I'm going to translate the following sentence into a language in which there may not be an exact equivalent for the word 'ghetto'.

He taught ghetto kids in New York's public school system.

(Update: In this sentence, the pronoun 'he' refers to Henry Spira, a benevolent leftist activist. The text highly praises him. And, by the way, the author is the Australian philosopher Peter Singer.)

Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines 'ghetto' as

1) a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group.

2) [historical] the Jewish quarter in a city.

Now, I'd like to know what adjectives and concepts the phrase "ghetto kids of New York" brings to the mind of a native English speaker most strongly at this moment in time.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jason Bassford, TaliesinMerlin, Cascabel, TrevorD, JJJ Apr 11 at 18:22

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    Since New-York's Jewish population was never concentrated in ghetto's and the slum area of New York city is called ghetto, I think you should find a word which describes a word which describes 1 in your target language. Take a look at the United State section in the wikipedia entery – havakok Apr 10 at 10:00
  • 3
    You might try a term meaning "underprivileged". This word is often used as a less prejudicial term for occupants of a "ghetto". – Hot Licks Apr 10 at 11:52
  • 2
    As phrased, this question is highly opinion-based, in that many different "adjectives and concepts" could come to the mind of answerers. For example, I think of institutional racism and economic segregation, whereas someone else might think in terms of racial or class-based stereotypes. If you could rephrase the question to focus on register rather than reader bias, you might get better-researched answers. – TaliesinMerlin Apr 10 at 12:30
  • 1
    @TaliesinMerlin - yes - I would think of "systematically oppressed kids with horizons limmited by the world they live in" AND some of the stereotypes that might walk hand in hand, at least in terms of posturing and style (less so the truly derogatory stereotypes of less admirable traits) Some one, some the other, some both - very opinion based – Tom22 Apr 10 at 15:28
  • 2
    @Arham Oh... so you're going the other direction, away from English. Then that first definition is good enough. The word has many different connotations, but those depend a lot on the US urban context and race relations which probably don't have an exact parallel there. But any word or expression that connotes 'slum' and identifiably minority (ethnic, race) would fit in a translation. – Mitch Apr 10 at 17:46

"Ghetto kids" is an American expression that, in this context, refers to less-advantaged, generally poor-behaved children who are difficult to manage in a classroom. It is also dated. This was a very common expression in the 70's, but not so much now from my personal experience.

A good reference for this the Urban Dictionary, definition 2.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.