I enjoyed reading Scott’s It’s Worse, but It’s Also Better and then I was surprised to hear on NPR a piece on how our society is Going Ghetto. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that our culture is going downhill fast which is why it was so refreshing to read Scott’s take that there are some very positive things happening if we will look for them. I think that Amazing Grace is a good example of that.
On the other hand there is much that we accept and even promote which should be decried. That is what the Ghetto Nation is all about. I found it interesting that some people commented on the slightly racist connotations of the word ghetto as a failing of the argument being made. It is unfortunate if that charge of racism serves to dilute the power of the message being sent. Personally I would have used the word grunge – my grandma would have said “slouchy” – but regardless of the term being used, the argument is sound. We are shamelessly promoting some things which we should be rejecting or improving. When we would speak out against them we are told things like:
It seems to me that this demonization of everything ‘ghetto’ is representative of an underlying societal racism, equal to the way jazz and blues were demonized throughout the first half of the 20th century. (Comment by Katherine Ogilvie on the Blog of the Nation post)
While societal racism has no rightful place among us, I think she’s wrong (about ghetto, not about jazz and blues). It is not racist to speak out against something that is bad even if that something is often associated with a particular race. The arguments against all things ghetto are fairly applied regardless of race. The argument and the term are about a mindset which is unhealthy at the least and downright destructive at the worst.