It is not a ghetto, it is ‘THE Ghetto’

Jeremy Carson – Senior, Mechanical Engineering

I don’t know about you, but I am getting pretty damn tired of the wave of political correctness that is sweeping over our campus. Maybe it’s because I’m a fifth year or maybe it’s because I believe in freedom of speech, but I have had it with this push from Housing and Residence Life about ending the use of the terms “Ghetto” and “Dark Side” in our UD vernacular. Now, I fully understand that “the Ghetto” is considerably nicer than what the name implies, but that name speaks to the history of what was, and I will argue that at least part of that heritage still holds.

When our beloved “Ghetto” was first constructed, it was by NCR for the sole purpose of housing as many workers and their families in one area as possible. Now that UD owns the land, “the Ghetto” is still focused on cramming as many students as Housing and Res-Life can fit into it. By the definition provided in most dictionaries, a ghetto is a place where a minority group, in this case, college students, (who make up less than 1 percent of the city’s population), inhabit due to social, legal or economic pressures. The UD “Ghetto” hits two out of the three pressures which, as Meat Loaf will tell you, ain’t bad.

The character of “the Ghetto” is one of rallying behind our community, filled with countless memories of coming of age and living life to the fullest. That collective experience is irrevocably etched into the drywall and plaster of every building in this neighborhood. Sure, over the years siding has been redone and rooftops have been repaired, but the character of the neighborhood has not changed. All those memories are best summed up and most fondly remembered through calling our beloved neighborhood “the Ghetto.” Changing that name cheapens those memories and defiles the character of our community.

Is “the Ghetto” a racial ghetto? No, not by any stretch of the imagination. But “ghetto” is not a word that can be claimed by any one race. Throughout the history of the United States, we have had Polish ghettos, Jewish ghettos, Irish ghettos, African ghettos, Italian ghettos, Puerto Rican ghettos, Chinese ghettos and probably ghettos for any other ethnic group you can think of that settled into an existing city. Each of these ghettos took on the character and flavor of the groups who called that area their home. These ghettos became something the community rallied around, forming Little Italy or Chinatown or some other point of claiming their heritage. The UD “Ghetto” cannot do that. We have no one ethnicity to rally behind. All we can rally behind is our community, behind our “Ghetto,” behind “THE Ghetto.”

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