It means “a part of a city, esp. a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.” But over time, “ghetto” has become synonymous with all things related to stereotypical black, urban or hip hop culture. A rap song? A bag littered with designer logos? Talking loud on your phone while chewing gum? “So ghetto!”

Urban Dictionary describes it as a “word which rich white girls use to describe almost everything thats not clad with lily polos and pearls. “Look how ghetto I look!” Muffy said as she put on her Gucci sunglasses.”

It’s time the phrase gets buried.

It’s a term that stereotypes and lampoons a culture and is wrought with racial implications. Now instead of acting “black,” or “poor,” because those terms aren’t politically correct, people substitute the word “ghetto” and it’s suddenly acceptable.

“Ghetto” isn’t seen as racially charged. So it’s safe for someone to use it to degrade, shame and humiliate a race of people without being held accountable for it.

“Ghetto” also makes the problematic assumption that people of a certain socioeconomic status all act the same way. The thinking goes “ghetto” people are poor and therefore, uncouth, classless, ignorant, combative and lacking of social graces.

If viral personalities like “Sweet Brown,” and mud-slinging, drink-throwing VH1 reality stars are the new minstrel characters, “ghetto” is the new racist slur used to describe them.

  • ivorp

    ‘hispanic’ is not a race….afro latinos have a tendency to not embrace their African roots/ties and many of us embrace them as an exotic ‘other’….remember that we a kindred throughout the Diaspora, what seperates us is language and slight cultural variances…still we are one…1 Love!

  • AMB

    Thank you!!! I cringe when i hear people use the term “ghetto” to describe any and everything!!

  • apple

    white people and other races use ghetto to mena what ever is black or hispanic, whether its poor or not

  • kc

    I think “ghetto” is–or perhaps, was–the most apt term to describe certain geographies. Ghettoes refer to places that have been purposely isolated and downcast–intentional geographies of want. People aren’t ghetto, they have been ghettoized, or subjugated and outcast.

    Unfortunately, modern parlance has made “ghetto” a passive term, transforming it from a word that points the finger at the racist establishment to one referencing supposedly innate, bad characteristics of our people. White people sure no how to shift the blame…

  • Rochelle

    I use the term “ghetto” and will continue to do so. I will continue becasue i call a spade a spade. If a person is a waste of blood, flesh, and air, mostly likely they from the ghetto. To me it is simple. Crime ridden, drug infested, run down areas are ghettos and have more ghetto people than decent folk. I’m not sorry for telling it how it is.

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