Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ghetto Nation & Savage Inequalities Period 5 Group 1

Kathleen D5
Kev Tra5
Ronald D5
Ashley S5

Wednesday, November 28th: Blogs on up to chapter 4 due
Wednesday, December 5th: Blogs on the remaining chapters of Ghetto Nation due
Wednesday, December 12th: Blogs on up to chapter 4 of Savage Inequalities due
Wednesday, December 19th: Blogs on the remaining chapters of Savage Inequalities due

21 comments: said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

When I began reading “Ghetto Nation”, I thought it’d just be about the word “ghetto”. I didn’t really think the word ghetto could really expand into our daily lives and habits today.
The narrator first defines ghetto as a state of mind. “it is how you live. It is a mind-set”(pg5 2nd paragraph)
This line alone interested me into the book. Well, not just this line alone, but it made me wonder how “ghetto” could be a mind-set, rather than a word describing a mind-set.
Any lines or passages that interests you guys into the book, or rather, interested you in the book further?

The narrator goes on to a first description of ghetto as an undesirable mind-set or way of living. The narrator goes onto the small story about her husband and her going to Mexico and getting special treatment because they were black and resembled the American football team players that were staying at the same hotel.

At first I found it humorous, but when I analyzed it a little further, the idea of us Americans being treated like stars frustrated me. Many Americans are pessimistic and hate their American way of life while those in foreign countries idol our American lives, live in poverty, and still manage to live optimistically.

Did this passage or any others first create any meaning of ghetto within your own minds?

Ronald d5 said...

Yes I agree Kevin this book is definitely interesting. It is not the average book since Cora Daniels seems to really analyze the word ghetto in as many senses as she can. The thing that really attracts me to this book is another view of the word ghetto. People in their daily lives do not waste their time analyzing a term that has changed and morphed over time. I truly think she does do overkill though.

Well in the story about her husband and her in Mexico did not exactly catch my eye and I’m sorry to say that I don’t exactly see too much humor in it also even though at times it is. I disagree with you in the idea that many Americans are pessimistic about their lives and hate it. I think that most Americans take it for granted and do not make the best of it. We have so many freedoms here in this country that it is very easy to lose track of how good we have it in comparison to other countries. Plenty of people in this country are happy with their lives even though it isn’t exactly the dream and on the other hand there are plenty of people who are not happy with their lives. I think this is because of how fast paced life is over in our country. People in other countries are optimistic and others are pessimistic about their lives and I do not think it has anything to do with living in poverty or not. I think it has more to do with the circumstances of the situations these people are in.

Also I was feeling your quote “it is how you live. It is a mind-set”(pg5 2nd paragraph). It definitely has changed from a cramped home for Jews to a way to describe someone’s life. This also did intrigue me. It is funny how kids are proud today that they are from the ghetto when they know of no background behind it. Ghetto is a mind-set in all of our minds. We all think we have an idea of what is ghetto but who it to say if we really do?

Ronald d5 said...

I’m not sure if anyone caught it but I notice that Cora Daniels does use juxtaposition in her writing well at least in the beginning it is very obvious. As the book escalates it is not so noticeable. “I am ghetto because I’d rather sit on my front stoop than in my backyard. And I consider a plastic shopping bag an acceptable carryall. I am not ghetto. I have a husband instead of a babydaddies. I drive a car that is completely paid off.” (p13) She clearly contradicts herself by saying that she is ghetto and in the very next sentence saying that she is not ghetto. She develops both thoughts parallel to each other for comparison to show that she is and is not ghetto at the same time well this is what I think. Do you guys have any ideas?
“Because ghetto is a state of mind, it is hard to define but easy to recognize.” (p28) This one quote had me really thinking about ghetto. It definitely is easy to recognize since we all can tell when something Is ghetto such as someone breaking their glasses and taping it together again to use it but how would you define it? I can’t really whip up an actually definition for this term. How would you guys define it?

kevin said...

I found what Ronald said to be interesting. “I am not ghetto” is echoed through pages 16 and 17. Ghetto is defined by the narrator as a mind set, and during pages 16 and 17, ghetto describes a mind-set that further integrates oneself into society today without being unique. I mean unique such as the many examples of women given on page 17, “I see Black women, white women, Asian women, Latinas, young women, old women . . . and women masquerading as girls.” My take on ghetto from that chapter leads me to think of ghetto as a word to fit in with society, to not be unique and stand out in the crowd. She tells herself that she isn’t ghetto. This is because she is in the mind-set to criticize those who are ghetto.

In the beginning page 13 the narrator says “I am ghetto” as a clear statement when describing herself as a regular citizen who goes out to buy and eat junk food while watching movies. In this mind-set of a citizen, she is indeed ghetto. She fits into the stereotypical person living in the neighborhood, just trying to relax, and that makes her ghetto.

The ending of the chapter also intrigued me.
“I am ghetto.
I am not ghetto.
I am you. “ (22)

What is this line here for? I felt as if it was directly questioning whether I was ghetto or not. Whether I was unique or just part of the crowd. Is this line here to state that we the readers are ghetto? This line just fascinated me is all.

Kathleen d5 said...

Alright I'm sorry that I'm a little behind on the blogging but I'll make sure that doesn't happen again. Anyway I was reading what you guys and I realize
that I agree with alot of what you said and I disagree about some.
Before reading this book, I had my own definition of what it meant to be ghetto. But after Cora Daniels mention that " ghetto no longer refer to where you live; it is how you live. It is a mind-set"(pg.5), I totally agree. Before ghetto was something and is still something bad but yet people are proud to be ghetto. Because like Daniels say ghetto is about how we live. Part of the reason in my opinon that ghetto has transform to the meaning it has today is because people tried to turn a negative thing into something postivie. Nowadays it is okay to be ghetto fabolous, it is okay to laugh at being ghetto, it is okay to be ghetto and I think that all of that is wrong. What was your defintion of ghetto before you read the book and how has it change?Why do you think that ghetto no longer means where you live but how you live?
"Ghetto is thinking short-term instead of long-term. Today is the most important because tomorrow doesn't matter."(pg.28). In the minds of so many people of this "ghettonation" it is okay to spend unnecessary amount of money on things that we don't need instead of saving the money for something important such as bills. Basically in the mind of this "ghettonation" it is okay to do things that will make you happy today and not worry about whether or not this could affect us in the long-term because there is a chance that tomorrow isn't promise. But the bad thing about this idea is that what-if you are lucky enough to see tomorrow then what. Another thing about this idea is that people have no hope and is aiming low meaning that they have no expectations for themselves. This is bad in my opinon because that mean this "ghettonation" is satisfied with the little accomplishments they make. Being satisfied with the little accomplishments means that you won't strive for the bigger accomplishments which is way more important then the little accomplishments. This also means that people are giving a half-ass job instead of trying their best.What do you think about 50 Cent's idea of taking advantage of today because tomorrow is not promised?Is that a good idea and to what extent?
When Daniels write that “I am ghetto.I am not ghetto.I am you." (pg.22) I think that she contradicts herself on purpose. The reasoning for this is like you said to prove that ghetto is a mind-set. That in some mind-set she is found to be ghetto and in others she is not ghetto. I am you means that you too is not ghetto but at some point could be found to be ghetto. Daniels include the readers when she say I am you to show that you too have these mind-set of ghetto.

Ronald d5 said...

lol welcome to the session Kathleen.

Yes, surely ghetto all holds meaning in all our minds. I think of a ghetto as a mind-set as Cora Daniels claims it to be and also as a type of housing where people are packed together in a small area. This is a popular definition of ghetto across most of the kids I have met. You can walk down a suburban high school and expect to hear something along the lines of “Yo, I’m from the ghetto” and the people who say this expect to gain respect from it and act hard. The ghetto has changed in from a negative word to a positive word in the way it is being used. I definitely agree with you Kathleen on how it has made the positive transition.

Cora Daniels brings up an interesting point about the misconception of the connection between being black and ghetto. “Too often ghetto is used as a substitution for Black… He was wrong, Black and ghetto are not synonymous.” (42) I witness this stuff everyday when people call other people a “black wannabe” or “He’s trying to be black” when they wear baggy clothes, big chains, and etc. I really think that these people do not really analyze what they see too much. They just see that it is popular to those kinds of people on tv and hold it as that it is a common characteristic of those kinds of people. A person can wear baggy clothes just because it is more comfortable or because of the ghetto reason that their parents want them to be able to wear it for a long time and still be called a black wannabe. I just think that this is so common yet no one ever corrects it. You can call it ghetto because it definitely is ghetto, but to call someone as trying to be more black just because being ghetto is associated with darker skinned people is wrong. What are your takes on this?

ashley S5 said...

wow this is an emotional word. this word has a variety of meaings. i think it depends on how the person using the word is protraying it in thier tone of voice. before a person uses the word they should thin k about it's concepts and what they are protraying the word as in thier sentence. Using the word is like using the N- word or any other racial words. People dp take offense to this word. It has become an indenty rather then an enviornment that the jews were forced to live in or the blacks and color people were obligated to be isolated from the envionment of the rich-white americans. it is the way to trap others from accomplishing the American Dream. It is to bring down the self-esteem and faith and hope of those who were segregated in the past history

ashley S5 said...

The first four chapters are intense. Being a African American and Dominican, teenage girl i never took the time to notice that the "White" American society are characterizing Ghetto as being those who are color and are lower class citizens. Now i know i am the richest person but i do have class and respect for myself. I find it interesting that Cora Daniels is staing that if you do not dress or act or talk a certain way then you are not ghetto and if you are not ghetto then you are not concidered Black enough to fit in your own race. How can someone tell me that I'm not black enough. How dare they. just b ecause i don't talk improper and Dress casual rather then Gangster then that doesn't mean I don't acknowledge the fact that I am Black. I am proud to be black. and who are they to say that ALL BLACK PEOPLE should dress and act a specific way. and that white should n ot be Ghetto. Are do you guys feel about that? What is your description of the word Ghetto. Do you think that people should use the word in every daily language?.....

I did find the story of her and her husband in Mexico was automatically assumed that they were associated with the NBA based on her husband pysical traits. that is crazy how people can characterize some based on thier looks. i guess people do judge by their appearance. do you ever catch yourself judge someone based on ther appearance before you get the chance to talk to them and socialize with them? i do admit in judging someone based on thier appearance at times.

Mr. G said...

Ashley, be careful with your pronouns--I think Cora Daniels really wants us to think a little harder about words like "they". I think there is a little more subtlety to her argument than you are giving her credit for.
I think it's dangerous to look at this book strictly in terms of race without missing some larger points or making sweeping assumptions about groups of people.

Mr. G said...

Hello all, you all seem moved and engaged by the book--but I'd like you to compare your posts with the two groups from Period 6. Even tho I tthought they still needed some more, the difference in depth and attention to the text is noticeable.
I recommend you all spend a little more time on this process and try and catch up. I think you are going to have some great discussions if you do so. But as it stands now, you are not up to an acceptable pace.

ashley S5 said...

okay you guys i took mr.g's advice and started to look at the book in different perceptive. At first i thought she was talking about race but now i look at the book as an guidance to the young society of America and a message stating that it's time for us to make a dramatic change in our culture and start making a difference for the next generations. For example did you guys take a look at the cover page? what attracted you to the book and made you to decide to read this book rather then another? What message is she sending out only through the cover page? it consists of uncle Sam being "blinged out" with gold and pointing out t you. What do you guys think this statment represents? How does the title and the cover page reflect one another? Do you guys remember duing our last independent reading project we had to make a book cover then try to sell it, how would you sell this one?.....

Ronald d5 said...

In a way, Ashley I agree to your new perspective on the book. Daniels gives us an open view of ghetto and its many meanings and takes in our urban and not so urban society. She definitely gives us a detailed analysis of the word ghetto but she leaves it to the reader to make the statement that we should change our culture since she does not exactly state anywhere in the text that we should change. Though in her words, she obviously denounces it but at the same time she admits that she is ghetto in an ironically proud way. “It allowed me the pleasure to rant and rave at what did prove to be degrading trash in the comfort of my own bedroom while munching on a damn good samich. (I be ghetto.)” (100) At the same time she is being ghetto yet she is opposing the being ghetto by bashing on the movie Hustle and Flow. She refused to watch the movie because it portrayed a stereotype of black people and ghetto. How pimps would beat their hos. When she saw the preview, she thought “there was no way I was going to increase box office revenue by going to see such degrading trash.” (100) Her actions both point in different directions. By refusing the see the movie she points out that she opposes such items that portray ghetto as glamorous to the public eye but then by buying a bootleg copy of the movie to see how trashy the movie was at home with a “samich” in hand, she is fulfilling one of the stereotypes of what it is to be ghetto. Do you guys have any thoughts on this?

Oh yeah back to the cover. Actually, I never really took a hard look at the cover and I never realized that it was Uncle Sam all blinged up. Now that I do look at it, it does look disgraceful to me. An old man making urban hand gestures and to have the apparel of the urban and ghetto kid seems really awkward yet is oddly attractive. The thing about this cover I like the best is the quote on the bottom. “A journey into the land of bling and the home of the shameless.” (cover) This really sums up the book and is nicely worded. I like how she called our capitalistic society as “the land of the bling.” Everything in America is money. We all work hard for it and the ones with the most land on top of the rest. The glamorous people are all rich and portray this image of bling in one way or another be it nice cars to castles as homes, diamonds, and expensive apparel. Yet on the other end of it is the shameless, the ghetto people of our nation. They do embarrassing things yet feel no shame and actually boast about it proudly. For example, kids will rob candy from stores yet brag to their friends.

If I were to sell this book, I would most likely paint a picture of dilapidated projects and the proud and blinging kids that live there. Those are probably the two things most associated with ghetto. The bling and the projects, is what I think of when I think ghetto. The media with their movies and rap songs have presented those two things to be ghetto the most. This I think would grab a lot of interest with teenage kids which I would definitely recommend to. I think they would benefit most from this book. What about you other people?

ashley S5 said...

wow you did a job i agree with on the qoute of on the cover um.. america really is about the "land of the bling" rather then the land of the free. if you actually think about it, they both colide to make one. In history we learned that people came to america to be free from prejudice and to begin their own way of life rather then to life in the style of the king and queens rules. But now we learn that people come to this country to find new ways to make more money and to gain a better lifestly. Throughout the years the reasons on why people came to America changes based on culture and backgrounds.

Ronald d5 said...

Yes Ashley I agree about the reasons people come to America and how our culture changes with it.
One night stands and flings seem to be popular these days. The media whether it is prime time shows or music artist talking about it in a song seem to all portray that it is cool and popular to do. All through history cheating and quick one night relationships have always been around it has just been given a modern lingo to make it popular and cool again with the newer generations. People take this as a chance to be careless and relax and just go all out for a night and that brings on the concept that it is irresponsible and immature to do such things. “Thus it is the idea situation for someone who does not have the maturity to take on the responsibilities of a real relationship. That’s what makes it ghetto.” (97) Cora Daniels connects this thought with the word ghetto and such that to have one night stands and flings are ghetto. I agree with Daniels in her thoughts about the concept. To consider and carry out such actions are fun but they are reckless and can end up hurting people. Of course it can be seen as a vacation to from the drama of a real relationship but that is a reality of life. Relationships are what actually separates us from the animals and gives us class. With that said one night stands can be seen as basic instinct and primitive which is ghetto. Our society has standards that are more sophisticated than primitive because that gives us a sense of class. Animals are too simple minded to think like we do and commit to such relationships as humans do. Surely, the ghetto flings are easier “But true partnership takes time, relationships involve baggage, and just like life, sometimes it is not always fun.” (97) I think that is a great closing to the point that Daniels makes as it reveals facts about life yet sounds beautiful all at the same time.

Okay guys I’m not waiting no more I’m on to session 2.

ashley S5 said...

so who do you guys blame for the way our society has become? Do you blame the media, the parents, our envionment who? Every one wants to blame another. Many parents want to blame it on the rappers and singers who sing about sex, drugs and "hoes and bitches" but the celebrities want to blame it on the parents who don't teach their kids from what's reality and what's fiction. so i asked myself who is the real blame? so who represents the word Ghetto the most? Blacks, White, Hispanic or the rich or the poor or middle class? Daniels states that Ghetto is not a race it more of a way of life. It can belong to any one. It can be cosidered as a joke ot be taken serious by others. It can be a short cut to accomplish something in a bootlegged way or it can be seen as being success full in being street smart. how ever it is being taken as, i think we all have a little ghetto in all of us. well i started on the new book so i will be moving on now.

ashley S5 said...

so i started reading Come on People and i like it way better than Ghetto Nation! This book has a stronge value to it. Most people thought of Bill Cosby as a betrayal to "His People" due to the concepts of the Bill Cosby Show containing a rich, successful black family. but after reading this book, I wonder what people have to say now?

Ronald d5 said...

I’d like to bring up all of chapter 6 for discussion. This chapter is all about pop urban culture and how the media portrays it with its influence on us, the people. I think Daniels does this to show how the media has changed normal conversations into the hip way to talk about things. “Don’t know yet. Betta be street if he lookin’ at me.” (142) this whole chapter is a dialogue that goes on with the street style of verbal expression with reference to origin of where these quotes come from. This Quote that I have taken is from the song “Soldier” by Destiny’s Child. The songs and media of this ghetto genre hold ideas and phrases that make them seem cool and and “hip” so that us kids willw ant to be like them and pass around their music. With the music though are these ideas of what a real man should be. In the case of Destiny’s Childs song, “Soldier” he should be rough, tough, and in and out of jail. So the vulnerable children of this generation will grab these ideas and run with them as their own ideas and thoughts. Also with the ghetto ideas are the phrases and new words mentioned in the song. “Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ wit no broke niggaz..” (142) is from the song “Gold Digger” from Kanye West. This song had the idea that girls were with men purely to take their money but also with that idea it held a new cathy phrase that catch the eye of the vulnerable younger generation “Gold Digger.” Kid would now run around using this term which made them more popular because they were using a phrase that a celebrity made up. Being a kid I rmember from personal experience where I used to say all these cool phrases with my friends acting as if they made me cooler and in a way they did.

Ronald d5 said...

Achievement is something that I have witnessed that can be tied to race. “By the time I was a senior, when my schedule was filled with nothing but demanding classes, I had virtually no black classmates, even though I was attending a black school. Truth is this gap between white and black achievement… was popping up in schools across the country.” (152-153) If we take percentages of classes with difficulty and races/colors I think something can be said about certain peoples. My honors chemistry and math class last year had a high percentage of Asian kids and every other race seemed to be a minority. Who are we to speak for these individuals and say that they don’t try but statistics show that Asian kids, assumed by me, are a bit more achieving. I don’t mean to offend anyone but don’t you think that it is safe to assume that a lot of Asians have good math skills? I don’t speak for everyone but the majority of Asians at least. Then when we start creeping into the cp level of things, race becomes indifferent. It is just about diverse and even with every race. Subject matter also matters too. I might be stereotypical with the Asians and their good math skills but it does hold true most of the time and I’m very sorry if I offend anyone. When we move on to Technical Education classes we barely even start to see any Asians. I guess you could say every the ethnicity of other peoples will more likely have more physical than mental thought. Asians becomes a minority in these classes. Daniels starts to see this in her classes in how all her black friends that used to be in her AP classes are no longer with her when she gets to the very advanced classes. She was with the white people who seemed to be performing better than the black kids in their school work. If the city or town is a diverse town, I think that this would happen in the school system also. One ethnicity would be more common in some classes more than others. Have any of you guys observed any of this?

Ronald d5 said...

So why is ghetto this mindset we have? Why does it trace back to the Blacks of the 60’s and 70’s? Saint Jill Nelson had an interesting theory of how these things came about.

“Nelson argues that because of her generation went though so much pain in their quest for systematic change, they then turned around and tried to shield their children from any pain. ‘We smothered our kids in material stuff to insulate them from the pain’… White people aware enough to be involved in the movement went back to their tranquil lives, and those blacks who could, entered into the middle class to relish some of that tranquility. ‘… We did not pass on to our kids the struggle that we went through.’” (193)

This is definitely a quote to ponder about. St. Jill’s theory may be right but in my opinion, I don’t think it is the right theory at all. Nelson’s generation did go through a lot of pain because of segregation, and the assassination of many influential leaders. This included Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy. Even though that part is true, I do not think the “We smothered our kids in material stuff to insulate the pain” is very true. If they did do that, why is there so much hate that even today, exists because of that pain; that very pain that causes racism between whites and blacks. Slavery and segregation is the reason that much of today’s black people use to justify their hate on the whites. If we did, like St. Jill said “smoothed our kids in material stuff to insulate the pain” then why are they releasing that pain from all the insulation. Why is there so much racist hate crimes that plague the streets of urban cities? Then the next part I did not get of this theory is the “we did not pass on to our kids the struggle that we went through” part. If they did pass on the struggle that they went through, would the kids understand and extract the right point of things? Or would this create a motive for revenge for this generation of vulnerable kids that could create monsters? What do you people think about this quote?

Mr. G said...

Some interesting ideas, but you vary widely in your attention to the text of the book and the assignment.