#MARKSWATCH: The Response and The Meme

By Arturo R. García

Well, that didn’t take long.

Gene Marks’ “If I Were A Poor Black Kid” piece for Forbes led to justifiably angry responses. Among them was Baratunde Thurston’s “Letter from a poor black kid” for CNN:

Thank you Mr. Marks. You have changed everything about my life. Thanks to your article, I worked to make sure I got the best grades, made reading my number one priority and created better paths for myself. If only someone had suggested this earlier.

But that was just the beginning of how your exceptionally relevant, grounded and experience-based advice changed my life. Thanks only to your article, I discovered technology.

Why did my teachers not teach this? Why isn’t this technology mentioned anywhere in popular culture? I don’t understand, but you do.

You listed so many different websites and resources, at first it was overwhelming. But I didn’t let that deter me. I thought to myself, “If a successful, caring, complicated, intelligent man like Gene Marks says to do it, then I’d better head over to rentcalculators.org right now!”

As Colorlines reported Thursday, Marks posted a response at CNN. The somewhat underwhelming transcript is under the cut.

Hi Baratunde,

Thanks for your piece – I thought it raised great points and continued the discussion. I wish you success with your new book too. And I read The Onion every day.

What do I know about being a “poor black kid?” Absolutely nothing. I’m a middle class white guy. But I went to school. So I know about that. And I’m in the business of technology. So I know about that.

How can any inner city kid even have the chance to overcome the inequality that our President spoke about and have a chance at some opportunity?

1. Study hard and get good grades.

2. Use technology to help you get good grades.

3. Apply to the best schools you can.

4. Get help from a school’s guidance counselor.

5. Learn a good skill. This is what I said in my blog. I said this wasn’t easy. It’s brutally hard. And, unfortunately, it’s not funny.

Will any of these kids read what I wrote in Forbes? Probably not. I’m hoping that educators, bloggers and most importantly parents do. Because it will be very tough for any kid to do it alone.

Regards,

Gene Marks

And that was it. Of course, Marks might just be conserving his strength; CNN reported he would post a follow-up piece this coming Monday, and we cannot wait. In the meantime, because the Internet is still a wonderful place, enjoy some more pics from the mandatory meme that just sprang up, If I Was A Poor Black Kid:

  • http://www.rishona.net Shona

    His response only further proves that he just “doesn’t get it” (insert in a forehead smack right here)!

  • Anonymous

    What about mr Marks first trying to imagine what it would be like, if he were human?

  • http://theblacktongue.wordpress.com/ Stephen Kearse

    The internet prevails. What we need next is for someone to feel inspired and makes a song called, “If I were a Black kid,” to the tune of, “If I were a Rich Man.”

    In response to Richard, I can muster that acrimony for you. He begins his article alluding to structural barriers preventing Black kids from succeeding, but then he proceeds to act as if those barriers are negligible. That article would be more true to to it’s content if it were titled, “I Know You’re Black, But…(Bootstraps)” The worst part about the article is the fact that he makes all these suggestions for Black kids as if they are primary agents without considering that all of his suggestions REQUIRE HELP FROM OTHER PEOPLE. “Hey be self-reliant, by depending on these resources.” The guy deserves acrimony, bitter, bitter, Taco Bell circa 95-flavored acrimony.

    Seriously, someone please make, “If I were a black kid.”

  • http://theblacktongue.wordpress.com/ Stephen Kearse

    The internet prevails. What we need next is for someone to feel inspired and makes a song called, “If I were a Black kid,” to the tune of, “If I were a Rich Man.”

    In response to Richard, I can muster that acrimony for you. He begins his article alluding to structural barriers preventing Black kids from succeeding, but then he proceeds to act as if those barriers are negligible. That article would be more true to to it’s content if it were titled, “I Know You’re Black, But…(Bootstraps)” The worst part about the article is the fact that he makes all these suggestions for Black kids as if they are primary agents without considering that all of his suggestions REQUIRE HELP FROM OTHER PEOPLE. “Hey be self-reliant, by depending on these resources.” The guy deserves acrimony, bitter, bitter, Taco Bell circa 95-flavored acrimony.

    Seriously, someone please make, “If I were a black kid.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705188 Richard Hughes

    I can’t muster any serious acrimony towards Gene Marks, but it seems appropriate to make fun of him a lot for a little while.