Ghetto Fabulous??

By Gregory Moore
Updated: August 1, 2008

“I understand what Yao said, but I’m still ghetto. That’s not going to change. I’m never going to change my culture. Yao has played with a lot of black players, but I don’t think he’s ever played with a black player that really represents his culture as much as I represent my culture.”

- Ron Artest

SAN ANTONIO – What is ghetto?

That’s a good question. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ghetto means the following: 1. a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships;

2. (formerly, in most European countries) a section of a city in which all Jews were required to live; 3. a section predominantly inhabited by Jews; 4. any mode of living, working, etc., that results from stereotyping or biased treatment: job ghettos for women; ghettos for the elderly.

Nowhere in that definition does it say that the actions of stupidity make you ghetto or that you are representing a culture. But let’s take a good look at what Mr. Artest, I’m sorry the 2008 cultural candidate for blackness, is talking about. But first, let me bring you up to speed on this event in case you don’t know what he or Yao Ming is talking about.

On November 19, 2004, the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons were involved in what can only be considered the most embarrassing aspect of the NBA, prior to the embarrassment of Tim Donaghy’s gambling scandal.

In sports lore, this brawl will go down as one of the most disgusting, and probably entertaining, things in the spectrum. The fight began with Artest and Ben Wallace. According to the Wikipedia entry on this event, ” On November 19, 2004, Artest took center stage in arguably the most infamous brawl in professional basketball history.

The game took place in Auburn Hills, Michigan between Artest’s Pacers and the home team Detroit Pistons. The brawl began when Artest fouled Pistons center Ben Wallace as Wallace was putting up a shot. Wallace, upset at being fouled hard when the game was effectively over (the Pacers led 97-82), responded by shoving Artest, leading to an altercation near the scorer’s table.

Artest walked to the sideline and lay down on the scorer’s table. Reacting to Wallace throwing something at Artest, Pistons fan John Green threw a cup of beer at Artest, hitting him.

Artest jumped into the front-row seats and confronted a man he believed to be responsible (who turned out to be the wrong man), which in turn erupted into a brawl between Pistons fans and several of the Pacers. Artest returned to the basketball court, and punched Pistons fan A.J. Shackleford, who was apparently taunting Artest verbally.

This fight resulted in the game being stopped with less than a minute remaining. Artest and teammates Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson were suspended indefinitely the day after the game, along with Wallace.

On November 21, the NBA announced that Artest would be suspended for the remainder of the season (73 games plus playoff appearances). This is the longest non-drug or betting related suspension in NBA history. Eight other players (four Pacers and four Pistons) received suspensions, without pay, that ranged from one to thirty games in length.

Each of the Pacers players involved were levied fines and ordered to do community service. Several fans were also charged and were barred from attending any events at the Palace for life. Artest lost approximately $5 million in salary due to the suspension.”

Okay, so now that we got the preliminaries of what happened out of the way, let’s really delve in to Candidate Artest’s claims of the fact that being ghetto is just a part of the black culture.

I don’t think Artest watched the CNN special titled “Black in America”. If he did, he wouldn’t make this idiotic claim of repping the black world. In no way does this definition of ghetto, as defined by a renowned dictionary, does it refer to being ghetto as being a bombastic jackass or monumental proportions.

But this Artest we’re talking about.

Rationale does not fit in his domain because if it did, anyone who believes that losing $5 million in salary is a part of being black or is par for the course in representing the black culture isn’t rational.

“If you go back to the brawl, that’s a culture issue right there,” Artest said. “Somebody was disrespecting me, so he’s got to understand where I’m coming from. People that know me know that Ron Artest never changed.”

Disrespecting you? Dude you were laying on the darn scorer’s table. So what if a cup of water landed on you? What right did you have to go into the stands and try to mediate justice of any sort?

Here’s the problem with what Artest said and why Yao has every right to be concerned about his new teammate. Ron Artest does not want to change his way of living and that’s tragic.

It’s tragic because while the dictionary version may be the “correct” version, there is also a more urban definition for being ghetto and it has nothing to do with where you live in so much as how you act. In that current definition, Artest is indeed true to his statements.

But he doesn’t represent being black or anything of the sort.What Ron Artest represents, by his own definition of being ‘ghetto’, is the land of ignorance.

African Americans or anyone who encompasses the Black culture into their being are not ghetto by default.

Artest’s reasoning represents what the world thinks of black men in general and that is a disservice to the millions of black men trying to do it the right way.

He represents the idiot culture of life and it’s sad that a supposedly gifted individual on the basketball court has no idea who he is in the world and what he truly represents.

What’s worse is that he is now going to play in a city in which the world looks to it as a metropolis of positive change and enlightment.

Too bad Ming and his teammates now have this gifted and clueless individual wanting to represent them in the real world.

His world is not the reality in which we all live in.