Folks in the ghetto always watch the careless: any opportunity to exploit small mistakes gets the observant ahead. The ghetto mindset transmits through an exclusive circle of students. Doctrines of this knowledge—what we call “street smarts”—may not be known by the average white person. Such may be the case because a majority of the white population lives in relatively comfortable environments. A kid growing up in the ghetto cannot believe how loosely his suburban friend’s door swings open. However, due to the placement of prominent universities in the country’s worst ghettoes, white students are finally receiving the knowledge of the ghetto.
Temple University, my university, has introduced white suburbanites to houses caged at every opening, daily police calls to nearby crime scenes, and super-humyn burglaries. A white college buddy of mine told me of the chilling experiences he’s had with North Philly’s finest criminals. Some residents asked my friend’s neighbor if they could use the neighbor’s roof to get into my friend’s house. Unable to make even a small mistake—leaving the box of a big screen tv in the trash—my friend has definitely learned “the streets”.
The ghetto is a world of the disadvantaged compensating for their lack by plotting against the carelessness of another. With the aspiring trend of white students living in the ghetto, I hope that my white peers can perceive the legacy of colonialism and racism. Over the years cities have bred the ghetto mentality in disserting certain racial groups of its labor force. Instead of seeing people of color as irrational monsters, perhaps a white understanding of the logic of this ghetto mentality will lend itself to an accurate representation of the ghetto.
I’m not dismissing the ill actions of my people, yet I believe that the recognition of ghetto reasoning and logic can be an alternative to seeing the ghetto mentality as natural. No doubt the ghetto mentality is merely a set of principles that ensure resources. These resources enable an individual to engineer a standard of living, especially when the individual is systematically disadvantaged.