In his memoir Born a Crime, Trevor Noah reflects on the nature of “the hood.” While he is reflecting on his experience in Alexandra township outside of Johannesburg, SA, he could have been talking about any similar community. “The hood” is a place of nurture and acceptance, a place of community and comfort that exerts a gravitational pull on its members. Comfort, says Noah, can be dangerous, because while it provides a floor, it also provides a ceiling. To grow or succeed very much requires leaving it behind.
Most readers of this blog probably do not have first-hand experience of “the hood” per se. But probably everyone has the experience of having to exert enough energy to break free of the bonds of the womb or the psychologically comfortable. Not everyone succeeds, and not everyone succeeds in all aspects of their life. At some point, it becomes more comfortable to trade new horizons for the comfort of the world we know. Stockholm syndrome sets in and we come to love that which keeps us captive because it also keeps us safe.
“The hood” is a literal place for some people. Beyond that, it’s a metaphor all of us can relate to.
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