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.
Mr. Gene just wants to give us some of that patented #WhiteLove™ that he has laying around the house. With a healthy sprinkling, poor ignorant black children can rise above their station into the magical world of reasonable participation in society!
Mr. Marks has a step-by-step booklet for you to get your school game on track, not your wig pushed back ... by poverty (bold emphasis is mine):
If I was a poor black kid I would first and most importantly work to make sure I got the best grades possible. I would make it my #1 priority to be able to read sufficiently. I wouldn't care if I was a student at the worst public middle school in the worst inner city. Even the worst have their best. And the very best students, even at the worst schools, have more opportunities. Getting good grades is the key to having more options. With good grades you can choose different, better paths. If you do poorly in school, particularly in a lousy school, you're severely limiting the limited opportunities you have.
Wait -- poor black kids should learn how to read? Get the eff out of here! Where was this man all these years?! Learn how to read? Now he tells us! Sir. If you're going to hold these secrets and just spring them on us randomly like this, you're going to have to give a warning so we can prepare for the sudden increase in knowledge our poor brains can't handle, sir.
Knowledge. I need to print this article and do an airdrop over poor neighborhoods. Make it rain WhiteLove™ knowledge for those poor black children.
Sorry. I momentarily blacked out because of my own ridiculous amount of sarcasm.
But do you see where I'm going here?
Mr. Marks goes on with more clueless advice. Get a computer, use Skype and study with groups, get the best grades. Yes, because that's all so simple. What digital divide? Just go on Google with your high-speed Internet and watch some Ted Talks.
I called my friend Dr. Blair L. Murphy Kelley at North Carolina State to talk about this nonsense, and I mentioned that I used technology to escape poverty (now I'm just sorta poor), but I also acknowledge that I got lucky. She said, "It's called resilience. When you are faced with a bunch of nonsense and you make it out anyway. It's resilience because most people don't make it. What about an average black child?"
Why can't some children just simply be average? How in the world can this man create this checklist of things and not realize that he's requesting that kids do something extraordinary simply to not continue to be in poverty: forget their surroundings.
Forget any issues with their parents, the issues their parents might have, like perhaps not eating every night. Forget poor schools with overcrowded classrooms and teachers who can barely keep the class together. School systems that pass children along because they simply can't keep them. Forget that white children can be the most average people around and end up being president.
Forget all of that.
"Go Google some stuff and be awesome." --White guy writing at Forbes