Someone decided that making an app designed to help rich (presumably white) people avoid poor (presumably black and brown) neighborhoods was a good idea. Turns out that it isn't.
Welcome to another edition of This Week in Racism. I’ll be ranking news stories on a scale of 1 to RACIST, with “1” being the least racist and “RACIST” being the most racist.
- I’ve decided to give the creators of Ghetto Tracker the benefit of the doubt. Ghetto Tracker, in case you haven't heard of it, is an app that allows people to report on the most frightening neighborhoods in a given city, so users can avoid them. The designers have since scrubbed the word ghetto from their app and renamed it Good Part of Town in an effort to respond to the angered responses they received from pretty much the entire internet—it turns out that people get pissed at you if you make someting that at best is a way for rich people to avoid poor people and at worst a barely coded way for racist whites to tell each other where the dirty brown people are.
Some history: the term ghetto was first used by the citizens of Venice, Italy, as a shorthand for the neighborhood where Jewish people lived. Merriam-Webster describes the origin of the word thusly: “Italian, from Venetian dialect ghèto island where Jews were forced to live, literally, foundry (located on the island), from ghetàr to cast, from Latin jactare to throw.”
Its three definitions of the term are as follows:
1: a quarter of a city in which Jews were formerly required to live
2: a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure
3a: an isolated group ghetto>
3b: a situation that resembles a ghetto especially in conferring inferior status or limiting opportunity
Instead of getting pissy about this, because everyone else already has, let me pitch a new app to you called Suburb Tracker. It tells you where the big-box retailers, tanning salons, McMansions, fake Irish pubs, and golf courses are so you can stay the hell away from it. 5
- Let’s all take a moment to thank our lucky stars that Colorado State Senator Vicki Marble is back in the news. You might recall that she made some rather bizarre remarks about blacks having shorter life expectancies due to their love of barbeque and fried chicken.
On Wednesday, in the spirit of totally mature debate sparked by Marble’s credible scientific critique of black dietary habits, state representative Lori Saine (who is white) left a box of Popeye's fried chicken on her desk all day. She was supposedly overheard saying this was a form of "silent protest" but later claimed it was just her lunch. Continuing the somewhat confusing usage of food as poltical signfiers, she tweeted this yesterday:
I don't know what she meant to say with this, but it has nothing to do with unhealthy eating or Popeye's Look at that meal! First, it's not fried. Second, that's a salad. Popeye's doesn't serve anything green that isn't smothered in mayonnaise or boiled in ham stock. I actually don't believe she ever goes to Popeye's when she's not making political statements until I see her slamming buffalo wings while pouring hot gravy down her pants, a dance better known as the "Dave Schilling" in some circles. 3
- In Eugene, Oregon, someone decided to branch out from posting on the Stormfront forums and put a sign on a freeway overpass that said, “ANTI-RACIST IS A CODE WORD FOR ANTI-WHITE.” It has since been taken down, but not because it’s offensive—spokespeople for the Oregon Department of Transportation say it was removed because it was “distracting to drivers.” I guess being plunged into a deep, dark pit of despair after reading hate speech is pretty “distracting." Congratulations to Eugene for making it to my List of Places to Avoid on my new Suburb Tracker app. RACIST
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