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March 22, 2004

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» GHETTO. from languagehat.com
One strand in this extremely interesting thread at Negro, Please involves the current meaning and proper use of the adjective "ghetto"; since I haven't listened to rap since the heyday of Public Enemy and have otherwise been sadly out of... [Read More]

» "Ghetto" from Dru Blood - I believe in the inherent goodness of all beings.
Jason always has the best discussions on his blog, and I usually miss them because I don't know anything about the pop culture references that spark them. For instance, I never would have read Negro, Please: Back in Black: Hangin'... [Read More]

» What is In the Air from I Speak of Dreams
ruminating on cultural shifts in the 21st century: evidence for new regard for duty, honor, and self-control. [Read More]

» GHETTO. from languagehat.com
One strand in this extremely interesting thread at Negro, Please involves the current meaning and proper use of the adjective "ghetto"; since I haven't listened to rap since the heyday of Public Enemy and have otherwise been sadly out of... [Read More]

Comments

ronn

In the past, I would be thinking like you. However...

I watched part (a teenie tiny part mind you!) of one episode and turned that shit off thinking: THIS IS SO GOT-DAMM GETO!!

Still can't watch A. I.

ronn

Oh yeah, Happy Belated! Hope you're not as old as my early Alzheimer behind.

R.

I am fascinated by the train wreck that is MTB2.

It is pretty horrible, and man, those kids are so ghetto, it reminds me of why it is so difficult for black artists to succeed, sometimes. Of course, these kids need guidance, which they clearly aren't getting. Why isn't P. Diddy setting them up with advisors on etiquette, money management and time management? Sara seems to be the only one with a lick of sense, and while yes, she was a bit whiny about the smoking thing, I don't think its unreasonable for her to be unthrilled about sitting in a small passenger van whilst four of her bandmates smoke. I find the band members to be self-absorbed, short-sighted and completely lacking in sense. They seem to think that anything goes, and what's ironic is that they, as P. Diddy not so eloquently pointed out, ain't shit. A half-million records, in this day and age, is a beginning at best and a piss poor showing at worst.

As an aside, I want someone to hire these kids a fucking hair dresser. For real. And why do they wear so many layers of clothing?

For whatever reason, I can't stop watching the show, because I'm always intrigued by these kinds of shows but it is pretty terrible, in terms of production value. As for it being ghetto, that's one of those things that is ok for "us" to say, but gets dangerous when "they" say it. I think we're allowed that double standard.

ej

I can't watch either one without wanting to scream. But I watch them anyway. I think it's some kind of sadomasochistic thing.

Courtney

I didn't watch the first season of MTB2, but somehow got sucked into the latest train wreck installment. *sigh*

"My voice is touched by God...and I'm not gonna let a muthafucka ruin it!"

Prime

Ya know what.. I see these MTB II kids more as spoiled brats than anything else. But sadly, they are a bit Ghetto. But how you let that girl call them out and not go Dave Chapelle on her ass? * thinks back to the "I Know Black People * skitt and now fully understands...

girlwonder

"Mumbling under my breath…”Cracka.”"

and i can't even fault you because i'm sue at the very moment the "g" word escaped her lips - my body would have tightened up.

for me, i just feel like the g-word always has an assignment to black folks and that irks me because please believe that i know plenty of ghetto white folks.

but you did the right thing, because even if you had attempted to break down social injustices and explain to her why you didn't necessarily like it - she would have been dumbfounded and stupified. plus cracka is fun to say :0)

gwen

My girl keeps referring to things as ghetto. I keep trying to explain how it's inappropriate (girl, you never even *been* in a real ghetto, but I promise I'll take you sightseeing next time we're back east so you can see our neighborhood is comparably a country club) but it's definitely an uphill battle -- all her friends use it and it's epidemic in the media. Ghetto, ghetto, ghetto, everything good or bad is goddamned ghetto. You should hear the food-based ethnicity-aware nicknames they've given each other (the only one I can remember at the moment is Freaky Fudge, but they're all in a similar vein, and now we're going to have to have a talk about just what exactly freaky means because I don't think she really gets that, either). At least the boys seem to have stopped saying fag, fag, fag. *sigh*

garrity

Seems to me that the girl should have been able to say 'that show is really horrible and exploitive and is clearly designed to make white folks feel justified about their shitty racist attitudes' without using a term that can be construed as (if not actually intended as) a kind of participation in said shitty racist attitudes. It isn't all that hard to be clear about what you mean.

I say this never having even seen a commercial for the said show (currently in a no-TV phase in my life). Still. Clear communication is NOT that hard.

echillri

I don't see how "ghetto" is inherently assigned to black folks. Like girlwonder, I've known mad ghetto white people (meaning both their sheer number and the extent of their ghetto-osity) and have always referred to them as such.

Ghetto, at least as I and everyone I know use it, refers to a unpleasantly selfish and materialistic world view that is a product of both poverty and modern hip hop culture. The former has never been an exclusively black thing, and the latter certainly no longer is.

If you want to talk about sticking to the actual meaning of the term, then you've got to recognize it was used for hundreds of years to refer to exclusively Jewish neighborhoods.

Jason

Ahhh, but there's the rub isn't it Garrity?

We weren't talking about the show in that context. At least I know I wasn't and, really, that's probably not what she meant. And the phrase "ghetto" isn't really a "white term" used to convey racism is it? If I had to bet on it, I'd guess that the use of "ghetto" as a slang adjective has black urban pop cultural roots.

There were miscommunicative assumptions made by both of us and I don't think either of us is really in the wrong, here.

It's just intriguing to me how our different life experiences and our skin colors made the conversation weird for me but probably not weird for her.

KB

I always thought it was "Hangin in a chow line" myself...

I watched AI in the beginning but my interest level dropped quicker than William Hung's fame rose. Can't remember the last time I watched MTV.

Traveling across these hardly united states I've learned that "ghetto" is more disassociated with black folks than society lets on. I've been in many ghetto neighborhoods where I was the only spot on the map. I guess it's a state of mind more than anything...

Josh Bozeman

wow. the word "ghetto" is now racist? thats ridiculous. why do so many blacks seem so obsessed with racism? its as if some people think every white person is a raging klan member, just waiting to get them. its as bad as a white person thinking- "every black on the street is out to rob me for crack money- because i know how those blacks love their crack." (both are racist attitudes) there are very few TRUE racist people in this country, yet everything a white person says about a black person is almost always immediately dissected and analyzed- to make sure there was no racism involved. its silly, and it only goes to hurt "relations."

i dont know what word id use to explain the people on the show, but 'moronic' comes to mind.

btw. did i see someone say that black musicians have such a hard time making it? umm, rap is probably the most popular music in the country, and its almost entirely black 'artists.' so, lets not kid ourselves and pretend blacks have a hard time making it in the business, because thats just absurd.

Jason

Mr. Bozeman - Okay. Slow your roll.

Ghetto, the noun, is not a racist term. No one is suggesting it is.

Ghetto, the pejorative adverb or adjective, isn't racist either. Are there words that are, by definition, racist anyway? Isn't it always in how you use them?

And, in this context, it was about the use. And my post suggests as much.

R. said: "it reminds me of why it is so difficult for black artists to succeed, sometimes"

you said: "did i see someone say that black musicians have such a hard time making it?"

She said "sometimes" and she wasn't making a presumption about racism. She was making a presumption about some black artists have no damn sense.

So, why all the hyperbole, Josh?

Josh

i wasnt referring to what you said in the post...i was referring to the comments of a few in the comments here themselves that seem to think the word itself or the use of the word for someone is racist. and, just an attitude among people in general that the word is offensive (ive heard others say that this word and many others themselves are offensive on other sites, articles, etc). just commenting on the perversity of political correctness by some, i guess. not to mention, a common problem lately of many so called black "leaders" trying to speak for entire groups of people, and doing all they can to keep racism alive. the name sharpton comes to mind. a little of the subject, but the discussion here made me think of the bigger picture in regards to that, and racists (be they white, black, brown, red, green, or purple) bug me to no end.

also i wasnt saying that the person who said blacks have a hard time making it in the business was blaming racism, just pointing out that i dont see a problem with blacks making it in the business at all, so the comment didnt make much sense to me.

Josh

oh. btw. speaking of reality tv shows- the best "reality" show ever has to be The Joe Schmo Show on Spike TV. great stuff.

R,

In response to Josh... hip hop is flourishing, but the artists (with a few rare exceptions) are not making the money. They get mere cents on the dollar, for each album they sell, and most of the time, owe their record companies for promotional fees, video shoots, the costs of supporting a tour, that have to be repaid before they can even *think* about receiving a profit.

Educate yourself and don't let all the glitz fool you.

Most of these artists don't really have a pot to piss in. They have no permanent assets, very little in the way of credit, and when they find out their accountant has been robbing them blind (any number of artists) or that they've been overspending (M.C. Hammer, Toni Braxton) they have to sell what few glitzy posessions they do have, just to break even.

Josh Bozeman

no one who sells music for a living has it any better than that. and im going to take a guess and say that most of them do, indeed, have a lot of money. unless the entire cribs show by MTV is a total hoax. i wouldnt say the ones making money are rare exceptions, and theres plenty of evidence that thats not the case.

i could name a hundred rich (and i mean RICH) rappers.

R,

Again, I say, educate thyself.

What you see on MTV Cribs is not reality. Nine times out of ten, those musicians are *leasing* those homes. That means they do not own them. Most of the furniture is also leased. A closet full of clothes does not wealth make.

If by your definition of rich you mean that these musicians have a lot of disposable cash, than you are, perhaps somewhat accurate.

But really, its a facade. Jay-Z, P-Diddy, Master P, those are rappers making money and lots of it. They are wealthy because they have investments; they have collateral companies. They have diversified and understand that being wealthy is more than having some diamonds on your teeth. But your Ying Yang Twins, Da Band, Mister Cheeks, Petey Pablo, Trick Daddy et al. They are no where near rich. They're just really good at making it look like they are.

Josh Bozeman

i used cribs as an example. ive seen clips of it here and there.

a closet full of clothes is wealth to most people.

having two or 3 cars is rich. having the luxury of owning or even leasing a house that is worth hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions is rich.

going out and spending large amounts of money...is rich, even if it doesnt last and you blow it all and are left high and dry in a years time.

not bill gates rich, but rich nonetheless. im gonna have to say there arent many rappers out there making less than $100k a yr, and id say that most of them are making 5 times as much.

sure, the record labels make tons of money, most of the time more of the money- which makes sense...but, in comparison to most americans, most of these rappers are indeed rich by most standards.

lynne

i'm feeling a lot of black bourgeoise up in here. but maybe i'm reading incorrectly.

anyway, those kids do act out. but maybe that's why they were put on television in the first place. it's like on the news, when they go into the black neighborhood to report on something, and they always pick someone who can't complete a sentence to ask questions of. it's that kind of putting a lock on the stereotypes to keep folks in their place or in check.

oddly enough, i can stomach MTBII. b/c there are a lot of kids like that out there. kids with limited education and a dream of being a rapper. this show is just exploiting that.

ok...off my soap box now...

when i read the title of this post, i was cracking up, b/c chappelle's "I Know Black People," was hysterical.

Ms. Boombastic

This is my second attempt to post, so hopefully you don't get a duplicate.

I tend to avoid using the word ghetto to describe something, not because I think it will be construed as racist (although I can definitely see where you were coming from in the situation you described), but because I tend to associate the ghetto with poverty. I've always been pretty sensitive about making fun of something or someone because of class issues. I still remember the first time I realized that being poor was something to be ashamed about when I moved to a place where kids on the playground made fun of other kids by saying things about them being on foodstamps or that they, "got their coat from J.J. Giveaway."

I do enjoy watching Making the Band, and I never really thought of the kids as "ghetto." I enjoy the show because of the reason I enjoy any reality TV show--the people act foolish, but they are likable at the same time.

I'm white and female, by the way.

thebrotherlove is 2 good

Wow. Am I missing out on all the fun?

aries325

Me myself personally I can't say I luv da show but it don't suck. But yeah they really r spoiled brats. But da worse is Choppa. And Sara needs 2 get off da diva trip b/c yeah she has skillz but she acts as if shes da hottest songtress out there right now. I kno 13 year old kids at my middle skool (yeah I said 13 & middle skool)who can match her n singing. Even me myself can match Ms.Stokes. And hopefully when I get older, like Da Band I can have every 1 knowing my name & cause pandemonium all over malls and hotels. But yeah yall keep ^ wit da good job & don't take it for advantage usin all yall money on bling and throwbacks. Because 1 day it'll all be gone.U should use it 2 donate 2 something that benifits kids. Like the music programs at skoolz. B/c I think if SMS (Southern Middle School, in Roxboro,NC, where I attend) Had a good music program that could really get us kids interested more besides the band us kids like me & my friends could really sho off our talents & 1 day get discovered by P.Diddy like the infamous Da Band. But wait right now I'm 13 but in bout 5 yrs. I'll B comin at ya cuz right now I'm focused on skool.

dis mofo

you know a rose by another name is still a rose, wether they are black or white they " the little kids on the show" are still GHETTO they have no talent. some people just hate to admit that there fellow ethnic and racial conterparts are GHETTO!!!
in america we have Ghetto , white trailer park trash, sluts , hoes hey it's life...what do you go not leaving your state cuase u on parole? what do you call smoking weed on Tv ?
these kids are typical and they ain't selling not one album.

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