In the spirit and tradition of Time Magazine, Ghetto Pass features an annual (this being the first) profile on the man, woman, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or worse, has most influenced ghetto events in the preceding year." In paraphrasing the philosopher Thomas Carlyle, a great contributing blogger once wrote that, "the history of the ghetto is but the biography of great negroes." He believed it was the Negroes, the Hispanics, and the Asians who shaped the collective destiny of the 'hood. But in recent years this theory has taken a hit. Indeed as we comb through hundreds of comments and e-mails in response to the curriculum thus far, we've been forced to take a look at the reflection in the Mylar mirror and see that You, Caucasians also help mold the urban netherregions we all know and love. And so this week's Ghetto Pass salutes, You, Caucasians, for playing your part.
Gentrification 2.0 - To be sure, there are many horrible and disturbing things that Caucasians bring to the ghetto: rising rents, the ubiquitous proliferation of "Crack-Rap"(Caucasians/Crackers rapping poorly, whether inadvertent or purposeful), and The Gap come to mind. But a look at the ghetto through a different lens reveals a different vision, one that isn't about painfully awkward rhythm, excessive ghetto lingo-ism, and compromising the reputations of quality emcees via generic mainstream brands. In fact when you look at the welcome spate of iPods, The North Face coats, and outlets for fresh, quality produce, the restless natives of the ghetto have clearly come to realize that Gentrification 2.0 isn't all bad.
The 5 Caucasians You Meet in the Ghetto - We haven't the space to itemize all Caucasians, but here are five types commonly found in the ghetto:
The Black Caucasian - This is the Caucasian that is so adamant and vigilant about their pro-black opinions that you'd think they MUST be black if you had not already seen their pastier-than-paste person in the flesh. Someday they will all rejoice as black folk export them back-to-Africa on 100% genuine mahogany slave ships.
The "Less Cauc More Asian" Caucasian - This is the Caucasian who studied Chinese in college, or heaven forbid, actually did a semester abroad in Hong Kong. They don't do anything without chopsticks, including eating, using the remote control, and sex.
The Hipsturd - The hipster nerd, who only warrants comment on if you plan to defecate on their character. Sans character defacation, they are "Hipsterds."
The Plain Jane & Joe - Fairly self-explanatory: Presumably they make up the morass of caucasians who watch sitcoms on CBS and make "Elfing Yourself" a viral phenomenon.
The Off-White - This caucasian is a little too cooky. Probably a drug addict, in fact, hopefully a drug addict; Off-Whites are quite obviously living in the ghetto to hide from something or someone. Keep an eye on them, they make news happen.
Nine Circles of Gentrifranchise Hell - These are the nine primary franchises that signal the Gentrevolution of your ghetto:
• McDonalds - Always the first to plant the flag. Many have suggested they change the "Golden M" to a "Blackened N," thus far to no avail.
• KFC - Once Mickey D's is in, the chicken chain is not far behind to provide variety.
• Domino's - Once the fast-food chains have their depots set, here comes the pizza delivery.
• Starbucks - The first great threshold of gentrification, a true line of demarcation. Once Starbucks comes, there's no turning back.
• The Gap - Builds on Starbucks. Once there's a coffee shop Caucasians need mock turtlenecks and tepid sweaters to drink them in.
• The Body Shop - And with mock turtlennecks and tepid sweaters you need specialized soaps and oils to rub on and smell good.
• The Multiplex - Caucasian women must have access to the movies. Especially if they can smell good via specialized soaps and oils.
• American Apparel - A dash of faux-trendiness comes after all the mainstream land is paved. Here come the Hipsturds .
• Bed Bath & Beyond - The Final Hurdle. Once you have the BB&B, the Plain Jane & Joes can feel maximum comfort. The transition is complete.
• Did you know that, like roaches, if you see one Caucasian in your Ghetto Chinese Spot, there are probably 10-20 more calling for delivery? Caucasians may spotted individually but typically enter neighborhoods in flocks.
• Did you know at the announcement of a forthcoming BB&B Caucasians have been known to gather around the site to "pour a little latte" out for The Black Caucasians who got shipped out to Africa and couldn't make it?
• Did you know that black males often protest the Gentrifranchise evolution, at least until the Victoria's Secret arrives. Then it's all good, baby.
GTA - Ironically enough, it would seem minorities spatting amongst themselves have given the false impression that harm can come to Caucasians. But rarely is a Caucasian truly threatened. The lack of "clout points" and possible dealings with police mean there's very little upside to beating up whitey.
Slang Check - For all the outdated "fo-shizzles" and "[purposefully non-ghetto statement], yos" Caucasians, gentriwarts and all, have made themselves an endearing component of the ghetto. So here's to you, yo.