English 112 20 February 2013 If I were a poor black kid Gene Marks is a contributor to Forbes and the author of the article, “If I were a poor black kid. ” In the beginning of his article he agrees with Mr. Obama and quotes the president’s statement, “This is the defining issue of our time…This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what’s at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. It is hard not to agree with the president and Mr. Marks that these are important times for the middle class. However, Marks seems to think that technology is the way forward, which oversimplifies this complex problem. He refers, over nine times in the article, that “technology” is the way out of poverty. Marks’ contends that, “The biggest challenge we face isn’t inequality. It’s ignorance. ” He makes this statement in spite of having no experience of being black nor poor.
Mind you, this is coming from a white guy who was raised in the suburbs and was the former owner of Marks Group PC, a 10 person customer relationship management consulting firm based outside Philadelphia. The point he refers to as “being poor” are black children that reside in West Philadelphia. He lacks any knowledge regarding these individuals, considering his only understanding of “West Philadelphia” is not from him his own personal experience but only from a few teachers he knows, which he openly states.
It is easy to agree with Marks when he talks about all of the technology enabling things he would do if he were a “poor black” kid: * Use homework tools like Backpack, and Diigo * Purchased hardware at outlets like Tiger Direct and Dell’s Outlet. * Study sites like SparkNotes and CliffsNotes * Watch relevant teachings on Academic Earth, TED and the Khan Academy. * Get free books from Project Gutenberg * Do research on sites such as, CIA World, Factbook, and Wikipedia These are great ideas for everyone to use whether you are from West Philadelphia or a student at Thomas Nelson.
However, these are not cures to grow the middle class. The articles effectiveness is directly calling attention to a national problem, due to the fact that this article was written in Forbes which is intended for wealthy people. The affluent are a key part to any solution for issues of this magnitude. He fails to suggest to his readers any steps they can take to help the situation, but focuses his article on kids who will never pick up a copy of this magazine.
What makes this sad is that Gene Marks’ is stating all of these things he would do if he were a poor black kid, yet has failed to actually reach out to these children. For example, Marks’ explains how his kids are just “lucky enough to have parents and a well funded school system…” If Marks’ made more of an active attempt to help these children he would be tackling the problem. Marks’ could bridge the p of division by not only talking about the situation but actually doing something about it. Marks’ has an abundance of words, however no action which makes him apart of the great divide.
Though this may not be his intent, this article is full of “between the lines” racial stupidity and arrogance. Marks writes as if poor and black are the same, he states this eight times in the article. Poor does not discriminate among races, bigotry is what discriminates. Unfortunately, Marks under emphasizes the most important elements of success even though he clearly states them, “It takes brains. It takes hard work. It takes a little luck. ” These are well understood methods for success; they are easier said than done.
Marks may have good intentions, yet they seem underwhelming and overly simplistic to move his audience into appropriate action. Just explaining that there is a problem is not motivating enough to help the situation. Kids don’t just wake up one day, nor do any, and know how to set goals for their futures or what tools are available to help themselves academically. These children need mentors, role models, people who are actively involved in helping them become successful, and not contributors to Forbes who think they are “rich” lecturing them on a way out of their condition.
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