REBLOG: Decoding Ratchets, Respectability, and Racism

Someone else said it better – and since I didn’t know the meaning of the word until I read this post, I think you should just see the source. 🙂

dara t. mathis

I think of the word ratchet like a friend you graciously let stay on your couch: it was cool at the beginning, but it’s really overstayed its welcome by about a year.

The first time I heard the word was in a 2009 song by Hurricane Chris called “Halle Berry (She Fine),” where the rapper drones, “Well, let’s get ratcheeet, let’s get ratchet!” I didn’t know it at the time, but ratchet was originally a genre of crunk rap music local to Shreveport, Louisiana, where Hurricane Chris originates.

My first reaction was, “What does ratchet mean?!” But the answer I would have received then is not the answer I’d get in 2013. Ratchet has flown far from the swamps of Shreveport into its own murky national definition. The word has adopted the negative class implications of ‘ghetto’; in fact, I think ratchet has deep-sixed ghetto out of popular black vernacular.

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