Thursday, December 15, 2011

White Guy's Remedy for "Poor Black Kids"

Update: I've deleted the link because it turns out Gene Marks is paid by the hit, so his article was written to create controversy, as if we needed it.

This is a very funny piece by Gene Marks, only it's not supposed to be funny. It shows Marks knows nothing about poverty or schools in poor communities or poor families. He doesn't realize that poor kids often live with several family members and don't have the space or support to even think about using technology, let alone access to a computer. He doesn't realize that sometimes an education is not the first priority. Survival is. There are so many things wrong with this piece that you have to think Forbes' editors were laughing wickedly:
If I was (were) 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.

And I would use the technology available to me as a student. I know a few school teachers and they tell me that many inner city parents usually have or can afford cheap computers and internet service nowadays. That because (and sadly) it’s oftentimes a necessary thing to keep their kids safe at home than on the streets. And libraries and schools have computers available too. Computers can be purchased cheaply at outlets like TigerDirect and Dell’s Outlet. Professional organizations like accountants and architects often offer used computers from their members, sometimes at no cost at all. Forbes
Marks ignorantly concludes:
Technology can help these kids. But only if the kids want to be helped. Yes, there is much inequality. But the opportunity is still there in this country for those that are smart enough to go for it.
After receiving hundreds of thoughtful comments, he doubled down on ignorance, which I now have to call blatant stupidity:
Thanks for your comment. I still stick to what I wrote, and believe that the opportunity is there for everyone if they study hard and get good grades, use technology to help them get good grades, apply to the best schools they can, get help from their guidance counselor, and make sure to learn a good skill.