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.

22 Comments

  1. apple

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

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  2. 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…

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    • Negros create “ghettos.” No matter how much money is thrown at you by self-hating whites, no matter how much local, state, and federal government kisses your ass, you still are jungle animals, and the vines return wherever you congregate.

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  3. 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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    • LOL. You say some crazy stuff. Folks still call folks country where I live to bring up that they are unsophisticated and uncouth.

      But yea many white people will call just everybody on this site ghetto. They think African American culture is hip hop culture and ghetto culture, so they will probably call you ghetto as well. Anything we do that they don’t do is acting black or ghetto.

      Ghetto is like country to me. I know that not everyone in the ghetto or the country is classless. But classless behavior is not a stereotype for no reason. It is common in these areas and that’s why the term is used.

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  4. @binks

    Lol. Well since she shared I figured I’d ask.

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  5. Nicole

    OMG! Thank you for this article. A white girl in one of my classes bought a pack of mechanical pencils and she was having issues with them after fiddling with them for a few minutes she get up and goes “ugh! these are soooooo ghetto”

    To white people anything that isnt right to them is ghetto.

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