My review of Mitchell Duneier’s Ghetto was published this week in Seattle Review of Books.
Duneier’s book traces the history of the “ghetto” from its 16th-century origins as a contained area for Venetian Jews to its post-WWII context as the urban landscape for African-Americans.
But what about the ghetto’s future?
Who will be the next people to ponder the history of the ghetto and say, “Hey, that’s how we live now! We live in a ghetto!”
Some obvious candidates come to mind — displaced persons, economic migrants, climate refugees, and other dystopian masses.
Or, the common practice of cultural appropriation may redefine the term “ghetto” as being chic and exclusive. Fabulous, even. Imagine wealthy people feeling victimized by populist, class-warfare politics embracing the term as a symbol of their separation from the rest of society.
With mass unemployment, infrastructure decay, and the scorching heat, you don’t want to go out.
And with near-instant home delivery, you don’t have to go out.
Coming soon to a rezoned, razed-to-the-ground, and repopulated neighborhood near you.