To Be Or Not To Be…Ghetto?

As you know, I’m a broadcast major. Therefore I’d like to think I’m learning more and more about how the media works. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly encouraging me to continue my journey after graduation. However, I’m still here…

Last week, one of my classmates brought up the word “ghetto” and questioned its meaning. That, of course, sparked a great debate among the class. Another student stated that it’d been transformed from a noun into an adjective. I thought that was a simple and rather accurate statement.

It went from being a place to a personality trait—more specifically for Black people. At least that’s how the media and the general population make it seem. The term seems to only reinforce the negative stereotypes. It’s another reason as to why #BlackLivesMatter is so important to our community.

I rarely hear anyone who’s not of African descent being called ghetto. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I just don’t hear or see it. What I do see is Black people who are perceived to be loud, poorly educated, and have a certain look being called “ghetto.”

When it comes to crime stories or those involving people of color (especially Black people)- the media does a great job of finding those who fit this description. The same thing happened with the Antoine Dodson fiasco. It was funny to watch but also embarrassing in the long run. I felt like he played into the stereotypes subconsciously. My grandparents would always say, “If you knew better- you’d do better.” I believe that wholeheartedly.

I used to think it was a compliment when my non-Black associates would say, “I’m so glad you’re not like those (Black) girls.” I would shamelessly think to myself, I’m glad I’m not like them either…But the funny thing is- I am those girls under certain circumstances. If I’m around my family or friends- I don’t sound like I’m writing a thesis statement. I just don’t. Does that make me ghetto? I don’t think so.

I’ve learned that you need two faces in this world. One face is all about business and that means acting the part. My demeanor and vocabulary need to exude class and intelligence if I want to be taken seriously. On the other hand, my second face needs to be social and relatable. I get to relax around certain people. Those two faces combined are the key to my success.

Weird, I know, but that’s just the way it is in my world.

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