Ghettonation by Cora Daniels
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How often have you used, heard, thought, snickered, whispered (under your breath), shouted (at the radio): “That’s so ghetto”? We live in a society where shows like Pimp My Ride top cable ratings, babymama has become a family term, pimp and ho Halloween costumes are sold in toddler sizes on the internet, and even Martha Stewart proudly boasts to television viewers that she “can get ghetto when she needs to.”

These days, ghetto no longer refers to where you live, but to how you live. It is a mindset. And a mindset is not limited to a class or a race.

Ghetto is found in the heart of the nation’s inner cities as well as the heart of the nation’s most cherished suburbs; among those too young to understand (we hope) and those old enough to know better; in little white houses, and all the way to the White House; in corporate corridors, Ivy League havens, and, of course, Hollywood. More devastating, ghetto is also packaged in the form of music, TV, books, and movies, and then sold around the world. Bottom line: ghetto is contagious, and no one is immune, no matter how much we like to shake our heads at what we think is only happening someplace else more . . .

With Ghettonation, acclaimed journalist and author, Cora Daniels, takes on one of the most explosive issues in our country today in this thoughtful critique of America’s embrace of a ghetto persona that is demeaning to women, devalues education, celebrates the worst African American stereotypes, and contributes to the destruction of civil peace. Her investigation exposes the central role of corporate America in exploiting the idea of ghettoness as a hip cultural idiom, despite its disturbing ramifications, as a means of making money. She showcases Black rappers raised in privileged families who have taken on the ghetto persona and sold millions of albums, and not so Black celebrities such as Paris Hilton, who have adopted ghetto attitudes and styles in pursuit of attention and notoriety. She also gets personal, exploring her own relationship to ghetto and the ways in which she is both part and outside the Ghettonation.

Daniels infuses this serious look at the degradation of American society with the honesty, found in her debut book Black Power Inc., as well as humor—including lists of events and people that deserve placement in the Ghetto Hall of Fame and a short section written entirely in ghetto slang. The result is not only a timely engrossing expose, that will surely trigger much needed debate, but also Ghettonation is a poignant call for action.

“Writer Cora Daniels nails it…The ghetto is us.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Rather brilliantly, what [Daniels] describes as ‘ghetto’ behavior and thought is not color-coded…That such a brave and unflinching book could be written by a black woman in this time is quite inspiring.”

Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News

“Daniels widens the scope in a way that is blunt, personal, and challenging.”

Entertainment Weekly

“Daniels’s is a sobering critique that should be understood by every American.”

Steve Goddard’s History Wire

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