Last week a San Francisco news report about a new form of PTSD suffered by some inner city residents went viral. KPIX anchor Wendy Tokuda introduced the segment about a complex form of post-traumatic stress disorder that affects some children’s ability to learn as “Hood Disease,” leading many to believe researchers had coined the term.
Bolstered by the problematic title and Center for Disease Control (CDC) research that found that nearly 30 percent of inner city kids suffer from PTSD, Tokuda’s report quickly made the rounds as folks began discussing whether or not Black youths living in troubled areas are victims of “Hood Disease.”
There’s just one problem: “Hood Disease” doesn’t actually exist.
Although Tokuda’s lead-in made it seem like both the CDC and Harvard researchers created the term, neither institution labeled the complex form of PTSD some urban youths suffer from as such. As a matter of fact, Tokuda didn’t hear the term uttered by scientists at all, but instead got the phrase from an Oakland resident interviewed for the story.
“I so regret using the term ‘Hood Disease’ which is not a term either the CDC uses or HARVARD,” Tokuda explained to Ebony. “That came from a resident in Oakland, and we seized on it. It is my fault.”
While “Hood Disease” may not actually be a thing, Amani Nuru-Jeter, an associate professor at the University of California, Berkley’s School of Public Health, said the media’s willingness to report on such a disorder only further stigmatizes those already living on the margins.
“To call it ‘Hood Disease’ suggests that there’s something specific about living in the hood–and have we even defined what that means?” she told Ebony. “What about other areas that are predominantly populated by low-income Whites? I think there’s a spin on the idea. It veers toward blaming the victim.”