Good evening folks. It appears that Forbes has indulged in some friendly free advice for Black youngsters. This past Monday, the reputed business magazine published an article in the Tech section titled “If I Was A Poor Black Kid” In it, the author Gene Marks outlines a program of what he would do if he were a “poor Black kid” Much of it has to do with using the internet to learn, and getting into better schools based on good grades. I wont re-cap what was said, cause the link is there for all to read.
What I do want to point out is how simplistic this remedy for Black kids and the issues they face are. Aside from the fact that this piece is condescending and reeks of white paternalism, it ignores many structural issues that cause the education gap in the first place. There is nothing in this advice that is wrong, but its from the vantage point of someone who is familiar with all of these technical resources.
What is so disconcerting about the article, is how typical the mindset is. Internet research can only take you but so far if the resources in the area aren’t adequate to foster an environment of learning. And going to the library to do much of the stuff Marks’ suggests is fine, provided that the libraries hours and staff have not been slashed to the bone. Or if the library hasn’t been closed altogether. What is needed is more “well funded school systems”, not just more poor Black kids trying desperately to make up the difference in educational resources with Google Scholar and Wikipedia searches. Its time to look deeper than what just appears to be a surface aversion to learning, and give a wider amount of young Black children a real shot at achievement.
I have to give Marks credit on one thing. At least he didn’t try to masks what he said by saying “urban” kids.
Marc W. Polite
Used to be one of those “Poor Black Kids”