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Dear ’Hood Inhabitants:

What in the world are you doing?

Still waiting for some savior or some program to come to your street, knock on your door, and lift you out of your circumstances? Guess what? It ain’t happening. The Advancement isn’t coming to your neighborhood. You have to seek out your higher destiny. You have to want it more than you want the comfort of those things that are familiar to you. That means if you want more than the ’hood for yourself and your family, then you have to exist beyond the ’hood. You have to move out—away from the ’hood, and away from the racial and cultural isolation that is so pervasive there. What you seek is simply not in the ’hood. It never has been, and it never will be.

However, attaining your higher destiny is not a matter of simple relocation. I know more than a few persons who have packed their belongings and moved to more progressive environs, but failed to leave behind their ghetto ways. Along with their other family heirlooms, they packed their ghetto ways neatly and safely in bubble wrap, placed them in a box specially designed to transport such fragile—and I would say impractical—objects, and hand carried them in the cab of the truck to make doubly sure no breakage or harm would come to these treasures. So despite a new living environment, they permitted their allegiance to old ways to continue to compromise any new opportunities.

Life Beyond the Ghetto

Living beyond the ghetto is not merely a change of address. It is a change of soul. We must not only change our addresses, we must change our very spirits. How we look at ourselves and how we interact with others must transcend the tentacles of race that grasp continually at our psyches. This transcending of race is what we owe, if not to ourselves then to those black persons who arrived to this continent in chains and died still chained. It is our imperative and it is our obligation to free ourselves from the last chains.

Don’t you get it? Those forebears—your ancestors—were reduced to nothing, no more than dark property without any rights, relations, or uniqueness of thought that any person in the Americas was bound to respect. If those days seem too far removed, then think of your grandmother. Imagine her as a little girl. Picture what she might have looked like as a youngster. Pigtails or nappy-headed, boney-kneed or a little tubby—a cute little girl in the sunshine, playing with her dolls or in a game with her friends. Can you see her? Is she smiling? Now picture that little girl’s grandmother in chains. Can you see her? Does it disturb you? This imagery is not meant to infuriate you but to inspire you toward transcending.

Psychological Freedom from Psychological Slavery

We must now move beyond our own remaining chains, beyond the mental barriers that keep so many of us constrained in our thoughts and deeds. In order to do so we must first move beyond ourselves, each other, and our neighborhoods. We must break free from our enmeshment and seek that final step away from psychological slavery and toward psychological freedom. Discovering that the world is so much bigger than you know, and realizing that there exist so many things that you may not even have an inkling of a thought about, are crucial steps in the progression toward psychological freedom.

Breaking the chains of our minds and opening the door to your individual psyche is the key to our final step to freedom.

Dear ’Hood Inhabitants:

Dr James Davison

Dr. James Davison, Jr. is a licensed psychologist, university professor and author. He has appeared on several nationally-aired programs including The Phil Donahue Show, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and C-SPAN. Dr. Davison hails from Philadelphia, and now conducts a private practice in Seattle, Washington.

His book, Sweet Release: The Last Step to Black Freedom is now available as a digital download here. You can also visit to learn more.

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APA Reference
, . (2019). Dear ’Hood Inhabitants:. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Apr 2019
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