Friday, August 26, 2005

I'll See Your Ghetto (Part I)...

...and raise you a concentration camp.

(Post prompted by Tiger Lilly.)

ghet·to - 1. A section of a city occupied by a minority group who live there especially because of social, economic, or legal pressure.
2. An often walled quarter in a European city to which Jews were restricted beginning in the Middle Ages.
3. Something that resembles the restriction or isolation of a city ghetto

Semantics aside, we all know what people mean when they say ghetto in 2005*. There’s no positive connotation involved.

I argued this point constantly at work (remembering, since I am in America, I was surrounded by clueless White folk).

Anytime somebody was using something that wasn't in perfect, or even acceptable, condition it was "ghetto."

"This mop is ghetto."

"So you're saying ghetto means broke down, shoddy - not proper or right?" I would ask. Then I'd assure them they were racist. Hey, some of us just need to face it. I’m not a mind reader, but a bookie would be foolish to put odds against them having another definition for the word.

Although, fervently denied, or even snickered at, my claim would always be proven. Eventually.

"I have a ghetto-booty," one privileged White girl would boast (large yes, almost on scale with her ears, but I doubt any quarters would bounce off of it).

"What's that mean?," I asked.

"Oh, you know," she answered, searching for a way to make it sound flattering, "Black girls just...don't care so much about being all skinny and stuff."

This is the same girl who grew up in the county (read: country-ass boonies), refers to Black people as "colored," who's father is the pastor of their cult church (which proscribes miscegenation), and who, after her "phase" of whoring around, will, I’m sure, be the Stepford version of Ann Coulter.

"So, you’re saying ‘ghetto’ means ‘Black’?"

"," by this time her backup is usually arriving. Funny how if it’s said in unison, it’s the truth.

The discussion would usually involve histrionic confessions of righteousness (I’m sorry, how silly of me to think you’re racist when you listen to Ja Rule and fucked a Black guy or two – finger snaps and neck rolls added for emphasis - girrrrlfriend) or pitiful attempts to show how offended and hurt they were ("racists aren’t good people!"). Eventually someone in the group would make some lame joke, usually geared at discrediting me, and they’d all laugh their way out of it.

The bottom line is, to White people, ghetto is synonymous with Black. Ghetto is also synonymous with "fucked up". It’s not exactly a leap to see this as a categorical syllogism concluding that Black people are fucked up (if a=b, and a=c, then b=c).

This isn’t my only beef with the widespread use of this particular word though, and I will shortly continue this post.

*Don't attempt to tell me we're talking about oppression of Jews either. If I said I was going to go smoke a fag, you'd probably think I was gonna shoot a homosexual, not light up a Newport. This also applies to a nigger simply being any "lazy person." We know exactly what we're talking about here.

Part Two


tigerlilly said...

Awesome post, hun. Thanks so much for all of your comments. I really appreciate the honesty.

DUB said...

Thank you, TL, for givin' a goodgotdamn (and being my first commenter). The genuine, personal nature of your blog got me posting - and expedited this post.

That's what we're here for, right? To tell the truth. Or at least our perception of it, and maybe teach, learn, and generally get enough discourse going to get the truth out there.

Tanooki Joe said...

This is one of those things that sort of soak in through osmosis. The "ghetto" has become this sort of Zeitgeist-dwelling place that's dangerous but only enough to be cool and sexy. Total bullshit, just like most pop culture.