a poor densely populated city district
Don't look at
ghetto kids as different.
forsaken by owner or inhabitants
Walking down the streets. See an
abandoned building, graffiti on the wall.
disturbing the public peace; loud and rough
There are twenty-eight kids in our homeroom class, and it’s pretty
rowdy most of the time.
murder; especially of socially prominent persons
We talk about the President, what Bush is doing when the cameras aren’t around, how JFK got
assassinated, what they did to Mike Tyson, and how William Kennedy Smith got off.
a message issued in behalf of some product or cause or idea
It’s difficult because of the
publicity that surrounds our housing development and community. People set their minds, before they come here, to expect problems, and generally you get what you expect.
noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline
Now, are my eighth graders my most
rambunctious group? Yes. You all keep me challenged every day, to say the least.
The ghetto kid’s going to be hostile and gangster-like. He’ll be more angry. He’ll get more
discriminatory on the basis of skin color
I’d like to see if they have enough heart to come in the projects . . . And if somebody did come in the projects, I’m not
racist or anything, but if he’s white I don’t got to touch you.
recall the past
It’s a good day today. Good time to
My grandmother has
custody of me and my sisters because my mother has a mental illness.
marked by tender, romantic, or nostalgic emotion
My name is
sentimental. I hold that dear to my name.
a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body
Baby Lee and his friend got in a argument, and his friend took the broken neck off of a beer bottle, and stabbed him in his leg. It hit the femoral
artery and he bled to death.
a person who is of equal standing with another in a group
peer pressure has a lot to do with what people do—their friends was doing it, so they felt that they would try it out too.
of or relating to manic depressive illness
Well, when it first started they said she was a manic-depressive. Now they’ve changed it to
get over an illness or shock
I’m more or less
recuperating from an illness. It’s a slow recuperation, but when I feel better the doctor says that I can look for a position back with the government.
given to expressing yourself freely or insistently
Then if you live long enough you might make it to the Senate. You’re
outspoken. You like to talk.
treat or classify according to a conventional conception
But I’m not gonna
stereotype the whole white race just for a few bigots. I know all white people can’t be bad, ’cause God made us equal. We all of us human.
a graduating student with the second highest academic rank
My sister is just like those “good” kids. She was in the spelling bee, she was in the Academic Olympics, she was the
salutatorian of her class.
Then she started hanging with these girls—their house was
filthy, they were
filthy—and they just kept dragging her down and down and down.
feel sorry for; be contrite about
How would your life be if your son wasn’t here?
I probably would still be going to school. But I’m not saying that I
regret having him, because I’d do it all over again. He’s the most precious thing in my life.
a cavalry unit consisting of two or more troops
My mother had lots of army men over there for me, and I would just sit playing all day. I had a setup: five
squadrons, five men in front, five men in back, five men walking on the sides.
an examination and dissection of a dead body
They did the
autopsy and they said cirrhosis of the liver. My mother was only thirty-five.
a state of deep and often prolonged unconsciousness
He was in the hospital for some months after she passed, going in and out of
comas, and they didn’t know if he was going to make it or not.
not affected by a chemical substance, especially alcohol
She’s the most beautiful woman I ever met. We were
sober then. But once we started getting high, that memory is gone.
sell or obtain by energetic and underhanded activity
I showed you when you were a little small guy how to
hustle on the street with me.
bad or unfortunate
We are destroying ourselves. ’Cause it’s bad on these streets. It’s
pitiful out here.
force or drive back
Lloyd: Would rather have a rubber nose or a plastic nose? I ain’t talking about the kind like Michael Jackson.. . .
LeAlan: A rubber nose. ’Cause if I have a fight and they hit me it’d just bounce right off and
repel back at them and hit them in the
a special variety of domesticated animals within a species
Don’t look at us like we’re an alien or an android or an animal or something. We have a hard life, but we’re sensitive. Ghetto kids are not a different
a militant reformer
These are my final words, but you’ll be hearing from me again, ’cause I’m an up-and-rising
capable of being perceived by the senses
We must come together—no matter what you believe in, no matter how you look—and find some
concrete solutions to the problems of the ghetto.