Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We might have a biracial president, but man do we have a LONG WAY TO GO.

First of all, technology blogger Gene Marks writes at, "If I were a poor black kid," positing that technology can solve the inherent setbacks posed by extreme poverty and racism. Although he does admit he's a middle-aged white guy and a "short, balding, mediocre CPA," what he completely fails to grasp is how privileged his perspective is. His overly simplistic and patronizing prescription for a bootstrap pick-me-up fails on every level. I realize he had good intentions when he wrote this article, but he comes across as condescending and belittling...classic "blame the victim." The "poor black kids" who fail to take advantage of all of the awesome technology and resources available to them have only themselves to blame (after all, "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..." because after all, most poor black kids are members of professional organizations!!!! WTF?). And there are so many websites out there available to help kids study, like CliffNotes!
  • Marks' prescription is painfully simple:
  • Get good grades (even if you're at the worst school in the city!).
  • Get a cheap or free computer.
  • Use Skype to work with other kids (also requiring a video camera).
  • Go to a magnet or private school.
  • Make friends with the guidance counselor.
  • Go to college.
Toward the end of his article, Marks actually does admit all of this might be just a teensy bit hard for a "poor black kid," but claims that inequality has nothing to do with it:
"But the biggest challenge we face isn’t inequality. It’s ignorance. So many kids...don’t even know these opportunities exist for them. Many come from single-parent families whose mom or dad (or in many cases their grandmom) is working two jobs to survive and are just (understandably) too plain tired to do anything else in the few short hours they’re home. Many have teachers who are overburdened and too stressed to find the time to help every kid that needs it. Many of these kids don’t have the brains to figure this out themselves – like my kids. Except that my kids are just lucky enough to have parents and a well-funded school system around to push them in the right direction. 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."
So if the child does not succeed, it's only because he or she does not want to be helped.

Then we have our friend Newt, who says that poor kids "have no habits of working and nobody around them who works.” Here's a cogent response to Newtie from a "poor black kid" who must have been pulled out of poverty by technology!





Best tweet on the topic: "I would ask him to share the link to mitigate poverty,oppression, & systemic racism. Is there an app 4 that?"


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