Thursday, September 21, 2006

Let's bring back the ghettos

The term ghetto usually has negative connotations becuase of its historical origins: a minority group living together due to legal, social, or economic pressure. Of course the Nazis also ruined the use of the word ghetto, but they also are responsible for people being uncomfortable with Wagner. Is that really fair? If Wagner has now been performed in Israel I think we can rehabilate the word ghetto. What we often forget is that the original ghettos offered a level of protection to the minority group. They were with others who had the same ethnic and religious background. They were able to keep alive their cultures including their language. I think of the "Little Canadas" found in New England. It was here that French Canadians lived together preserving their culture. They had their own schools, banks, stores, and churches where French was spoken. It was really an amazing system.

Perhaps it is time that we re-visit the idea of ghettos. If one is living in a ghetto he knows exactly where everyone stands. One would not have to tip-toe around sensitive issues and political correctness would be a thing of the past (for example if you went to the Polish ghetto to buy sausage you wouldn't tell Polish jokes). A downside to the ghetto would be a certain level of stagnation around the exchange of ideas, and it would contribute to certain provincial attitudes, but there is a downside to everything.

Some may call this isolationist thinking, but I call it better living through knowing who your neighbors are.


Blogger Dave said...

Perhaps we could set up large ghettos that would stretch for hundreds or even thousands of miles all bordering each other. Each one could have a distinct form of laws which the inhabitants would adhere to. They could also have sovereignty over there domain as an extra protection from neighboring gehttos.

These super ghettos would be ideal for keeping in large masses of similar cultures, their histories and ways of life. Canadians could have a super gehtto above the US super gehtto, for instance. Each one distinct from the other.

Great idea Erasmus, now get started.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 9:35:00 PM  

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