Sanitizing the Ghetto

Weekend Worthy


“Ohmygosh, that’s so ghetto.”

We usually refer to something as “ghetto” when we mean to imply that it’s a little rough around the edges, poor, trashy or otherwise beneath us.  I know I’ve used it that way.  But, similar to throwing around the word “Nazi” as a joke to reference someone who is militant or even just a tad controlling, it’s not the best choice if we believe that words matter.


It’s not cool to use the word “nazi” because it’s a weighted word and bears with it untold anguish for a significant number of people.  So, too, with the word ghetto, though most of us don’t know it.  It’s a weighted word, steeped over-long in racist laws & policies, segregated housing, blockbusting and isolating slums.

We’ve forgotten our history, according to Richard Rothstein.  Ghettos didn’t just happen.  We made them.  On purpose.  And now we are reaping some of the fruit of what we ourselves made.  I knew about the racist policies of the Federal Housing Administration back in the 30s, 40s and 50s, but there was a lot in this podcast that I didn’t know.  Check it out — curious to hear what you all think!



Other posts on Race

Misplaced Imagining
Fury in #Ferguson
Can I Get An Amen… from the Awkward White Lady?
A Song Of Lament
The (Not So) Subtle Racism of the Gilmore Girls
White Privilege Awareness Series

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