Yesterday a member of our illustrious group defined a ghetto as "a place where white folks can't go, except to buy drugs or black women."
Now, this left me in stunned amazement. My first reaction was to laugh, my second was to help the poor fellow out. Alas, my efforts came to naught. I don't think the author is much for "book larnin'", he immediately lost his mind and deleted my comments. It might have been due to my delivery, I really need to work on that.
In any case, I thought I might flesh out the idea of what a "ghetto" is and was. I'll post links below, I'm typing this out on a different device and find it easier to post links on my phone.
So, what is a ghetto? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a ghetto as the following:
1) a quarter of a city where Jews were formerly required to live,
2) a quarter of a city in which members of minority group live, especially because of social, legal or economic pressure,
3) an isolated group, a situation that resembles a ghetto, especially in conferring inferior status or limiting opportunity. The etymology is Italian, the root is gheto, meaning "foundry." It traces back to the island where Venetians forced Jews to live, originally the island was a foundry for artillery. This somewhat controversial, from what I've read there is disagreement over the root of the word. In any case, the links I will leave will discuss all that. The Venetians forced Jews to live there starting in 1516. The word morphed into "ghetto" and became the standard name for areas where Jews were segregated throughout Europe. Per Merriam-Webster the word became synonymous for any crowded urban area where ethnic or racial groups were confined by poverty or prejudice.
Ghettos spread throughout Western Europe during this period. The situation was somewhat different in Eastern Europe, initially welcomed Jews became part of a persecuted minority but were never forced into ghettos. The Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Prussian Empires restricted Jewish movement, primarily in the "Pale of Settlement" but no formal ghettos were formed. A large percentage of Jews lived in "Shtetles," rural market towns that were primarily Jewish in nature. Jews also lived in large cities but like all minorities at that time they lived in their own areas. In any case, as states formed and Jews became emancipated citizens ghettos died out. Napoleon started the process by eliminating ghettos whenever he conquered a city or state, I believe all ghettos in Europe where eliminated by 1850.
The term began to be used to describe ethnic enclaves in large cities where poverty and overcrowding were epidemic. Just as an example, the Lower East Side (Jewish), East Harlem (Puerto Ricans), Five Points (Italians), etc., were all described as "ghettos" or "slums." The Germans introduced ghettos in occupied Poland and the USSR to park Jews while they figured out what to do with them. The Germans later emptied out those ghettos when they turned to killing their inhabitants.
The term "ghetto" also now refers to pop culture references.
So, no, the word ghetto doesn't mean "places where where white people can't go unless they want drugs or black women."
I'll add links later.