By Toby R. Davis aka Naeem Nusaga
WHERE I’M FROM we don’t call it the neighborhood, but simply ‘the hood’. Boldly dropping the neighbor part of the word because there’s nothing neighborly about it. It’s not a city of angels but a city of vicious lions, tigers, and bears. All roaming the streets freely and stalking the weak, the vulnerable, and the prey each and every day. It is a far cry from the hit TV sitcom called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air where the character played by Will Smith was given an opportunity to restart his life in a more affluent neighborhood while escaping the perils of his hometown in West Philadelphia with his preppy cousin, Carlton Banks. But hey, let’s face it. The reality is: Some things are simply out of our control. No one on this planet Earth had the personal option to be born either male or female. No one had the personal option to be born a particular race. And most certainly, no one had the personal option to be born to upper-class parents, middle-class parents, or even lower-class parents. Truthfully, it pretty much all comes down to the roll of the dice!
In a dice game, you’d simply shake up the dice and blow on them for good luck, then hope that the dice hit either winning number 7 or 11, but if by chance the dice rolled and landed on “6 and 6,” “1 and 2,” or “Snake eyes,” you’d lose your dead presidents (or money in the pot), plain and simple. Well, life is like that same game of chance whereas your odds of winning are essentially determined by the circumstances in which you were born into from the very beginning. For instance, if you’re a black baby who was born to the care of middle-class parents, who could afford to live in a decent community with a low crime rate and quality education, then your odds of winning would be relatively high. But, on the flip side, if you’re a black baby who was born to the care of lower-class parents who could only afford to live in an impoverished community with a higher crime rate and substandard education, then your odds of winning would be relatively low. Therefore, we must ask ourselves the question: Why does one environment tends to be conducive to a higher chance of success; while on the other hand, a higher chance of incarceration? It is the child, or is it the environment in which the child is raised in? Just food to thought.