrimination based merely on the color of your skin . This reality has created an unbreakable pattern of destruction, which I have coined as being A RATCHET MESS.

In “The Hood” there are no rules to follow, let alone any rules to follow in the outside world. Children are raising children and essentially raising themselves. In “The Hood” it’s cute to be a fifteen year old inexperienced child and become pregnant. Grandma may very well be pregnant at the same time as her fifteen year old expecting daughter.

The issue is not with the “System” or the government not supporting the inner city poor, the true issue is with the low life people believing that once they have become enrolled in a government subsidy that all of their prayers have been answered, that they are set for the rest of their lives and that they never have to consider working, education, or independence ever again. Just because  you qualify for welfare or section 8, does not mean that you shouldn’t seek out a better future for yourself and eventually get off of welfare These programs should   be used as stepping stone, as a temporary situation until you are able to do better for your family, not to be mistaken with hitting the jackpot.

Today, parents encourage their teenage daughters to become pregnant and force independence. The welfare will in essence provide a source of steady income and a stable housing unit in “The Hood”. Hey, as long as you are signed with section 8, you don’t have to go to work and you will happily receive free housing in the slumps of town, Right? Although undesirable to anyone with the hopes of making it home every night comfortably, safely and without the threat of being shot or perhaps being the witness of countless murder mysteries..  Why would anyone teach their child the concept of learned hopeless, In a world full of possibility? Why not encourage a different path, one they chose not to take? To step outside of their own regrets, insecurities and ignorance, to offer their child a working chance at change. To introduce a chance at a life fulfilled with purpose, hope and change. This hood mentality is transferred from one generation to the next. Each  generation, stagnant and unchanged-not yielding. No one bold enough to break the cycle. Using government assistance to satisfy their own needs, instead of the needs of the child(ren). You mean to tell me that a pack of cigarettes, weed laced syrup, drugs, your weave, bling-bling, poppin’ bottles, knock-offs and the next chicks man (or women) is more important than making  sure that your child has the proper nutrition for healthy development and decent attire to wear to school? Is it that your child is not deserving of your undivided attention and quality time?

I’m no expert, but taking the time out to really love a child can go a far distance. Listen to a child, hold them in your arms and whisper sweet admirations, adorn them with the passion of your presence. For a child that grows up unloved, under nurtured, tarnished, misled, and left to raise themselves will not stand a chance in the vicious world that we live in. They too will develop the ratchet mentality of the hood and will become “victims of their circumstance”. Parents, we have to do better. We have to want more for ourselves. We have to want more for our children.

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