Meh, lots of people do martial arts that have zero to do with self defense such as kendo or iado. If self defense is your issue, then buy a gun or get a well paid job so you can move to a non-ghetto place.
Seriously; Japan is the most law abiding country there is, but people there still enjoy budo for its own sake. In the long run, fighting off thugs in back alleys is not going to keep people in martial arts over the long term because we are talking about very rare occasions. I agree with Liondancer in that your high school macho bullshit has nothing to do with self defense.
Honestly, I try to stay fit and I like to think bullies can still not push me around yada, yada, and I do own firearms. However, you can call me a bleeding heart liberal if you want to because I do not think young people should need martial arts as a reaction to a culture of violence. Young people should be able to go to the dojo and learn and enjoy martial arts without having to think martial arts are a solution to social problems.
Therefore if you enjoy martial arts because you like fitness, the culture, you enjoy your dojo mates and you sensei-that's great. If your skills happen to save your life when confronted by thugs in a dark alley, that's great too-but don't count on that. You will never find a classier bunch of people than the iadoka community.