Ghetto: (Merriam Webster) A part of a city in which members of a particular group or race live usually in poor conditions
(Urban Dictionary) When someone is to be described as “ghetto” – it is used to describe that persons STATE OF MIND. “Ghetto” can be both a noun and an adjective. So, in this case, it is used as an adjective where white and Asian people can be just as “ghetto” as black people. Normally, this results from the poor living and upbringing conditions. “Ghetto” is a derogatory term used towards individuals who lack the standards of manners and ethics. For some reason, “ghetto” is normally directed towards black individuals. However, it is believed and has been proven that other individuals of a different color can and have acted just as poorly.
What makes a person “ghetto”? A couple of weeks ago I attended a wedding, (read the post titled, “Message”) that was interesting to say the least. There was so much drama and backstory surrounding this wedding that I was surprised that it even happened. One part of the drama surrounding the wedding was my step-brother.
During a conversation with a family member a few months ago, I learned that my step-brother was told he would not be allowed to be a groomsman in the wedding because he was “too ghetto” (per the bride, who was his sister). But my question still is, what does describing someone as ghetto even mean? The last time I checked, my step-brother and his sister grew up in the same house, so wouldn’t that make them both ghetto? Was it that fact that he wore Jordan’s with a suit to the wedding that made him ghetto? Because one of the groomsmen that I saw at the wedding was so sloppy drunk that the person standing behind him had to hold him up the entire ceremony. Not only was he sloppy drunk, but on his way down the aisle, he knocked over a huge flower arrangement that soaked the entire front half of the aisle runner and caused a slight delay (in a wedding that already started almost two hours late).
So again, I ask, what makes a person ghetto? Is it the fact that during the reception my step-brother called himself trying to order extra food when he thought the seat next to him was empty, but when he realized at dinner that someone was sitting next to him he asked that person to give him 1/2 of their plate because he ordered the food? Is ghetto a person, place, or thing? Or can it be all the above? And furthermore, who can call someone or say something is ghetto? For example, one day I was at work and a newer, Caucasian/ Jewish female co-worker brought a gift for a fellow employee. I guess it was a last-minute gift because upon handing it to the co-worker she made the comment, “Sorry I didn’t have time to wrap this for you. I had to just throw your gift in this brown paper bag and now it looks all GHETTO.” Now, when I heard this exchange I became extremely offended because not only did it happen right in front of my face and this female co-worker was so comfortable using that word in such a clearly derogatory way, but I was also infuriated because I felt that of all people to know a little better, I would have thought the Jewish woman would have been a little more sensitive to that word. If you don’t understand why I was so offended by my Jewish co-worker using the term ghetto, then I have a third definition for you:
(Wikipedia) A ghetto is a part of a city in which members of a minority group live, typically as a result of social, legal, or economic pressure. The term was originally used in Venice to describe the part of the city to which Jews were restricted and segregated but the term has since been applied in various contexts.
So now I ask, what makes a person, place, or thing ghetto? And why does it have to be ghetto? I personally hate that term and can think or 1,000,002 other ways to describe something that is unfortunate. So, can you all do me a favor and try a little harder and not use that word please? Unless you truly are in a ghetto, then Rick James and Donny Hathaway can let you have it.
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