Lessons From The Hood

Lessons From The Hood

The lessons that I keep with me today are the lessons I've learned from my (neighbor)hood.

"It takes a village to raise a child."

When I heard that phrase back in middle school, I began to reflect my whole life and what kind of environment I grew up in.

It wasn't the cleanest.

There would be abandoned furniture, puke on the sidewalk, ruined murals, and unkempt grass. But that hardly bothered me at some point -- it was part of my daily life.

It wasn't the nicest.

That time someone came up to me ripped my gold necklace and ran off left me stunned and paranoid for most of my life (even today). You'd walk down your street and meet the nice old people or your neighbors with whom you bonded with over music, but you'd also pass by predatory eyes.

But I'd be lying to you if I told you that I didn't learn anything from growing up in the hood.

So I've decided to write 4 things that I've learned from the area that I grew up in: South Central LA. While I could go on forever on the lessons I've learned, I think these 4 main points stick out the most to me. (While most of my articles include gifs and images, I wanted to have this article be serious and word-based.)

1. Safety/Security

I've learned that even with all the locks and bars in my house, the chances of me getting hurt (in any way) is plausible. Whether it's by someone in my family, someone on my block, or some stranger who's walking near me. I learned this at a very young age, but since then -- you can never prevent something from happening. You can try. But that's all you can do.

2. Money is a Necessity.

Many say that money isn't the key to happiness. While I do agree with that -- it's only to a certain extent. Money was the root of my housing, food, and clothing. I'm sure I can say that for most people. But without it -- there was anxiety in the house. Anxiety in my mother. In me. My father. Siblings. I envy those that don't need to worry about finances. What a privilege it must be to not decide whether to buy clothes or food and not both.

3. "Things Could Be Worse"

Yeah. Things could be worse. Yeah, I had to live in my living room with my 4 siblings, but at least I wasn't starving. There's this ideology within families similar to mine (low-income, first-gen, POC), that we should be grateful for what we have. And while I do appreciate what is in my life -- I can't help but want more. And that's ok. It's okay to want more. I'm not entirely sure if this was a good or bad lesson. I find myself forcing appreciation and gratitude more than I find myself striving for better things. A better life.

4. You Don't Have to Be A Statistic

Even though the hood isn't always the nicest or cleanest, there was always someone who proved that wrong. A kind soul, dressed like a cholo (will matter further in my writing), spoke to me when I was crying my eyes out. He came up to me and told me that I'd be okay. That I would get out from these streets and have a good life. He asked me if I wanted to give back to the hood -- I said, "Yes, of course." He said that that's what life is about. Doing well in your life and sharing that wealth with others.

Harmony. Unity. Compassion.

And it was from there on out that I realized it doesn't matter what you dressed like (my mother often told me to stay away from people dressed in a specific manner/colors), looked like, or what area you lived in. You can have a better life. You don't need to be stuck in this cycle of a "terrible" life. I learned this at the age of 10. And this lesson has always stuck with me. And now I'm here. Studying English Literature at a prestigious 4-year university. Studying so that I can give back to my community and create this new cycle of student flourishing and understanding their worth in this world.

Because that's what life is about. Doing well in your life and sharing that wealth with others.

Cover Image Credit: Juanki

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.


2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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5 Ways To Promote Diversity In Your Everyday Situations

What does diversity look like to you?


Diversity. What is it, really?

Well, according to Merriam-Webster, diversity is the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization and a more general definition is the condition of having or being composed of differing elements. It is basically allowing yourself to be exposed to elements/situations different from yours. Seems simple enough right? Maybe, but it is still a difficult concept for many people. If you are one of those people, here are some tips I think would be good for you to implement in your day-to-day activities.

1. Get to know people you look different from you.

This is probably the most basic one. Even though I don't believe that diversity is just having friends of different races, it is definitely a big component. Having friends who only look, speak and act like you means you're missing out on a whole other culture of people that you could probably learn a lot from.

2. Get to know people who think differently from you.

This could range from people who have differing political opinions to people who have different political opinions to people who just have different personal preferences than you. Find out why they think the way that they do and how it influences the way they do the things they do. As you're exploring the other side of the coin you'll also be getting to know them better!

3. Ask about the things people say and do that you don't understand.

I know for me being a Nigerian, I do and say many things subconsciously that many Americans do not understand but when people ask me about those things, first of all, it tells me that you're paying attention to me (which I love) and it gives me an opportunity to share some of my culture with you.

4. Be intentional about learning about other cultures

I hear so many people say "I love Asian culture!" or "I just love Africa!" but which part of those continents (highlighting this because people seem to always forget that they're not actually countries)? And what are you doing to further educate yourself on those places? Being intentional about learning means taking concrete steps; joining a student organization relating to that culture, befriending people who've lived in those places and keeping up with what is happening in those places. Going on a mission trip every five years just doesn't cut it.

5. Don't be shy about asking or answering hard questions

This is a big one. Often times when you have friends of different races, hard questions come up that can often be difficult to answer or even just ask. But that is the advantage of being friends with someone; you can talk more honestly with that person than with a random person that you meet. Having those hard conversations provides the opportunity for you to strengthen that relationship and educate yourselves in the process.

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