Why Forbes’ Column Crossed the Line

Middle-class white guy writes about what he would do if he were a poor black kid. Craziness ensues.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

OK, folks. How come no one told me that it’s Slander Poor Black Kids Month? Was there a memo that went out? No one could send me a Facebook message about this?

If you’re not aware of what I’m talking about, let me enlighten you. First Newt Gingrich explained recently that poor black children don’t know how to work. Donald Trump co-signed him. In the midst of this, a Forbes (!!!) writer, Gene Marks, steps in to help the troubled youths by explaining what he would do if he were a poor black child.

Seriously. Where was the flonkin’ memo?

Now, admittedly Gingrich didn’t say poor black children at first, and I surely didn’t frame my argument around that when I responded. I tried to keep this fight color-neutral. Of course, when I read a follow-up from him after I wrote my article, I was enlightened. Gingrich said:

Look, at a time when you have up to 43 percent black teenage unemployment, you have entire communities that are devastated, you have neighborhoods where nobody has worked and nobody has any habit of work.

Ah. Ha.

Now, in the midst of this overall attack on poor black children, Mr. Gene Marks comes along as an ignorant wolf wearing “I just want to help those poor Negroes!” clothing. Mr. Gene isn’t trying to be condescending or anything. He just wants to postulate the best way to fix poor Negro children, is all.

This isn’t him being an ass — this is simply what he might do as a middle-class, middle-aged white dude if all of a sudden he were attacked by Voldemort, a spell was cast and he was turned into a poor black child.

He just wants to give some advice to the poor black children … in Forbes magazine.

That’s reasonable, right?

We Negroes are familiar with this particular brand of help. The #WhiteLove™ style of caring. Movies love to show how, when a white person with an open mind shows up and deals with poor blacks, their lives are magically changed. As I read this piece, I sighed to myself and mumbled, “White liberals.”

Please stop your furious typing. I’m not claiming that all white liberals are as completely clueless as Mr. Marks. I’m not even sure that Mr. Marks is, in fact, liberal — but this brand of “help” normally comes wrapped in an “I’m here with you, man! I understand your pain” bow that is purchased at your nearest “Awesome Liberals Totally Get It” gift shop. It’s the “Let me help you help you” brand of awesome.