Thursday, October 12, 2006

Musings from a Black Woman: In the "Ghetto"

Christian Finnegan nailed it on the head with this one. While describing on his blog one of the less than posh establishments on his comedy tour, he wrote the following: "...this time out I wanted a scuzzier experience, and what can I say--the Casino Queen more than delivers! This place is what you might call "extremely ghetto", if you were the kind of douche-y white person who misappropriates terms like "ghetto". The buildings are decrepit, mysterious stains decorate the hideously patterened carpet, and the buffet features a big discount bottle of supermarket-brand salad dressing you just pick up and squeeze yourself..."

I HATE when people, especially those with a light pigmentation, use the term "ghetto" as an adjective to talk about how unsophisticated or slovenly they found a person, place or thing. "Ghetto" is a noun, as defined by dictionary.com:

1. a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships.
2. (formerly, in most European countries) a section of a city in which all Jews were required to live.
3. a section predominantly inhabited by Jews.
4. any mode of living, working, etc., that results from stereotyping or biased treatment: job ghettos for women; ghettos for the elderly.

I knew it wasn't just me who had a problem with it. Thank you, Christian, my white brother, for pointing that out to the world.

Maybe another of my favorite comedians will take on the inherent racism of the phrase "white trash."

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