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The word ghetto originated to describe the parts of the city in which Jews were restricted in Italy in 1516.

During the Holocaust, the creation of ghettos was a key step in the Nazi process for brutally separating, persecuting, and ultimately destroying Europe's Jews. Ghettos were often enclosed districts that isolated Jews from the non-Jewish population and from other Jewish communities. Living conditions were miserable.

The term has adapted to describe any city occupied by an isolated group, typically as the result of economic or social pressures. In the United States during the 20th century, it became a commonly used word to describe black neighborhoods. Today, it is often used as an adjective to describe someone or something as poor, cheap, unrefined, inauthentic, substandard, or unsophisticated, but because of its racial implications it is inadequate.


We recommend to avoid that expression because the term is intentionally classist and it implies the inferiority of the communities it is mostly used to describe.

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