By Trina Otero
There is this misconception that “ghettos” are “cool.” There are many misconceptions surrounding the topic and word “ghetto,” like the stereotype and projected belief how a person should be if he [or she] lives or hangs in the under-supported areas. [I refuse to say “underprivileged” and I’ll have to touch on that sometime soon.]
It has become a fad. People of middle and high socioeconomic class dress, talk with certain slang, and act like what is PORTRAYED in poverty-stricken areas, when these people have never lived in Section 8 housing, been homeless, bought over-processed food because it’s the only thing they can afford, had to work as a child to help support the family, worn second-hand clothing, heard gunshots at night, been forced or pressured into a gang, slept on floors, lived without electricity, watched their siblings while their single parent worked long hours, nor endured the shaming from society that comes along with being “poor” [I will definitely be speaking up about the term “poor” too!]. The list goes on….. Those from middle and high socioeconomic class might have grown up with two parents, acquired education well into University and beyond, while most living in under-supported areas have never had these experiences or thought they could be attainable.
There is a misconception that it is cool to act like you come from poverty. It is cool to act “ignorant,” because hey, all “ghetto people are ignorant.” [Please catch onto my sarcasm.] There’s nothing cool about living and being from a “ghetto” – I remember having to observe my surroundings and observe people at all times, making sure our home was locked at night, keeping to myself and minding my own business, staying away from angry and dramatic peers, and I had to exude a tough exterior when around certain folks. I was around some people who did not know how to say the correct verb with certain pronouns, and the natural writer in me had to bite her tongue for fear that they would perceive me as insulting them. When my intentions were only to help. By the way, there are smart people living in the “ghetto” too. I remember eating rice and beans A LOT, because hey, it is part of my culture but also the lack of knowledge about nutrition. I remember staring at certain vegetables like they were aliens when I would eat at friends’ homes. I had never seen them before in my life! And I only lived in an under-supported area for a short amount of time as a teenager and as an adult while in college. Can you imagine what people have experienced when they are there for many years, even a lifetime?
There’s not much love in the ghettos. There’s not much peace. There’s a lot of generated hate, violence, misunderstanding, and jealousy, which all stem from pain and disappointment. From lack of receiving Love. But mainstream music, movies, and television don’t show the reality of areas that are deprived of love, economic stability, and community involvement. It doesn’t show the high level of fear that hangs heavy like a winter coat on a flimsy peg. Instead of showing you the inequality in the world and how we can work to collectively improve it and restore balance, the media sells you an image, labeled as cool, and they’re making a killing – a profit from human ignorance. By tricking out poverty.
Think about that. Please….
This isn’t anything new, folks. I’m singing an old tune.
The beautiful thing of it is…there are people in these under-supported areas putting forth effort into creating awareness about the realities. There are people putting forth effort into restoring community. Restoring humanitarian beliefs. Fighting for justice. But we don’t see much of that in mainstream media either. But who needs mainstream when there’s so many of us? Shouldn’t we be the main stream? That’s why I write…
If you know of organizations geared towards human equality, fighting for the rights of those in poverty, community-rebuilding, etc. please share that info in the comment section so that we can network & spread the info ❤
Learn about the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
Learn about Women in Transition & Poor People’s Academy