Does the Black community suffer from ‘Hood Disease’?


The summer is upon us, which means tensions will be rising soon. We have already had a string of shootings and murders in the Twin Cities. We go through this cycle every year.

This year a new term has been introduced to us via the national news. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and a Harvard University research study have introduced the term “Hood Disease.”

This term is not clearly defined. However, it is in reference to the similar symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the symptoms that “inner-city youth” are exhibiting. The CDC has declared that life in the inner city can create a health problem, which then makes it tougher for young people there to learn.

Now, “Inner-City Youth” is a code phrase for Black children. These Black children are facing stress similar to that experienced by soldiers in a war zone. Some may say that the neighborhoods most Black children live in are virtual war zones.

I believe this comparison is not far off. Think about North Minneapolis. Many of the youth (and adults) are suffering from flashback, paranoia, nightmares, social withdrawal, and feeling numb similar to how war veterans feel. However, unlike war veterans’, Black youths’ trauma is consistent and complex.

A serious look at the stress and trauma in the Black community could suggest that we are in survival mode. I would even say that, as a collective, Black people are simply existing. Many of us have been so beat down and oppressed that we are just taking things (literally) moment by moment.

The only consistency we have is in dysfunction. I am not saying this to be morbid. However, if we are not honest about what is going on, we will remain in the dysfunctional state we are currently facing.

When it comes to Black youth who are victims of a vicious system that cycles their trauma from generation to generation, the symptoms and behavior are called a disease. However, for White children who commit violent acts, the new term is “affluenza” or any other mental health disorder. Never are the actual conditions we live in taken into consideration. However, we as Black people must not tolerate this and must respond with excellence.

We need more males setting constructive examples and being models of what manhood is. We need this more than “mentors.” Also, females must do the same thing for girls. Then both older males and females must model healthy relationships amongst each other.

This is how we build a community. This is one of the main solutions to curing this so-called “Hood Disease.” The other focus is to build wealth and economic stability as a group.

We must socialize our children into a new culture, a culture that is constructive, built on disciplined character and values that are uncompromising. Without these main components, the so called “Hood Disease” will result in an ethnic death for Black people. We cannot allow this to happen. Our children are counting on us to end this cycle for their future.


Brandon Jones M.A. is a mental health practitioner. He welcomes reader responses to or follow him on twitter @UniversalJones.