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A Forbes article which has been making rounds around the blogosphere of stuff

If I was 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.
If I was a poor black kid I’d use the free technology available to help me study. I’d become expert at Google Scholar. I’d visit study sites like SparkNotes and CliffsNotes to help me understand books. I’d watch relevant teachings on Academic Earth, TED and the Khan Academy. (I say relevant because some of these lectures may not be related to my work or too advanced for my age. But there are plenty of videos on these sites that are suitable to my studies and would help me stand out.) I would also, when possible, get my books for free at Project Gutenberg and learn how to do research at the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia to help me with my studies. I would use homework tools like Backpack, and Diigo to help me store and share my work with other classmates.
I would use Skype to study with other students who also want to do well in my school. I would take advantage of study websites like Evernote, Study Rails, Flashcard Machine, Quizlet, and free online calculators.
Is this easy? No it’s not. It’s hard. It takes a special kind of kid to succeed. And to succeed even with these tools is much harder for a black kid from West Philadelphia than a white kid from the suburbs. But it’s not impossible. The tools are there. The technology is there. And the opportunities there.

Talk is cheap..

The opportunities are, so there is a ratio between these people.
It's not because there's technology that everybody will now become succesful, white people in Western countries can't afford things sometimes this guy talks about a BLACK kid.
i see the point in this article/blog, but i also see how it is very irrelevant, it can be taken as all kids, regardless of background, can be successful if you try hard at it. but on the other hand i dont agree with singling out poor black kids, even if its a statement to say that poor black kids have no excuse to act like little gangsters. idk im neutral slightly with this.
Was expecting this to go into Fresh Prince shit near the end....
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only having read the excerpt, so potentially out of context, this seems kinda stupid.

interesting comment:
Sir, as a white kid who grew up on welfare in a single-parent home and went on to graduate from Stanford, you might think that I would support you. Instead, I am so incredibly dissappointed in your ignorant “recipe” for success. I got into a magnet school that my mom found out about by sheer accident. I went to the library and read a lot because it was the only place with adequate heat and electricity. The problem? I got evicted more times than I can count. Our utilities got shut off so often. I did not, contrary to your “teacher friends’” assessment, have a computer at home. Had I known about any of these tools (likelihood is that I would not have and that my mother would have been even less likely to as a waitress working 15 hours a day 6 days a week), I still wouldn’t have been able to use them. What library system could accommodate all the poor kids (of any race) to help them to realize this goal? Where would I find the time to use these resources when I started to work at age 15? Where would I get my stamina to study “coding” when we didn’t have enough food to eat dinner that day? It is articles like these that perpetuate the systemic ignorance of the role class and race play on success and prevent us from real solutions. You clearly do not understand what it is like to be poor, and your blindness is a danger because this article will only reach those who are well enough to-do to have an impact on policies that directly affect your mythical “poor black kid.” And those policy makers will make terrible choices that entrench systemic racism and class division even further in our country. Shame on you.
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I'm sure being the faggot and being a complete outcast would be fun.

The beatings would be chill.
Of course there are opportunities for everyone, but some people get more than others.
Technology is not going to solve everything.
jiminizzle's comment about says it all really.

Whoever did the original blog has their head up in the clouds and show they don't really understand what they're commenting about.
When I saw "West Philadelphia" at the end of the article, I thought it was some weird Fresh Prince thing.
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can someone explain why the counter blog is more correct than the original blog? i dont quite understand where he is coming from.
and i think we were all disappointed it wasnt a fresh prince of bel air joke
Yeah, remember this one. What a dick. "Silly poor black kid, let me, middle-class white guy, tell you where you're going wrong."
...Yeah, I did not have time to read the entire thing, but from the excerpt that I read and the rest that I skimmed, the fact that a white middle-class kid with pretty groovy-looking college prospects only knew of about half of these resources he mentioned, and given the fact that computers that actually will work for more than four or five months will still be a few hundred dollars, well out of the reach of a single-parent welfare family, the suggestion that someone who will probably have to go to work immediately will have time to locate, acquire, learn how to apply, and apply all of these resources, that these sources will always be reliable, helpful, intelligible, and accurate, etc., and that they'll even want to do all this - not for not understanding or anything, but because a bad teacher kills a subject, and vice versa, and bad teachers seems a given in a hypothetical school defined only by being A. inner-city in the worst city, and B. being the worst inner-city school in the worst inner-city - is daft and ignorant.

I also don't get why the writer decided to highlight the race of our imaginary kid. It's not like black kids have a harder time learning, it doesn't seem relevant to me. Hell, with affirmative action and incentives for schools to fill racial quotas and quotas of students from impoverished backgrounds, you could even argue that it'd help in the long run. I'm not saying I think or don't think that, I'm just playing devil's advocate and saying it's a possibility. And if it's a possibility, it's nowhere near as, coincidentally, black-and-white, as the writer suggests.

tl;dr the article seems stupid and poorly thought-out, and affirms my faith that if all else fails, I have a career in journalism.

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Last edited by necrosis1193 at Dec 19, 2011,
Quote by jiminizzle
only having read the excerpt, so potentially out of context, this seems kinda stupid.

interesting comment:

I believe the guy's experience validated the point of the article. The Stanford guy attributed his success to reading voraciously in the library and from the excerpt, that is exactly what Marks proposed: a hardworking ethic which utilises the available resources.
Last edited by Cianyx at Dec 19, 2011,
The original blog is based around the same daft babble as the old theories of "social darwinism."

I'm a bit offended by it.
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Why specifically a black kid?

Probably in reference to the black-white score gap where blacks, on average, score lower than whites. Or that black people, on average, earn a lower household income than other races. But you're right. It could have been just a poor kid and it would still apply. Heck, any kid who could actually do what he proposed would go far
If I were a poor black kid, I would find the writer of this article and kill him.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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If I were a poor black kid, I would find the writer of this article and kill him.

Way to perpetuate a stereotype you racist swine.
The best part is how it kinda makes it sound like there's no excuse for not succeeding. Everything is there, you've just got to work for it. So naturally, I would.
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For a start, that computers and internet access are so cheap it's impossible to not be able to afford them is plain false.

To be able to actually study like this non-stop people need some stability in life. A poor person working all day to even make ends meet is not going to be able do this.

"Even bad schools have their best students" - maybe, but coming from a bad school in a bad area severely limits your opportunities, regardless of how intelligent you actually are.

In fact, the idea that being intelligent and having good grades will bring immediate success isn't true either. Not all jobs, especially in poor neighbourhoods, look at your application and go "all As!? Fantastic! Let's get him in!". You need skills, you need experience, and you need to actually have the opportunity to find these jobs in the first place. Not many big banks and offices advertise in the slums.
I think the biggest problem is that the wealthy white male who wrote the article was taught to strive for academic excellence when he was younger whereas most poor black kids are never told that they could/should become doctors so instead they strive to be rappers (lol, stereotype.) It's like saying "if I were the son of crazy religious nut parents, I'd study a variety of religions and be a tolerant atheist." No, you wouldn't. You'd probably be a crazy religious nut because you were told every day that God will smite you down if you shake hands with a Muslim.
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Notice towards the end of the text it says "It takes a special kind of kid to succeed."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? That anyone who isn't 'special' doesn't have a hope of succeding?

All 'success' is is having the ability to safely feed, clothe and shelter yourself and your loved ones, something that poor families all over the world, regardless of race, manage on a regular basis. There's nothing 'special' about success.
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i would be fizzin to waka flaka and bustin caps with my airsoft

Is it racist to think thats true (probably is..but who cares)
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Way to perpetuate a stereotype you racist swine.

I would kill him regardless.

...modes and scales are still useless.

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she was saying things like... do you want to netflix and chill but just the chill part...too bad she'll never know that I only like the Netflix part...
This article is totally right. All you have to do is work hard and then you'll have everything you need!

i don't know why i feel so dry

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Yeah, remember this one. What a dick. "Silly poor black kid, let me, middle-class white guy, tell you where you're going wrong."

Pretty much.
I got a job at Forbes after growing up as a poor kid without grades.

Not kidding, I had a reasonable but very financially unstable upbringing and dropped out of a tough school at 15 without grades. Last year I wrote to Forbes and offered examples of my writing, they gave me an internship and I've since been published numerous times and am now working with a particularly high-up editor on a book she's writing. If it's relevant, which I don't believe it is in England, I'm not white.

The article bothered me. I don't think it's fair to say "if I was in that situation I'd work my way out of it" without having done so. Ideas are easy to come by sometimes and hard work comes naturally to a few people, but the combination is a rare thing. The notion that grades = success is flawed in my opinion (although I do think grades are a good thing to have) and the idea that a poor kid with few local role models will suddenly think outside the box he's been born and raised in is optimistic at best.
I totally agree with him. He's right. Schools, corporations, and charities have been bending over backwards for years trying to give young black people the resources and oportunities they need to succeed. Of course they can't help every single child, but they are trying. But as a whole it's not working as well as it could be. And it's because the desire to want to learn and be successful has to start from the inside, ultimately.

And to all the people who have responded with statements about this guy needing to get over himself and "he doesn't know how hard it is"'s attitudes like yours that are reinforcing the culture of complacency and laziness that plague the black community. You're basically telling them "You know. Maybe it is too hard for you so just do whatever the **** you want." Coddling them isn't helping. Sometimes you have to light a fire under someone's ass to get them to move.

The guy is right. It's sound advice for someone of any race. But due to the enormous load of white guilt that so many people still carry around, it's somehow an insult to hold them to a higher standard.
The guy gets paid by the page view.

Does this article make a little more sense to you know?


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Lulz, nobody visits sparknotes or cliffnotes to study. They use it to not read the book assigned to them.
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If I was a rich white man I would write an article about being a poor black boy.
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