…the term “ghetto” does seem to have faded somewhat from common usage. In the past decade or so, the adjective has overshadowed the noun: a word that once conjured up intimidating neighborhoods now appears in unintimidating coinages like “ghetto latte.” (This is a coffee-shop term popularized in the aughts, in honor of the parsimonious customer who, instead of ordering an iced latte, orders espresso over ice, which is cheaper, and then dumps in half a cup of milk.) On hip-hop records, “ghetto” has largely given way to the warmer, more flexible “hood,” which sounds less like a condition and more like a community; Kendrick Lamar’s ode to the bad old days is called “Hood Politics,” not “Ghetto Politics.” The persistence of residential segregation has tightened the relationship between concentrated poverty and African-American neighborhoods, and made the word “ghetto” harder to use. “Ghetto” has come to sound like an indictment of a people as well as of a place.
Kelefa Sanneh, “There Goes the Neighborhood”, The New Yorker (11 & 18 July 2016), 83.