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Ghetto

Ghetto

GHETTOS IN THE UNITED STATES

CONDITIONS IN GHETTOS

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Social scientists have long studied the effects of economic, political, and social inequality on lives, attitudes, and behavior. Central issues in this research include how and why societies tend to treat certain groups negatively, how such groups respond to such conditions, and whether and how society should address the historic and contemporary social problems that result. The history of ghettos provides an exemplar of the effects and implications of differential treatment of minority groups in society.

The term ghetto has been historically used to describe legally sanctioned segregated areas occupied by ethnic minorities. Although some writers contend that the first ghettos were created to segregate Jews during the Roman Empire between the first and fourth century CE, the term is most commonly used to describe segregated Jewish sections in Italy, Germany, and Portugal in the 1200s. The translation of the term ghetto originally referred to the Venice Ghetto in the 1300s and areas of town that were originally iron foundries or gettos before being converted to secluded Jewish sections. The term is also translated gated to characterize residentially isolated neighborhoods that existed in Venice and parts of northern Italy until as late as the 1600s. Other derivatives of the term refer to a small neighborhood (Italian, borghetto ) or a bill of divorce (Hebrew, get ). As suggested by these translations, it was illegal for non-Jews to live in ghettos and Jews were prohibited from leaving. To impose these sanctions, the gates of this section of the town were locked at night.

Roman ghettos were created in the mid-1500s via a decree by Pope Paul IV (14761559) and lasted until the Papal States were overthrown by Italy in 1870. Roman ghettos were used to separate Jews from Christians, but also enabled the Jewish community to maintain its religious and cultural practices and avoid assimilation. Other Jewish ghettos were located in Prague, Frankfurt, and Mainz. Although legal restrictions were no longer imposed in Europe during the 1800s, many ghettos continued to exist based on cultural or religious dictates. Most European ghettos were destroyed in the nineteenth century following the French Revolution. However, the rise of Adolf Hitler (18891945) in Nazi Germany in the twentieth century saw the return of Jewish ghettos in eastern European cities. Other international ghettos include the predominately black area of Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa; KwaMashu in Durban, South Africa; and ghettos in the United States in South Central Los Angeles, sections of Chicago, and rust-belt cities such as Flint, Michigan.

GHETTOS IN THE UNITED STATES

Ghettos in the United States are generally defined as poor inner-city areas where a disproportionate percentage of ethnic minorities reside. Although African Americans are generally associated with ghettos, Hispanics and whites also live in them. Ghetto neighborhoods are also defined as census tracts where 40 percent or more of residents, regardless of their race or ethnicity, are poor. The latter definition is widely used for comparative purposes in quantitative urban sociological research. Although ghetto residents tend to be ethnic minorities, it is important to note that neighborhoods where a large number of ethnic minorities reside are not necessarily ghettos. For example, prior to deindustrialization, many African Americans were segregated in northern communities such as Chicagos Bronzeville. Although the area was predominately African American, it was also the place of residence for relatively affluent African American families and businesses. Furthermore, economically stable ethnic enclaves such as Chinatowns and Germantowns exist in many cities across the United States.

The distinguishing factor that generally constitutes a ghetto is the prevalence of poverty. Ghettos are also often distinguished from other racially or ethnically homogeneous communities (for example, a predominately white or black suburban area) because of the inability of many residents to relocate from ghettoseven if they desire to do so. Poverty among many U.S. ghetto residents makes it difficult to out-migrate. The involuntary nature of ghetto areas often reflects constrained residential choices less evident in non-ghetto locales. Thus, as compared to historic ghettos that were formed due to direct or indirect racial or ethnic coercion and isolation, contemporary U.S. ghettos generally reflect class-based formation and the resulting isolation.

U.S. ghettos developed as a result of dramatic postindustrial economic, political, and social changes. Several urban migrations during the early and mid-twentieth century resulted in the exodus of many African Americans to such northern states as Illinois, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in search of employment and to escape segregation and discrimination in the rural South. During the same period, persons of Hispanic descent migrated from Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central and South America to New York, Miami, and Chicago for similar reasons. Cities provided industrious, less-educated persons with manufacturing jobs to earn a family wage.

After World War II (19391945), globalization and deindustrialization resulted in significant international and national economic restructuring. The United States responded to increased international economic competition by spurring technological advances and relocating industrial enterprises abroad and to the suburbs to increase profits. Increased efficiency and fewer manufacturing positions unduly affected residents in northern citiesespecially ethnic minorities. From about 1967 to 1987, cities such as New York, Chicago, and Detroit lost more than 50 percent of their manufacturing jobs. By the late 1900s, many persons who had been gainfully employed in northern industrial cites became unemployed or underemployed or were forced to work in service occupations for substantially lower wages and reduced benefits.

The dramatic decline in manufacturing jobs affected a disproportionate percentage of African Americans and Hispanics. The out-migration of manufacturing firms coupled with an exodus of middle-class families and other businesses from cities to suburbs and abroad left many inner cities economically devastated. Economic restructuring coupled with the effects of poorly underserviced infrastructures, inadequate housing to accommodate a growing urban populace, group conflict and competition over limited jobs and space, the inability for many residents to compete for new technology-based jobs, and tensions between the public and private sectors led to the formation and growth of U.S. ghettos. Furthermore, housing discrimination in the form of redlining by lending institutions, discriminatory practices by realtors, and the development of large housing projects resulted in densely populated urban locales of primarily poor ethnic minorities. Economic challenges were exacerbated by the effects of historic and contemporary classism, segregation, and racism. The cumulative effects of these systemic forces contributed to the existence and prevalence of concentrated urban poverty in many U.S. ghettos.

CONDITIONS IN GHETTOS

Ghettos were historically developed to physically isolate a group with clearly identifiable physical features and cultural markers. Contemporary U.S. ghettos have had similar effects on many African American and Hispanic residents. Whether the result of legal sanctions or due to societal norms and values, physical isolation in ghettos usually results in social, political, and economic isolation. Such separation also directly or indirectly conveys superior status and privilege on majority group members and, by default, inferior status and privilege on the segregated group.

Although the Venice Ghetto was actually a relatively wealthy section of town where moneylenders and merchants resided, overall, conditions in ghettos were and continue to be negative. Jews could maintain their cultural and religious practices, but a segregated existence meant political and social isolation from the larger society. Because Jews could not purchase land outside the ghetto, population increases resulted in overcrowded conditions and infrastructure problems characterized by narrow streets and tall houses. Jews were allowed to organize and maintain their own political system within the ghetto. However, they often needed official passes to travel outside the ghetto walls.

The Warsaw Ghetto of Nazi Germany housed almost 400,000 Jews and was the largest and possibly most notorious ghetto. These ghettos were walled off, and Jews were shot if they attempted to escape. Other horrific conditions included extreme overcrowding, limited food supplies rationed by the Nazis, poor sanitation, starvation, and disease. Jews who survived these circumstances were forced to contend with the ever-present threat of death or deportation to concentration camps. In 1942 systematic efforts were implemented to deport Jews from ghettos around Europe to eastern ghettos or to concentration camps such as Treblinka in Poland. Historians suggest that various direct and indirect ghetto uprisings broke out, but the majority of residents in the ghettos of Nazi Germany were killed.

Contemporary ghettos are generally characterized by neighborhood and household poverty, social isolation, segregation, discrimination, overcrowding, increased crime, neighborhood disinvestment, and political disempowerment. Ghetto residents are more likely to live in substandard housing, frequent understaffed hospitals and healthcare providers, and have limited access to gainful employment. Businesses such as grocery stores, banks, retailers, and other institutions needed to complete the daily round are also limited and often overpriced or underserviced as compared to their suburban counterparts. Children who reside in ghetto areas tend to attend ill-equipped schools and must often learn at an early age to negotiate potentially crime-ridden neighborhoods. Research also suggests that the life chances of many ghetto residents are constrained largely because their place of residence isolates them from important resources needed to locate gainful employment, establish informational networks, and interact consistently in the larger society. Political disenfranchisement in ghettos is usually a result of isolation by predominately white state-run governments from predominately ethnic minority residents in ghetto spaces. Although studies show that most ghetto residents subscribe to mainstream values and goals, limited opportunities and resources often constrain their chances to realize them.

Urban renewal efforts are underway in many innercity ghettoswith varied results. In some instances, renewal has resulted in refurbished neighborhoods, increased tax bases, and strengthened infrastructures. Supporters of urban renewal efforts point to the in-migration of young professionals as an important factor in revitalizing ghettos. However, detractors suggest that gentrification benefits persons who in-migrate and are able to use their greater discretionary income to take advantage of depressed housing markets at the expense of existing, poor ethnic minorities who are often forced out of their homes because they cannot afford to live in the newly renovated, higher-taxed neighborhoods.

Research is inconclusive regarding exactly how to characterize experiences in contemporary ghettos. The prevailing economic, political, and social disenfranchisement does not suggest a positive portrait of life. However, studies attest to the adaptive, resilient nature of many residents that belie the harsh reality of their experiences. A comprehensive discourse on the effects and implications of ghetto life and needed interventions should consider the challenges associated with ghetto living, the strengths of persons who live in ghettos, and the role the larger society should play to improve ghetto conditions.

SEE ALSO Cities; Neighborhoods; Shtetl

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Barnes, Sandra L. 2002. Achievement or Ascription Ideology? An Analysis of Attitudes about Future Success for Residents in Poor Urban Neighborhoods. Sociological Focus 35 (2): 207225.

Barnes, Sandra L. 2005. The Cost of Being Poor: A Comparative Study of Life in Poor Urban Neighborhoods in Gary, Indiana. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Billingsley, Andrew. 1992. Climbing Jacobs Ladder: The Enduring Legacy of African-American Families. New York: Touchstone.

Chadwick, Owen. 1998. A History of the Popes, 18301914. New York: Oxford University Press.

Einwohner, Rachel. 2003. Opportunity, Honor, and Action in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. American Journal of Sociology 3: 650675.

Massey, Douglas S., and Nancy A. Denton. 1993. American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wilson, William Julius. 1996. When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New York: Knopf.

Sandra L. Barnes

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Ghetto

GHETTO.

The name of a district in sixteenth-century Venice where Jews were required to live, ghetto came to be the name for any segregated Jewish quarter. The name was applied (1) to compulsorily segregated Jewish residential districts in Europe between 1516 and 1870; (2) to urban areas of first settlement of Jewish immigrants and their distinctive culture after about 1880; and (3) from 1940 to 1944, to rigidly segregated districts in German-occupied European cities where the occupiers imprisoned Jews before methodically murdering them.

As a striking historical example of recurring policies of marginalization and demonization, ghetto was also applied to phenomena of Western history unconnected with Jews. In the nineteenth century, the term came to refer to (1) urban concentrations of distinctive businesses, classes, and ethnic groups. In the twentieth century in the United States, the term was applied to ethnic neighborhoods, particularly to (2) black neighborhoods in northern cities. Other urban areas have been called "the hippie ghetto," "Pakistani ghettos in the (English) midlands," and "the golden ghetto." Before the Enlightenment, mention of the ghetto was meant to arouse revulsion at the inhabitants; afterward, its mention could also be meant to evoke indignation at the infliction of shame and suffering.

Jewish Urban Quarters before the Ghetto

Diaspora Jews in late antiquity and the European Middle Ages lived together voluntarily, for security and communal convenience, in urban neighborhoods that were called Judengasse, in German-speaking countries; giudecca, Judaica, juiverie, carrière, or judería in Romance-speaking countries; and, in Muslim countries, equivalents of Harat-al-Yahud, "the Jewish quarter." Besides these voluntary Jewish enclaves, in which non-Jews also lived, medieval governments occasionally attracted Jews to settle in undeveloped regions by reserving special areas for them. These voluntary Jewish districts were usually walled and gated.

A different form of restricted residence that affected millions of Jews was the Russian Pale of Settlement, covering four hundred thousand square miles between the Baltic and Black seas, defined in 1791 and abolished after the 1917 revolution. Between 1772 and 1795, Russia, which had no Jews, annexed Polish territory with a large Jewish population. It restricted Jewish residence to some of the annexed territory, which Czar Nicholas I (reigned 18351855) gave the name "Pale of Settlement." In the course of the nineteenth century, Jews, who were a minority in these territories, were expelled from villages and compelled to live in towns and cities, and were limited to certain occupations. These regulations, which by 1897 applied to nearly five million Jews, became onerous at a time when restrictions on other population groups were relaxed. Pauperization, legal restrictions, and hostility in the pale provoked mass Jewish emigration, which flowed to the ghettos in other countries.

Establishment of Ghettos

To control heresy, the Roman Catholic Church tried at times to separate Jews from Christians. Separation became a widespread policy from 1300 to 1600, when England, France, Spain, and Portugal expelled Jews, and many German and Italian cities enacted strict controls on those who were allowed to remain. Venice first permitted Jews to residence in 1513 and in 1516 required them to settle in the ghetto nuovo, the "new foundry" district, which it encouraged Christians to leave. The city later allowed Jewish settlement in other districts, the ghetto vecchio and the nuovissimo ghetto.

In 1555, as part of Counter-Reformation policy, Pope Paul IV (reigned 15551559) restricted Jewish residence in papal territories to segregated quarters, which by 1562 were called "ghettos." Through the eighteenth century they were established in western and central Europe. "Ghetto" conventionally evoked a forbidding image of impoverished Jews who lived locked behind walls from dusk to dawn in crowded, narrow streets, under their own authorities. During the French revolutionary wars, Napoleon Bonaparte (17691821) abolished ghettos and granted citizenship to Jews; this became permanent during the nineteenth century. The last ghetto, in Rome, was abolished in 1870.

Ghetto as Metaphor for Slum

The image of the ghetto was applied to a variety of situations. The Oxford English Dictionary records ghetto as referring in 1887 to a neighborhood of book dealers. In 1903, Jack London compared the ghetto to the misery of slums inflicted on workersonly a small percentage of them Jewsby the unrestrained operation of laissez-faire economics:

At one time the nations of Europe confined the undesirable Jews in city ghettos. But today the dominant economic class, by less arbitrary but nonetheless rigorous methods, has confined the undesirable yet necessary workers into ghettos of remarkable meanness and vastness. East London is such a ghetto, where the rich and the powerful do not dwell, and the traveler cometh not, and where two million workers swarm, procreate, and die.

The areas of first settlement by the mass immigration of Russian and Polish Jews to the United States, between 1880 and 1924, were called ghettos. Some earlier settlers considered these immigrantslike those from Italy, Poland, Scandinavia, and Asiathreats to American morality, hygiene, economics, and race. The immigrant "ghetto slums" lasted for a generation or two, until most inhabitants moved away or became invisible by learning English and adopting the manners and clothing of the country.

Black Ghettos

Large numbers of black Americans in search of economic and social opportunities also arrived in northern cities in waves of internal migration during World War I, World War II, and the 1950s. They often first settled in immigrant neighborhoods, and the terms ghetto and slum came to refer to visible poor black neighborhoods that did not disappear through assimilation. Sociologist Kenneth Clark wrote:

America has contributed to the concept of the ghetto the restriction of persons to a special area and the limiting of their freedom of choice on the basis of skin color. The dark ghetto's invisible walls have been erected by the white society, by those who have power, both to confine those who have no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness. The objective dimensions of the American urban ghettoes are overcrowded and deteriorated housing, high infant mortality, crime, and disease. The subjective dimensions are resentment, hostility, despair, apathy, self-depreciation, and its ironic companion, compensatory grandiose behavior.

Many social scientists later discarded the ghetto metaphor because it carried misleading expectations that the underclass in the inner city would also disappear automatically.

Nazi Ghettos

Between 1939 and 1944, Nazi racial ideology was put into operation in German-occupied Europe. The occupiers separated Jews from other subject peoples and imprisoned them in more than one thousand ghettos, which the Germans did not consistently give that name. The Germans ruled through governing councils that they selected. The occupiers allowed disease to spread widely and imposed both substarvation rations and the death penalty for smuggling food.

Hans Frank, chief of the Generalgouvernement of Poland, summarized the policy in August 1942 when he stated that if the Jews did not die of starvation, other measures would need to be taken. The Germans liquidated all the ghettos, and sent the survivors to extermination camps. Under these conditions, the Jews' attempts to preserve normal communal life and to demonstrate their productivity qualify as resistance, but the desperate armed uprising by the last inhabitants of the ghetto in Warsaw, in April and May 1943, added an unprecedented association to the term ghetto.

See also Anti-Semitism ; Ethnicity and Race ; Genocide ; Resistance ; Segregation .

bibliography

Clark, Kenneth B. Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power. New York, Evanston, Ill., and London: Harper and Row, 1965.

"Ghettos." In The Holocaust Encyclopedia, edited by Walter Laqueur, 259265. New Haven, Conn., and London: Yale University Press, 2001.

Gutman, Yisrael. The Jews of Warsaw, 19391943: Ghetto, Underground, Revolt. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982.

London, Jack. The People of the Abyss. London and Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press, 2001. Originally published in 1903.

Ravid, Benjamin C. I. "From Geographical Realia to Historio-graphical Symbol: The Odyssey of the Word Ghetto." In Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, edited by David B. Ruderman, 373385. New York: New York University Press, 1992.

Slutsky, Yehuda. "Pale of Settlement." In Encyclopedia Judaica, columns 2428. Jerusalem: Encyclopedia Judaica, 1971.

Ward, David. Poverty, Ethnicity, and the American City, 18401925: Changing Conceptions of the Slum and the Ghetto. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Wirth, Louis. The Ghetto. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1998. Originally published in 1928.

Arthur M. Lesley

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Ghetto

GHETTO

GHETTO. From their earliest days in the Diaspora, Jews chose voluntarily to live close together, reflecting a practice commonly adopted by groups dwelling in foreign lands. Their quarters, often referred to as the Jewish quarter or street, initially were almost never compulsory, and they continued to have contacts on all levels with their Christian neighbors. However, the Catholic church looked askance at such relationships, and in 1179 the Third Lateran Council stipulated that Christians should not dwell together with Jews. This vague policy statement had to be translated into legislation by the secular authorities, and only infrequently in the Middle Ages were laws enacted confining Jews to compulsory, segregated, and enclosed quarters. The few such Jewish quarters then established, such as that of Frankfurt, were never called ghettos, since that term originated in Venice and became associated with the Jews only in the sixteenth century.

THE GHETTO OF VENICE

In 1516, as a compromise between allowing Jews to live anywhere they wished in Venice and expelling them, the Venetian government required them to dwell on the island known as the Ghetto Nuovo (the New Ghetto), which was walled up with only two gates that were locked from sunset to sunrise. Then, when in 1541 visiting Ottoman Jewish merchants complained that they did not have enough room in the ghetto, the government ordered twenty dwellings located across a small canal walled up, joined by a footbridge to the Ghetto Nuovo, and assigned to them. This area was already known as the Ghetto Vecchio (the Old Ghetto), thereby strengthening the association between Jews and the word "ghetto."

Clearly, the word "ghetto" is of Venetian rather than of Jewish origin, as sometimes conjectured. The Ghetto Vecchio had been the original site of the municipal copper foundry, called "ghetto" from the Italian verb gettare, 'to pour or to cast', while the island across from it, on which waste products had been dumped, became known as il terreno del ghetto, 'the terrain of the ghetto', and eventually the Ghetto Nuovo.

Although compulsory, segregated, and enclosed Jewish quarters had existed in a few places prior to 1516, since the term "ghetto" had never been applied to them before 1516, the oft-encountered statement that the first ghetto was established in Venice in 1516 is correct in a technical linguistic sense but very misleading in a wider context, while to apply the term "ghetto" to an area prior to 1516 would be anachronistic. The most precise formulation is that the compulsory segregated and enclosed Jewish quarter received the designation "ghetto" as a result of developments in Venice in 1516.

THE SPREAD OF THE GHETTO

The word "ghetto" did not long remain confined to the city of Venice. In 1555, Pope Paul IV issued his restrictive bull, Cum Nimis Absurdum. Its first paragraph provided that the Jews of the Papal States were to live together on a single street, or should it not suffice, then on as many adjacent ones as necessary, with only one entrance and exit. Accordingly, the Jews of Rome were moved into a new compulsory, segregated, enclosed quarter, which apparently was first called a ghetto seven years later. Influenced by the papal example, local Italian authorities established special compulsory quarters for the Jews in most places in which they were allowed to reside. Following the Venetian nomenclature, these new residential areas were called "ghetto" in the legislation that established them.

In later years, the Venetian origin of the word "ghetto" in connection with the foundry came to be forgotten, as it was used exclusively in its secondary meaning as referring to compulsory, segregated, and enclosed Jewish quarters and then in a looser sense to refer to any area densely populated by Jews, even if they had freedom of residence and lived in the same districts as Christians.

Although the segregated, compulsory, and enclosed ghettos were abolished under the influence of the ideals of the French Revolution and European liberalism (as in Venice, 1797; Frankfurt, 1811; and Rome, where the gates and walls were removed in 1848 although the Jews were basically confined to that area until the city became a part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1870), the word "ghetto" lived on as the general designation for areas densely inhabited by members of minority groups, almost always for socioeconomic reasons rather than for legal ones, as had been the case with the initial Jewish ghetto.

AMBIGUOUS USAGE OF THE WORD "GHETTO"

It must be noted that the varied uses of the word "ghetto" have created a blurring of the Jewish historical experience, especially when employed loosely in phrases such as "the age of the ghetto," "out of the ghetto," and "ghetto mentality." Actually, the word can be used in its original sense of a compulsory, segregated, and enclosed Jewish quarter only in connection with the Jewish experience in Italy and a few places in the Germanic lands, and not at all with that in Poland-Russia. If it is to be used in its original sense in connection with Eastern Europe, then it must be asserted that the age of the ghetto arrived there only after the Nazi invasions of World War II. However, there was a basic difference: unlike ghettos of earlier days, which were designed to provide Jews with clearly defined permanent space in Christian society, twentieth-century ghettos constituted merely temporary stages on the planned road to total liquidation.

Finally, to a great extent because of the negative connotations of the word "ghetto," the nature of Jewish life in the ghetto is often misunderstood. The establishment of ghettos did not lead to the breaking off of Jewish contacts with the outside world on any level. Additionally, from the internal Jewish perspective many evaluations of the ghetto's alleged impact upon the life of the Jews and their mentality require substantial revision. In general, the decisive element determining the nature of Jewish life was not so much whether or not Jews were required to live in a ghetto, but rather the nature of the surrounding environment and whether it constituted an attractive stimulus to Jewish thought and offered a desirable supplement to traditional Jewish genres of intellectual activity. In all places, Jewish life must be examined in the context of the external environment, and developments, especially those subjectively evaluated as undesirable, should not be attributed solely to the alleged impact of the ghetto.

See also Jews and Judaism ; Jews, Attitudes toward ; Jews, Expulsion of (Spain; Portugal) ; Venice .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bonfil, Robert. Jewish Life in Renaissance Italy. Translated by Anthony Oldcorn. Berkeley, 1994.

Calabi, Donatella. "Les quartiers Juifs en Italie entre 15e et 17e siècle. Quelques hypotheses de travail." Annales 52 (1997) 4: 777797.

Ravid, Benjamin. "From Geographic Realia to Historiographical Symbol: The Odyssey of the Word Ghetto. " In Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy, edited by David Ruderman, pp. 373385. New York, 1992.

Benjamin C. I. Ravid

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Ghetto

GHETTO


After World War II (19391945), millions of African Americans sought to escape poverty in the rural south by moving to northern cities where they hoped to find better paying jobs. But, they encountered housing discrimination that forced them into racially separate neighborhoods known as ghettos. Ghetto populations soared during the 1950s, when the black population of major cities grew quickly. During that timeframe Detroit's black population increased from 16 percent to 29 percent, while Chicago's grew from 14 percent to 23 percent. Boston's increased from five to 10 percent, and the District of Columbia's rose from 35 to 55 percent. At one time during this period, more than 2,200 African Americans moved to Chicago each week. This rapid population shift severely strained housing and urban services and created a set of circumstances that made ghettos, which had first appeared in the early decades of the 1900s during the Great Migration, an entrenched feature of almost every major city in the United States.

One of the most significant factors in the creation of ghettos was the mass movement to the suburbs of middle-class whites. At the same time, expansion of highway construction and the growth of the automobile industry enabled companies to move away from cities to areas where they could operate more cheaply. Thus, just as millions of blacks were moving to cities, jobs there were disappearing, as were tax revenues that could support decent services such as schools and sanitation. Housing in ghettos deteriorated badly, and high unemployment and limited social services combined to create blighted areas where crime rates soared. Yet blacks found it extremely difficult to escape from these areas because they were consistently denied the opportunity to purchase homes in white neighborhoods. Even after passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, which prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of housing units, most African American families in urban areas had no choice but to live in ghetto neighborhoods. By the late 1960s ghetto residents were extremely frustrated by the slow pace of change as advocated by civil rights leaders. In 1965, the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts erupted in violence as thousands of African American residents burned stores and looted the area. The riots, which lasted from August 11 to August 16, caused 34 deaths and injured more than 1,000. Devastating riots also broke out in Detroit. These riots traumatized the nation and brought significant public attention to ghetto conditions. Though ghettos were beset by poverty and other problems, however, they also fostered racial pride and provided an important base for black businesses.

See also: Discrimination, Suburbs

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ghetto

ghetto

Originally a district in Venice reserved for Jewish inhabitants of the city, and a name applied to any neighborhood that, either by law or custom, holds a majority of any single national, ethnic, or religious group. There were Jewish inhabitants of Venice early in its history, with most earning their livings from certain trades permitted to them: moneylending, tailoring, and medicine. After Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, however, the arrival of several thousand foreign Jews prompted the Venetian Republic to take action restricting their movements in the city. One law allowed them to live in the city for no more than fifteen days every year. In 1516 Venice designated the ghetto as the restricted area where Jews could live. The city also had designated areas of residence for other groups, including German merchants, who were limited to a single building known as the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, and the Turks, in the Fondaco dei Turchi.

The Venetian ghetto was linked to the rest of the city by two small bridges that were patrolled after sundown in order to prevent any of the inhabitants from mingling with Gentiles (non-Jews) in the rest of the city. As the Jewish population increased, and the neighborhood grew dangerously overcrowded, the ghetto was expanded into neighboring quarters. The ghetto came to an end with the Republic of Venice, which was overthrown in 1797 by the armies of Napoléon Bonaparte. The neighborhood has remained a center of the Jewish religion and culture up to the present day.

The idea of a ghetto for Jewish residents spread to other cities in Italy and Europe. In Rome, Pope Paul IV established a small Jewish ghetto of four city blocks in 1555. As in Venice, the neighborhood was surrounded by a wall and not allowed to expand even as its population grew. The pope enforced the requirement that Jews live there by a papal bull (decree), Cum Nimis Absurdum. The ghetto of Rome was opened in 1870 and its walls torn down in 1888.

See Also: Jews; Venice

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ghetto

ghetto (gĕt´ō), originally, a section of a city in which Jews lived; it has come to mean a section of a city where members of any racial group are segregated. In the early Middle Ages the segregation of Jews in separate streets or localities was voluntary. The first compulsory ghettos were in Spain and Portugal at the end of the 14th cent. The ghetto was typically walled, with gates that were closed at a certain hour each night, and all Jews had to be inside the gate at that hour or suffer penalties. The reason generally given for compulsory ghettos was that the faith of Christians would be weakened by the presence of Jews; the idea of Jewish segregation dates from the Lateran Councils of 1179 and 1215. Within the ghetto the inhabitants usually had autonomy, with their own courts of law, their own culture, and their own charitable, recreational, educational, and religious institutions. Economic activities, however, were restricted, and beyond the ghetto walls Jews were required to wear badges of identification. One of the most infamous ghettos was that of Frankfurt, to which Jews were compelled to move by a city ordinance of 1460. Crowded into a narrow section, the ghetto underwent several disastrous fires. The ghetto in Venice was established in 1516 after long negotiations between the city and the Jews. In 1870 the last ghetto in Western Europe, in Rome, was abolished. In Russia the Jewish Pale continued to exist until 1917. After the 18th cent. ghettos were also to be found in some Muslim countries. During World War II the Nazis set up ghettos in many towns in E Europe from which Jews were transported to concentration camps for liquidation; the Warsaw (Poland) ghetto was a prime example. In the United States, African Americans, Chicanos, and immigrant groups have been forced to live in ghettos through economic and social forces rather than being required to do so by law. See also anti-Semitism.

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"ghetto." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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ghetto

ghetto An inner-urban area characterized by the spatial concentration of disadvantage. The term is often associated with particular ethnic groups—for example black North Americans—and was originally applied to the urbanized Jewish populations of Europe. The classic study is by Louis Wirth, who argued that the ghetto could only be understood as a social psychological as well as an ecological phenomenon, since ‘it [the ghetto] is not so much a physical fact as it is a state of mind’ (The Ghetto, 1928). In this respect, much of Wirth's analysis prefigures his later classical essay on ‘Urbanism as a Way of Life’ (American Journal of Sociology, 1938)
, and should be read against this broader theoretical background. See also URBAN SOCIOLOGY; URBANISM.

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"ghetto." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Ghetto

Ghetto. A compulsory urban residential area for Jews. The term ‘ghetto’ was probably first used for the Jewish quarter of Venice which was enclosed in 1516.

The phrase ‘ghetto mentality’ refers to the (alleged) internalization of the attitudes of the outsider—humiliation, rejection, and contempt, and the acceptance of isolation. The uprising of the Warsaw ghetto against the Nazis on 19 Apr. 1943, exhibits the reverse. It was put down by the destruction of the whole area.

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"Ghetto." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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ghetto

ghet·to / ˈgetō/ • n. (pl. -tos or -toes) a part of a city, esp. a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups. ∎ hist. the Jewish quarter in a city: the Warsaw Ghetto. ∎  an isolated or segregated group or area: the relative security of the gay ghetto. • v. (-toes, -toed) [tr.] put in or restrict to an isolated or segregated area or group.

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ghetto

ghetto a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups; originally, the Jewish quarter in a city. Recorded from the early 17th century, the word may come from Italian getto ‘foundry’ (because the first ghetto was established in 1516 on the site of a foundry in Venice), or from Italian borghetto, diminutive of borgo ‘borough’.

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ghetto

ghetto Jewish quarter of a town, etc. XVII. — It. Ghetto, name of Venetian island where Jews were confined in 1516.

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ghetto

ghettobateau, chateau, gateau, gelato, mulatto, plateau •de facto, ipso facto •alto •canto, Esperanto, manteau, panto, portmanteau •antipasto, impasto - •agitato, Ambato, castrato, esparto, inamorato, legato, moderato, obbligato (US obligato), ostinato, pizzicato, rubato, staccato, tomato, vibrato, Waikato •contralto •allegretto, amaretto, amoretto, Canaletto, cornetto, falsetto, ghetto, larghetto, libretto, Loreto, Orvieto, Soweto, stiletto, Tintoretto, vaporetto, zucchetto •perfecto, recto •cento, cinquecento, divertimento, lento, memento, pimiento, portamento, Risorgimento, Sacramento, Sorrento, Trento •manifesto, pesto, presto •concerto •Cato, Plato, potato •Benito, bonito, burrito, coquito, graffito, Hirohito, incognito, Ito, magneto, Miskito, mosquito, Quito, Tito, veto •ditto • in flagrante delicto • mistletoe •pinto, Shinto •tiptoe •Callisto, fritto misto •cogito • Felixstowe • Sillitoe

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