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Ghetto cityscap by Camilo Jose Vergara - Essay Example

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Such changes now reveal a different American environment that is far from what these places used to look like several years back. What used to be the safest places in the neighborhood of many…
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Ghetto cityscap by Camilo Jose Vergara
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The Ghetto scape American cities have been through huge and wide transformation through the years. Such changes now reveal a different American environment that is far from what these places used to look like several years back. What used to be the safest places in the neighborhood of many cities have become the dwelling places of the destitute. The urban poor, known as the ghettos, have at the same time evolved through time. In order to deal with this social ordeal, scholars have studied this group, yet in a very conservative way. Studies ignored the various aspects that are deemed important in creating solution to the problem involving urban poverty. As such, the dilemma on this situation has not been resolved. “Dismissing the value of information received through sight, taste, and smell, or through the emotional overtones in an informant’s voice, or from the sensation of moving through the spaces studied, has led to the creation of constructs without character, individuality, or a sense of place (Vergara 715).”
Together with the transformation of the society, ghettos have also gone through changes in order to cope with the environment. Their adaptation and change come in diverse characteristics for which are significant in understanding their need in order to solve this social problem. “Yet today’s ghettos are diverse, rich in public and private responses to the environment, in expressions of cultural identity, and in reminders of history. These communities are uncharted territory; to be understood, their forms need to be identified, described, inventoried, and mapped (Vergara 715).” With this, Vergara identified three types of ghettos of the American cities – the green ghettos, institutional ghettos and the new immigrant ghettos. Green ghettos are those who live at the ‘leftovers’ part of the society. They live in the suburbs where there are only abandoned establishments for which wild animals and humans have learned to co-exist. What is left in these suburbs are non-valuable land filled no other than grasses and ruined and abandoned buildings, ignored by the government.
On the other hand, the large and expensive regions of the city are also occupied by ghettos. They who live in this side of the city are identified by Vergara as the institutional ghettos. Financed by the government, they are but the weakest and the most vulnerable members of the society. Identified through their lack of money and home, this group in the society is at the same time those who are being treated for addiction, diseases and their afflictions, thus recognized as ‘not employables.’ The situation in this side of the city is, according to Vergara, a contradiction to the government’s goal of preventing the same thing that is actually happening in such places – selling of drugs and sex. One of the most significant examples of such category is on Drew Street in Glasswell Park. Gangsters are known to live in this area such that the police have been having difficulty dealing with the people who live in this side of the city. People in this side of town have been known to regularly do stints in jail and prison. It was at this area where the famous gang fights and killings are regularly reported on the news. Gangsters in this place are also known to fear not even the local authorities.
Immigrants who live in the side of town are satisfied by being employed in exploitative jobs with minimum wages that are without health benefits. They get their jobs from the institutions in the same area thus are classified as the new immigrant ghettos. What are visible in this part of the city are various institutions catering to the people’s needs according to the different culture possessed by those who live there. Mainly Latino and West Indians, new immigrant ghettos are different from the first two groups in such a way that the streets are distinctly arranged, and houses and small establishments are painted colorfully along the streets. Being in this community, these people are grateful in being able to live in such places since they are not eligible for public or city-owned housing.

References:
Pelisek, C. 2008. The Gangsters of Drew Street, Glassell Park. Retrieved from
http://www.laweekly.com/2008-03-06/news/bleak-house/ on December 6, 2009.
Pelisek, C. 2008. Major Law Enforcement Crack down Nets the Gangsters of Drew Street.
Retrieved from http://blogs.laweekly.com/ladaily/city-news/major-law-enforcement-crack-do/ on December 6, 2009. Read More
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