A new phone app named Ghetto Tracker that helps wealthy suburbanites and tourists avoid undesirable parts of an unfamiliar city or town had come under intense fire from critics. The founder and creator of the app removed it from outlets, but later released a similar app under another name, Good Part of Town, and removed all mentions of the word “ghetto” from the website.
Regardless of the name, critics decry the app as a racist and classist tool that enables the rich to avoid the very poor.
How does Good Part of Town work? The app functions by allowing locals to rate the safety of different parts of a given area. According to The Week, the original launch of the page featured a white family of four smiling alongside the app’s promise to show users “which parts of town are safe and which ones are ghetto or unsafe.”
The creator remains defiantly unapologetic about this dubious service he’s providing.
“I can’t be held responsible for the assumptions people may make in regards to factors like race and income,” the anonymous founder based in Tallahassee, Fla. sent in a letter to Gawker. “I’ve seen comments on blogs and in Twitter that are trying to say this is encouraging racism or social stratification and that was never our intention.”
One critic succinctly summarized the discontent with the Good Side of Town app.
“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,” David Holmes wrote on PandoDaily. “As if to assume that every person who lives in an area with comparatively high crime or poverty is a criminal, or that these areas are devoid of culture or positivity.”
Take a look at the subtle racism in its marketing and promotion of the Good Side of Town app below.