The Life of a Ladybug

live with intention. walk to the edge. listen hard. practice wellness. play with abandon. laugh. choose with no regret. continue to learn. appreciate your friends. do what you love. live as if this is all there is. -mary anne radmacher

Thursday, June 22, 2006

So You Think You Can ... Be Ghetto?

Apparently, not if your name is Aleksandra. Do I really need to go through this again? If you've been a regular reader or if you know me personally, you know how much I detest the use of the word "ghetto" as a descriptor. It's just not necessary. Aleksandra and Jason were supposed to do Old School East Coast hip-hop dance. Why could she not have just said, "I can't do Old School East Coast hip-hop?" Why did she have to say, "I can't dance all ... ghetto ... like them", referring to the three other people in the room, two of which are Black and one who looks to be Hispanic or biracial? I don't care what people say ... when one uses "ghetto" to describe something, one is saying that thing is somehow inferior. 'Cause, if not, then why when something is slapdash or uncouth or whatnot, it's referred to as "ghetto"? In my mind, "ghetto" is akin to "nigger." Folks can say that they're using it with love, but that's bull. No one can call me inferior and tell me they did so with love. It's just like calling me "bitch." You can't call me bitch with love. Bitch is a fighting word and I will be instantly pissed with anyone who uses that word toward me. People don't acknowledge that words have power, an energy that goes along with them. That energy can be either positive and uplifting or negative and degrading. Every time we use such words to refer to ourselves, we are aiding in our own destruction - killing our own spirits with self-hatred and making others think that it's okay to join in the fun. BTW, please don't try to educate me on the history of the word "ghetto." I know that it was originally used to refer to where the Jews were forced to live during the Holocaust, but that's not how it's commonly used now. We all know what we mean when we use the word.


At June 22, 2006 6:11 PM, Anonymous Eve said...

I agree that this term is overused and some people are not thinking about how it sounds. I'm sure I've used it without thinking in the past.

Hey, would you post more? Sheesh! I cannot deal with only 3 posts a day, you are totally ignoring us!

At June 22, 2006 9:39 PM, Blogger Toya said...

I post every time something particularly interesting (at least, to me) comes to mind. The way my mind is always running, I'm surprised I don't post more often.

At June 23, 2006 9:43 AM, Anonymous Mel said...

Anyone who tried to "educate" you on the history of the word "ghetto" would only further SUPPORTS your point! The housing the Jews were forced into during the Holocaust WAS INFERIOR to the homes they left and it WAS INFERIOR treatment to force them to go there! No one can claim that since the word ghetto has been around awhile that it means anything other than what you stated.

I sometimes use the words you mentioned without thinking, but I agree that we shouldn't. We need to take a tip from the Jews and the non-Jewish Germans/Austrians/others personally impacted by the Holocaust. They don't take reminders of that era lightly. Not so long ago, someone tried to open a Hitler musuem in that part of Europe, and they wouldn't have it! So, why are we so nonchalant about terms that are linked to history and to present day issues that are equally destructive to us?

At June 23, 2006 11:54 AM, Blogger Amy said...

I agree that the historical use of the word ghetto is in line with what you are saying - in no way, from that usage to the modern on, is ghetto a word to be used lightly and frivolously.

This reminds me of taking my nephew to task for using gay as a put down. I will not stand for it.


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