“Yeah, there’s an app for that!” The latest app to cause an uproar is called “Ghetto Tracker” for avoiding the rough parts of town. But within 24 hours after the app surfaced, on September 3, fierce backlash over its perceived biased name forced its creator to change the name to “Good Part of Town.” Still, two days later, the site for the app was shut down with a message that read, “This site is gone. It’s not worth the trouble,” according to Gawker.
Many of the app’s critics referred to the app as racist, allowing elitists to avoid — at all costs — areas where those who are less fortunate dwell. While the app did not utilize FBI crime statistics, which includes information about muggings or murders, its users supplied the input.
How “Ghetto Tracker/Good Part of Town” reportedly worked was that the app’s users got to rate certain areas of a town so that smartphone users sans street smarts could steer clear of less desirable parts.
Critics of the app felt that the app’s information was racist and classist since its data was subjective and dictated by user ratings.
Initially, the site featured a typical happy-go-lucky White family, but after numerous complaints, the app’s alleged creator, a Tallahassee man by the name of Casey Smith, changed the flavor of the photo to depict an ethnically diverse clan.
In a letter to Gawker, Smith explains why he thinks his app has nothing to do with racism:
I am not concerned about racial implications between good areas and bad areas. If a certain part of town has a lot of crime and is considered a bad area, I can’t be held responsible for the assumptions people may make in regards to factors like race and income. 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. The idea was to make it social, as if you were asking a friend, ‘Hey, I’m going to be visiting [your city] and thinking of staying at [some hotel], is that a good area?”