Hood Infected

George Bernard Shaw asserted, “Lack of money is the root of all evil.” Did George indulge in a little hyperbole here? Perhaps. Yet when you look at many of the problems that plague our world today, it is hard to ignore the fact that so many of them seem to stem from greed and a fundamental miscalculation of the factors that lead to a happy human life. Though certainly not unique to impoverished, inner-city communities, it seems that one of the root causes of a menu of other problems that have “infected the hood” is the fundamental misperception that the accumulation of money and material wealth is an end that justifies any cost.

27. South Ward – Newark, NJ. Although I could hazard a few guesses, I can’t say with any certainty exactly what the author ment here with: “Hood Infected.” For the purposes of today, I’m taking the liberty of suggesting that one of the preeminent Glasses Half Empty that has “Infected the Hood” is the illusion that money = happiness.

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28. Ironbound – Newark, NJ. Pretty simple statement of fact.

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29. North Philadelphia, PA. One of the most ubiquitous mantras of America’s infected hoods: M.O.B. “Money Over Bitches.” It’s hard to decide where to start when analyzing the layers of what is so heartbreakingly broken about this mentality.

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30. West Ward – Newark, NJ. Dollar signs are to gang graffiti as crucifixes are to cathedrals.

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31. West Ward – Newark, NJ. The first definition of the word “Shiest” that appears in Urbandictionary.com is “A person who will take advantage and cheat in some situations.”

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32. West Ward – Newark, NJ. Seems perfectly symbolic that the path to a “Shiest Life” is one of neglected, crumbling steps.

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33. Wall Street – Manhattan, NY. Again, just to clarify, “Shiest Life” is not solely confined to the Infected Hood.

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34. South Ward – Newark, NJ. My hope is that the artist here was trying to show that Love rises above money. My fear is that the kids who see it will erroneously interpret the two as being intertwined.

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5 Responses to Hood Infected

  1. Becca says:

    I think this is a great blog and your ideas are really interesting. But I have to say this entry made me a little mad. At the same time that I completely agree with you that money does not lead to happiness and does not solve our problems, it is something that is directly correlated to survival (and also what I would call material quality of life) in modern society. Money buys us shelter (and the level of comfort of that shelter… large spaces, nice views, drains that do not constantly clog, windows that keep the cold out and the warmth in, areas where we feel safe), it buys us food (and the pleasure of going to the grocery store and picking out not just indulgences, but healthy vegetables or other basics, without worrying about if we can afford them), clothes (that we may need in order to do other things, like be eligible for certain jobs that make us feel fulfilled…and not just make us a lot of money), transportation (and the ability to go different places, experience the world, make things happen, meet new people, do fun things, find a job, get to work). I think it is a tragedy that people are so focused on the money aspect of things, and are driven by greed. Needing (or wanting) money should never compel people to take advantage of or cheat others. But I think that when you don’t have money, I mean when you really don’t have any money for a long time, and your prospects of having money in order to make your life just a little more comfortable seem slim to none, the importance of money comes sharply into focus. I have never experienced being without a support system, but the difficulty of getting by even with a helping hand whenever I have needed it, makes me amazed at how difficult it must be for those who are all alone. Money is not the solution, and it certainly is not the key to happiness, but it certainly does help sometimes.

  2. Becca: I appreciate you sharing your thoughts! To be clear, I did not in any way mean to imply that money has zero impact on our well-being or happiness. To quote Harvard Psychologist Daniel Gilbert, “Economists and psychologists have spent decades studying the relationship between wealth and happiness, and they have generally concluded that wealth increases human happiness when it lifts people out of abject poverty and into the middle class but that it does little to increase happiness thereafter. Americans who earn $50,000 per year are much happier than those who earn $10,000 per year, but Americans who earn $5 million per year are not much happier than those who earn $100,000 per year.” More on this can be found in his book: Stumbling On Happiness. You are completely correct in pointing out that money enables us to free ourselves from the stress of basic matters of survival. Access to money also absolutely impacts the extent to which we are able to lead healthy and comfortable lifestyles. However, I still think that too many people are under the false impression that accumulating ever more amounts of money (beyond the amount necessary to maintain said middle class lifestyle) will directly result in increased life satisfaction or contentment.

  3. Adanna Girault Albert says:

    I wonder why these people think that’s it’s okay to do things like this. They are just putting negative messages to people to persist them to do something bad. This also puts negative messages to kids when they read this that it’s okay to do things that are bad. It just makes me think; why does the world have to be like this?

    • Excellent point, Adanna.

      The good news is that the world does NOT have to be like this.

      “Unless someone like YOU cares a whole aweful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” -Dr. Suess

      We need leaders like you, Adanna, to step up and start taking a stand in our community for what is right…which is not always what is popular 🙂

      -Mr. Allen

  4. Gabe Ruffi says:

    Fun fact – the love over money symbol is actually a Poor Kingz tag.

    I love your stuff, Didn’t go to your school, but I am still a student, and I do study the neighborhoods of Newark and Irvington.

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