Microsoft's 'Avoid Ghetto' App Is Not the Problem

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell advises people to stop with their smug, judgmental response to the app. As she notes, the murder rate may be down overall in her city, but it's up in predominantly black neighborhoods.

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Crime scene in Chicago (Getty Images)

In response to critics of Microsoft's so-called ghetto app, Mary Mitchell writes in her Chicago Sun-Times column that people should stop with their smug recriminations of the company. While the murder rate is down overall in Chicago, it rose in predominantly black neighborhoods. She also points out that the people assigning the misnomer "ghetto app" to the program are engaging in the same racist behavior that they accuse the company of exhibiting.

Although the murder rate is down more than 2 percent citywide, neighborhoods plagued by gangs and drugs, like Englewood, saw a dramatic increase in homicides.

It is no wonder so many black people have fled to the suburbs.

But whenever anyone dares point out that this madness is not happening in all of the city’s neighborhoods, and is primarily occurring in neighborhoods that are predominantly black, many of us bristle over the ugly truth.

In this instance, asking if the so-called “ghetto app” is racist is asking the wrong question.

The question we should consider is whether it is racist to refer to Microsoft’s pending patent as “ghetto app” in the first place?

“Ghetto” was scuttled by the media decades ago because it was deemed to be an offensive term used to describe low-income and crime-affected neighborhoods.

Today, people throw the word around as if it were innocuous.

Those people who are calling Microsoft’s patent a “ghetto app” are engaging in the same offensive behavior that they are accusing the software giant of exhibiting.

And don’t think for a minute concerned parents aren’t warning their kids about what neighborhoods to stay out of. There are teens who are chauffeured everywhere because their parents are scared to let them walk around the corner.