chapter  4
“You Just Don’t Go Down There”: Learning to Avoid the Ghetto in San Francisco
ByNikki Jones, Christina Jackson
Pages 27

This chapter looks at the ways in which newcomers learn to navigate their new homes, drawing on field research conducted by the first author over a five-year period, including thirty months of continuous residence in the Western Addition, a historically black neighborhood in San Francisco. It draws on field research conducted in the Western Addition to explain how the neighborhood is constructed as a bad neighborhood in ordinary conversations and the consequences of this construction for neighborhood residents. Parts of the neighborhood may still fit the definition of a ghetto in that there remain areas in which low-income African American live in high concentrations, but like New York's Harlem and the "U Street Corridor" in Washington, D.C., it is also "on the rise". The chapter offers a final illustration of discursive redlining. The online reviews and the face-to-face warnings described in the chapter encourage an ahistorical sense of the ghetto as a problem.