People hear the phrase all the time: in the news, on their favorite crime shows, on the radio and even during everyday conversations. But what makes something 'Ghetto'? By what parameters do we judge an area and determine it as a part of the Ghetto? And what requirements must a Ghetto meet before it can be viewed without the negative word hanging around it's description?
When people think about the Ghetto, they think: cheap, poor, trash, and graffiti. They see homeless people loitering in the streets and unsavory types hiding int he wings, just waiting for a helpless outsider to become their next victim. People hear the word, "Ghetto" and they think: drugs, gangs, and crime.
However, this description of the Ghetto is little more then a caricature. Much in the same way shows like "The Hills" and "The Real Housewives of Orange County" are caricatures of what life in Orange County is like. The Ghetto is more then just a bad dream for those fortunate enough to not have been born there. The Ghetto is character.
The Ghetto is a collection of first generation citizens, immigrants, labor workers, families, churches, schools, small businesses and the entrepreneurs that run them, fast food chains, corner markets, and yes... some graffiti. But is that really a bad thing? Many people see living in the Ghetto as the absolute worst situation to find themselves in. However, to the people that live there... to the first time home buyers, the local shop owners, and the youth [that often get labeled as future criminals the day they're born], it is a community.
A community that is unapologetic about wearing its skeletons on its sleeve. A community of people that struggle everyday and live every night. A community of people that aren't always pretty, but always are. They are both the workers and the users of society. They are the Ghetto. For better or worse