By MELISSA WELLHAM
Do you worry about avoiding the ‘bad areas’ of your city? Do you think class warfare has got something going for it? Are you okay with using racially insensitive language to disparage entire neighbourhoods?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then we have the website for you! Ghetto Tracker.
Ghetto Tracker is a American website that allows users to rate city neighbourhoods based upon how ‘nice’ they are. Which in turn allows people visiting new cities to avoid the ‘bad’ areas.
This is how it works: You google a suburb, and if it has been deemed undesirable (by the subjective opinions of the few people who have decided to use the website) a red warning sign reading ‘ghetto’ appears on screen. Yep, really.
The website’s original ‘about page’, which has since been removed, explained that suburbs are rated by “locals and people familiar with the area.”
The website was launched only last week, and it’s inspired more backlash in that time than a new Miley Cyrus video. Okay, maybe not quite as much controversy. But people aren’t happy.
When a Hacker News first discovered the app, one user wrote, “They should simply geotag by ethnicity and save people the need to subjectively “rate” certain areas.”
“It’s pretty detrimental to society when we reinforce the idea that poor or crime-heavy areas are places to be categorically avoided or shamed,’ wrote David Holmes in article straightforwardly titled ‘Ghetto Tracker Is The Worst Site on the Internet‘.
Holmes even spoke to someone from the website and, although they did not want to be named in the article, they revealed that, “Ghetto Tracker was meant to be something that people would remember … Well, it worked, but unfortunately, it appears to have brought a lot of negative baggage along with it.”
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Ghetto Tracker website was that the developers actually seemed surprised when people on the Big Bad Internet took offence to their name.
Only one day after launching, its creators renamed the app the marginally better Good Part of Town. Because that’s not demeaning and saying people who live in lower socio-economic suburbs are ‘bad’ – it’s just saying that people who live in more privileged suburbs are ‘good’! A picture of a white family on the site was replace with a picture of a black family.
Since changing its name, the website has undergone yet another two other transformations.
Next, the site became a non-functional page with the text ‘coming soon’, featuring a YouTube video of a scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation where a white family gets scared as they drive through a ‘ghetto’. That’s… a little racist.
And now? The site has reverted to its original name. Or rather: Ghetto Tracker Beta. Because even bad publicity of good publicity.
What do you think of a website like Ghetto Tracker? Should we be reducing all that a neighbourhood has to offer, down to how much money the people who live there earn?