OPINION: The Hood Can't Hold Them Back

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From Left: First Lady Michelle Obama, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, CEO of Xerox Ursula Burns

Biggie once rhymed that as a dude with aspirations for getting out of the ghetto, “either you’re slingin’ crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot”, but girls from the hood ain’t even have these two options. Hood females were all destined to become teenage single mothers and high school drop outs perhaps peaking (if they can maintain their figures after their third or fourth baby by the third or fourth dude) as a stripper or (dream! dream!) a video ho. The ones with “high” aspirations supposedly shot for cosmetology school or some associate, assistant nursing position.

This memo, however, must have missed at least three project and hood homes. American First Lady, Michelle Obama nèe Michelle Robinson is from Chicago’s South Side; the same South Side that may not be dangerous but is certainly not friendly and rappers like Common and Kanye West rhyme so passionately about. Obama, a Princeton undergrad and Harvard Law alumni is also a former Associate Dean at the University of Chicago and former associate at the law firm of Sidley Austin.

Next there’s Sonia Sotomayor who’s a Puerto Rican from the Boogie Down Bronx. Good Lord! Can’t you just picture her screaming in Spanglish at the top of her lungs off a balcony? Well, think again. Sotomayor, another Princeton undergrad alum but this time with a Yale Law degree just became President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court. The former Yale Law Journal editor virtually ended Major League Baseball’s 1994 strike single-handedly and was the youngest judge in New York’s Southern District and the first Latina federal judge anywhere in New York State.

Finally, there’s Ursula Burns. Burns, a project chick like Sotomayor, but from New York’s Lower East side, became the first Black woman to head a Fortune 500 company when she assumed the helm at Xerox. Burns got her undergrad degree in engineering from Brooklyn’s Polytechnic Institute and her masters from Columbia.

Things done changed.

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