Black People : Ghetto, The New "N" Word

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Ellacott, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Ellacott

    Ellacott Active Member MEMBER

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    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.
     
  2. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Sister Ellacott ... please review forum rule # 2 ... you need to include the owner's permission, or a link to their work. Please edit the above accordingly.

    Thanks Sister.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  3. Ellacott

    Ellacott Active Member MEMBER

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    Hi Destee :)

    I apologize. The link was in the last sentence when I copied it. I'll fix it.
     
  4. Jasel

    Jasel Member MEMBER

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    It is pretty annoying how Ghetto is now pretty much has Black attatched to it in meaning. Not the only negative thing though either these days as someone stated in that Acting Black thread.
     
  5. Ralfa'il

    Ralfa'il Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The word "ghetto" means now what being called "country" meant a few generations ago.


    When people didn't know how to dress, talked and laughed loudly, and didn't know how to carry themselves in a civilized urban manner....the old folks used to call them "country".

    Folks from down south would move up to Michigan and after staying a few years everytime they finished talking to their relatives back home, they would say,

    "Lord knows I love my folks, but them peoples countryyyyyyyyyy as all get-out!"


    Now, people say "That's so ghetto....why do they have to act like that".
     
  6. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thank you Sister Ellacott ... :love:

    I thought you might be interested in reading this thread, that is about the same topic ... What is a Ghetto?

    I can say, thanks to Brother Sun Ship and others, i've adjusted my thinking regarding this word.

    Let the knowledge continue to flow.

    Thanks again Sister Ellacott for sharing.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  7. Radical Faith

    Radical Faith Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Is a rundown trailer park, with white residents not a ghetto? In the trailer park white women are on section 8 and welfare. White man sit up and drink beer talk about cars and play playstation all day. You can drive down any street in the trailer park and see broken down cars, uncut grass, garbage thrown over in the weeds and bushes, stray dogs and cats, beer cans and broken liquor bottles, Bare spots and trails through the grass, clothes drying on the line, old funiture and appliances sitting outside, and etc... All the residents smoke cigarettes. These may be stereotypes and don't apply to every trailer park but the one I described is definately out there, especially in the south. So what makes an urban slum or the pj's more of a ghetto than the rundown trailer park?


    Peace......
     
  8. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    We, unfortunately, are as much a part of attaching and applying this tag to behaviors in our community as anyone... In fact, it was our way of differentiating the wild, ignorant, and uncouth among our neighbors, from us, the respectable, for lack of a better expression...

    It seems the writer is blaming White Folks for OUR use of this word in it's connotation... To the contrary... I remember Charles Barkley, while as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team, using this connotation to explain why he had elbowed a brother on the ANGOLAN National basketball team... And, of course, though that was the first I had publicly(on national Television)heard the word used in that connotation, I had many, many years previous, heard it being used in the context in question... Am I airing our "dirty laundry" to say this???(smile!)

    Frankly, I don't mind using the word to differentiate in the way that we do. It hasn't lost it's original meaning any more that "BAD" has lost it's original meaning... African Americans play with words like that... It is part of our culture, and sometimes we don't know when to chill, as in our use of the most despicable epithet ever created, the N-word... We just got to deal with the bitter and the sweet of it, and keep it movin'... "Ghetto" aint hurtin' nobody if the N-word aint hurtin' nobody... As long we're using the MOTHER of all nasty words as a term of endearment, I CAINT be getting excited over a word like "ghetto."

    Peace!
    Isaiah
     
  9. indya

    indya Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Weren't rappers the ones who started using ghetto and "hood" as a badge of honor?? I always understood the ghetto do be a rundown section of a city, rappers IMO are the ones who embraced it and made it a black thing.
     
  10. indya

    indya Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I think the only difference between a run down trailer park and a ghetto is that ghettos are urban and trailer parks are outside towns. There are fewer people in trailer parks so less of the same kinds of crime found in ghettos.
     
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