Ghetto," when used colloquially as an adjective, is the most racist, derogatory word in the common lexicon, given its so subtle insinuations and layers. Employed to mean "uncouth," "unruly," or "parvenu," “ghetto” is the most popular, new code word to stigmatize blacks. Referring to unacceptable behaviors as "ghetto" clearly links those behaviors to "the ghetto," where the bulk of black people in this country happen to live. Using inductive logic, which we often do, that means behaving inappropriately can be equated with behaving black. Furthermore, even though many, if not most, people don't realize it, when one associates "the ghetto" with deviant behaviors, through contrast he is simultaneously associating normal, standard, or acceptable behavior with the suburbs, its antithesis. As a test, ask yourself, what does it mean to act "suburban," if acting "ghetto" means unruly, etc? Ghettos certainly do not have a monopoly on deviance and unacceptable behavior, nor do suburbs have a monopoly on sophistication, manners, and civility. Thus, the colloquial usage of "ghetto" perpetuates racist mythology and also mischaracterizes the majority of people that, by definition, live in the ghetto, since most of them don't act "ghetto." "Ghetto," derived from the Italian word for the island where Jews were forced to live in Venice (“gheto”), means "a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure" according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary. Formerly a term that evoked sympathy, people use it now to mock and stigmatize. It's no coincidence that when Jews and Italians, having achieved economic success, emigrated from the central cities and black folks moved in, ghetto's connotation changed. Ghettoes used to be places where downtrodden, isolated minorities used to work hard to achieve the American dream for their children. Now, in the conception of our nation, including black folks (sad to say), instead of persevering and ambitious, ghetto people are shiftless, criminal, and materialistic. ............................................... The rest of the article can be found at the links below. Harold M. Clemens is a staff writer for We The Voices magazine. He also blogs regularly at Ghetto Uprising.