That’s So Ghetto

A while ago I was talking to a friend about something irrelevant. He happened to say “Yo Mondz, you is real homie” and I responded the way most people usually respond to that saying, “that's so ghetto” because he was loud and spoke in broken English. See how bo house nigga and coconut just crept in. Sure enough a lesson on what a coconut I was being followed. The rant emphasized the fact that coconut blacks who are educated (read private school model c’s) use the word “ghetto” to refer to other black people who are deemed to be “uncivilised” because they are loud and speak in not so good English, even though most of them are fluent in Zulu, SeSotho etc.

I have always hated being called “ghetto”. The moment I utter my favourite phrase "TSEK" when frustrated or annoyed in any conversation with my friends, they quickly put me in my place, telling me to act like a lady and stop being “so ghetto”. The word is steeped in negative connotations and is used to describe certain behaviour, a certain way of talking by people who are unashamedly and unapologetically black. In this world of self hatred certain ways of being is exclusively reserved for those who reside in the ghetto. In a way it paints townships or the “ghetto” with a homogenous brush often utilised by whiteness to affirm their assertions about black people. Those obsessed with utilising the term are bent on shedding this tag and endearing themselves to whiteness by seeking to be different and thus classifying other blacks as lesser beings in the process. In essence they are saying to whiteness, “yes we are black, but we are not like them”.

Reminds me of a situation where a black friend of a friend, who solely dates white women met his girlfriend’s father after he had gotten her pregnant. Trust a nigga in denial to turn a white girl into a single mother/ baby mama. Ok, I couldn’t resist that one. No truth in that stereotype, just comic relief. White women/people are not special. I digress. So, after what the black oke in the metal band thought was a pleasant meeting, the father sent his daughter a message that read: “he may not speak like a kaffir, behave like a kaffir or smell like a kaffir, but he is still a kaffir”.

Suffice to say that the relationship did not last due to parental “interference”. But the guy still dates white women because “black chicks want money, especially the hot ones”.

That’s So Ghetto continued:

Yes the phrase “that’s so ghetto” is often said in jest, but hearing it is not always pleasant especially if one wants to rid themselves of the second class citizenship that comes with being black in this republic.

But those who deviate and do not play to the gallery of “decentness” are often ridiculed and called names for their imperfect English. One Somizi Mhlongo recently put these misguided blacks in their place after they dissed his English and accent on talent search show, Idols.

You see, so called ghetto people scare the hell out of house niggas. They intimidate them. In fact as guardians of whiteness, house niggas are especially scared of ghetto people. Why are they talking like that? Why are they talking to the white bank teller or white waitress in Zulu. Why do they speak in that accent? Whiteness which has actual power responds to these errant blacks by sidelining them in business just because they don’t speak like Vusi Thembekwayo or might not fit into the “company culture” due to excessive ghettoness. Not only must you speak a foreign language as an Afrikan, but you must speak it in the right tone, the right accent and be familiar with their colloquial turn of phrase and always, always, remember to be non threatening at all times. Be the good black, like Sifo.

I have been a house nigga myself. I have been hiding my inner ghetto self for far too long. I've let my coconut friends influence my true self. Often times in a bid to shed myself of the poverty and the downtrodden character that comes with being black, I have been asking my fluent black friends for their approval. I've been going to them and asking them, “oh black master who acts white, am I a good enough nigga to be part of your coconut circle?” Sometimes my ghettoness would creep out as my well rehearsed accent would forsake me on occasion and I would get embarrassed. They would notice and say nothing, because I was at least trying.

I think W.E.B Dubois referred to this existence as double consciousness.

However those were the old days. I am done! My ghetto self is coming out of the shell. I'm going to be louder than usual, louder than the bawling ladies on Nollywood movies.

There's a sense of calm that comes when you have just unplugged from the main switch of colonialism and realise just how stupid you have been for letting other people influence how you speak, how you act, and what you say. When you no longer care who says what about you. When you decide to cut the puppet strings and torch the master as you become your own master. It's a Godly feeling. I'm going to embrace my ghetto self. Being a house nigga has been rather tiring to say the least.

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