By Gabe Mulcaire
Staff Writer–The Santa Rosan
Every year, SRHS seniors put on baggy pants and gold chains and head off to homecoming. This unquestioned phenomenon is called “ghetto fab,” and pretty much all the seniors seem to take part. It doesn’t seem to have an official definition, but it’s pretty self-explanatory, right? Dress like you’re from the ghetto, and be fab.
If it seems like harmless fun, that’s probably because you haven’t thought it through. No one talks about what “ghetto fab” specifically means, or who everyone’s really imitating when they dress up. That’s because if you say it outright, it’s uncomfortable, and no one wants to face it. A ghetto is a part of a city where a minority group lives. Originally, the term was used to describe sections of European cities where Jews were forced or pressured to live; in modern America, it is most commonly used to describe sections of cities that are inhabited by a racial minority, and plagued by poverty.
The realities of ghetto fab don’t exactly reflect these definitions. The things people wear sagging pants, gold chains, grills are mostly exaggerated or stereotyped elements of African-American culture.
I understand that it’s probably fun to dress up so outrageously, regardless of the politics behind it. I understand that ghetto fab might not be offensive to everyone. But the thought of a group of teenagers, many of whom are white and well-off, reveling in these stereotypes is at the very least uncomfortable.
What’s most concerning is the lack of thought from anyone involved. If we called it “dress like a minority dance” or “poverty chic homecoming,” people would have issues. But we ever-so-thinly veil it with “ghetto fab,” and no one bats an eye.
It shouldn’t be this easy to hide problems in our society, especially when it’s specific to our school. Regardless of your views on ghetto fab, it’s important to consider the implications of your actions even if no one else does.