Nowadays the term “Ghetto” is a word that seems to be a word of endearment and not a negative connotation. Before if someone called you ghetto you were ready to fight, now it has been popularized and added to the vocabulary of mainstream culture. The term actually was given to jewish communities during World War II but most people know of ghetto’s to be poor minority communities. In America we use the term as if it is something to be proud of. Those who make it out of these poor communities are proud to have made it out. But how should we feel when people throw the word “Ghetto” around?
The hip-hop community speaks of the ghetto and is definitely partly responsible for the perception of the term as well as the media. You literally have artist who come from families on welfare to making millions of dollars. But these artist still speak about happenings in these poor communities as if they still go through the same things. That is just one issue, the other issue is the fact that the lifestyle they now lead is being celebrated and glamorized. As fans and viewers, what we see are people who came from very little that don’t seem responsible with money or socially aware. And unfortunately, these same artist use the same environment that produced them to be explioted by record companies.
It definitely is a catch 22, on one hand you have those who are from the ghetto, made it out and are not running from their past. On the other, those who grew up in other settings are misinformed about the people and happenings going on in poorer communities. Wealthy minorities have a dilemma, do they stay true to their roots or do they follow what is known of the the high class in America? There is nothing glamorous about living in poor conditions, living pay check to pay check and low quality education. But you would never know that according to athletes, artist and other well off minorities. There seems to be a great disconnect between reality and what we really want people to know.
In conclusion, the word “Ghetto” isn’t negative it is simply describing what we call poor communities. But what is a misrepresentation is the fact that it is put out there like it is something to celebrate. People from the ghetto don’t want to be there and it is not anyone’s ideal situation. Instead of working towards changing these environments for the better we talk as if they are cool. Though back in the days it was a systematic response to keep minorities down and in some cases it still is, those who make it out have a greater responsibility. And more importantly it has to do with perception than anything else.