"I Love the Ghetto"?

While at my favorite “greasy spoon” yesterday, I was thinking about a conversation (if you can call it that) that I had.  So I wrote my thoughts on a napkin and made it into a blog post:

I was with some acquaintances the other day and one person (who would remain nameless even if I COULD remember his name) said, ” I LOVE the ghetto.”  We all just looked at him silently and he said, “Well, I LOVE black people.”  ‘Nuff said, apparently, because that was the extent of the “conversation”.

OK, so you LOVE black people.  You really felt the need to make that an announcement?  Are you implying that WE don’t love black people?  Are you saying that you like them better than you like other ethnic groups?  That’s racist.

And by connecting the two statements are you implying that you love the ghetto BECAUSE you love black people?  Do you not love the black people who live in wealthy areas?  Do you not love the Hispanics in the ghetto?  Or the Vietnamese?  Or the Whites (Sorry, I mean the Pigmentally Challenged)?

And you LOVE the ghetto?  I’m assuming you aren’t talking about this kind of ghetto:



Or this ghetto:

Photo credit: Efflam Mercier

Maybe you’re talking “ghetto” like rapper ghetto. Because those billionaire rapper guys ain’t living in no ghetto. They’re living in mansions in Beverly Hills or something.

Are you just saying you love it because it sounds cool?  It’s a little naive, not to mention ill-conceived, to love the ghetto just because you love black people.
I don’t love the ghetto.  I am scared of the ghetto.  It’s good to have a little healthy fear of a poor, run down, homeless-ridden, gang-infested area.  The people who live there don’t love it.  Sure, they love their family and friends in the area, and may even be a little nostalgic for their home; and what you probably meant was that you love the people in the ghetto; there are beautiful, sweet, wonderful people there.  But a ghetto is, according to that all-knowledgeable and infallible source, Wikipedia, “occupied by a group who live there especially because of social, economic, or legal pressure.”  While we here in America don’t legally force people to live in certain neighborhoods (anymore) many people can’t move out of a certain area, not out of love for the place, but from social or economic pressure.

Maybe I’m being too nit-picky about phraseology.  But I don’t think you do anyone any favors (people in the ghetto and yourself included) when you ignorantly spout all-encompassing statements like, “I love the ghetto.” Because I doubt it’s actually true.



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