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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Letting the Crap Go: the 'Hood Pass' Edition

I’m not sure if any or all you have heard of the infamous saying ‘hood pass’ or ‘ghetto pass’. If you haven’t, lucky you, if you have, I’m about to put it in its grave in my vocabulary. Personally, I don’t like the concept of the ‘hood pass’ it’s an insult on so many levels. First, it’s an insult because it assumes someone can just give a pass to the hood or someone would want a pass to the hood. Secondly, as a black woman I don’t see myself as hood or ghetto, so no I’m not giving out passes to that mess. The kinda sorta definition of this term is that someone who is non-black can get a pass when saying stupid stuff about black people because well, they know black people. I don’t know who came up with the concept but really I’d like to take a 12-inch wooden ruler to the back of their hand. They’ve made the lives of intelligent black people hell.

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I Know Black People Pt. 1
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I’d heard the term ‘hood pass’ used in passing (no pun intended, I swear) but I really got a hold of it when John Mayer (who I still want to secretly love) said in an interview when he started to say some not so gentlemanly things about black actress, Kerry Washington. Really he said some not so gentlemanly things about a bunch of women but this was particularly dumb because it had to do with Ms. Washington’s race and his penis being like David Duke, which I assumed meant white, skinny, ugly, and kind of scary. For some reason Mr. Mayer thought it was okay to make these asinine comments about Ms. Washington because someone had given him a ‘hood pass’. I swear if I catch that person, I’m going to throttle them. So for this reason he thought that all would be forgiven by intelligent black people everywhere if he went on and on about how Ms. Washington just looked like she would give your friend a bj just to be bitchy.

I’ve come across the term again but this one was of a more personal nature and this is why I’ve decided someone needs to throw this term in the ground, bury it with plenty of dirt and spit on the grave.

A good friend of mine, a white guy, was telling me about a conversation he heard between two co-workers having, they were white young men. One was telling the other one of the story of a black guy he’d gone to high school with that had replaced a varsity basketball player while he was still junior varsity. He told of the spectacular feats of this young man and how amazing he was at playing basketball. Then he said and I’m only paraphrasing here, ‘yea you know because he was black he was really good at basketball, all black guys are.’ Now when I heard this story my brow furrowed because…well it was stupidest thing I’d heard in a long time. Even stupider that two people would have this conversation in public, at work, and around other co-workers. But the stupidest part came with the next comment my friend told me he made which was ‘yea I can say that because I had a black roommate’. What the hell? Yea, I had a white husband at one point too but that doesn’t give me free reign to just say any dumb thing I want about white people. That’s when I thought about the ‘hood pass’ and how this concept has made some white people especially younger ones lose their dang minds. Even worse are the black people who seem to be going along with this foolishness. All I could think is that the black young man on the basketball team could have many reasons why he was a good player, maybe he practiced, maybe he worked out, maybe he concentrated to make himself better. It’s not as if he sprang from the womb dribbling a Wilson. I’m putting this out to young people and old people. I want everyone to think long and hard about this, if there’s a conversation you’re having about another racial group and you can’t bring a person of that race in to hear it, something is wrong with that conversation. I also want young people to stop with the concept of the ‘hood pass’, you’re really just making yourself and your white friend look ignorant.

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