Author Cora Daniels
"That is so ghetto." The phrase has become part of mainstream American parlance — what once was a place is now used to describe a mentality or a behavior.
"Historically, it's been neighborhoods for poor people of color," says author Cora Daniels. "Now I think that it's jumped from noun to adjective. It's become no longer where you live, but how you live."
The first ghettos were European settlements where Jews were confined. The new ghetto is a sort of mental settlement: one of degraded standards, attitudes, and ways of life — at least according to Daniels's book, Ghettonation: A Journey into the Land of Bling and Home of the Shameless. It's a phenomenon that has exploded in popularity and marketability.
Daniels talks about how the concept of ghetto has permeated popular culture, how this mind-set affects communities of color, and what the stakes are for remaining a Ghettonation.