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"Mommy, is 'Ghetto' a bad word?"

"No, baby."

"Am I allowed to say it?

Like can I say 'thats so ghetto'?"

"No, baby."


My first impulse was to launch into a lecture on the sociopolitical implications. I considered issuing a stern "Because I said so" and moving on.

But instead, I told a story:

In the Hilltop Housing Project of Dayton, Ohio people are poor and life is tough.

But at the bottom of the hill, there's a park, and at that park there's a swing and my earliest and most cherished memory is of my mom pushing me in that swing.

She must've been exhausted, having worked a full week of double shifts in the days leading up to that sunny Saturday morning, but she was regal, still.

So, too, was the grandmother of the kids next door. She kept an eye on us all when our young moms were at work and no matter what, she always had just enough change for the ice cream truck when it came around. She'd scoop me up in her arms and buy me the ice cream shaped like a baseball glove with a little gumball in the center and I felt like the most loved child on Earth.

*That's* so ghetto.

Join me in celebrating the breadth of the black experience this month. See the playlist in the comments to get started.

#culture #storytelling

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