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Sometimes it’s better to say nothing

(I’m re-posting this one. Enjoy.)

Gene Marks, contributor to Forbes magazine, decided that he needed to write advice for the black community. Now, he doesn’t want to give advice to all of the black community, just to “poor black kids.” I find it relatively amusing that a business and technology writer would want to write about sociology in Forbes magazine. You would figire that Gene Marks had grown up in a poor black neighborhood and “pulled himself up by his bootstraps” in order to hand out advice to “poor black kids.” Nope. The fact that Mister Marks is completely unqualified to give any advice doesn’t seem to stop him at all.

Now I’m reminded of that scene in the classic movie The Graduate. You remember when Dustin Hoffman… Instead of me explaining what happens just watch the clip –

Basically Gene Marks yammers on about hard work and a little bit of luck and then he hits on it… technology. Young inner-city black kids need to use technology in order to get ahead (like plastics, it is some sort of magic potion). He then goes into a nauseating list of websites that have tons of information available. All a young black child has to do is get a computer and the Internet and he or she can be successful. It is that simple. The fact that this is one of the most condescending pieces of drivel that has ever been written on the Internet doesn’t seem to faze Mr. Marks.

A recent study details one of the major flaws in Gene Marks’s logic. 33% of households making less than $25,000 a year don’t have Internet access. 27% of black families and 17% of white families do not have any Internet access. It is hard for me understand how families who are struggling to put food on the table and keep the lights on are going to be able to afford a computer and broadband Internet access. Do all these families just lack the type of moxie that Gene Marks is talking about? Or to they lack the MONEY necessary to do these things?

If the problem (of poverty) were easy to solve, it would’ve been solved hundreds of years ago. Simply giving a child a computer with high-speed Internet access is only a fraction of the solution to the problem. First of all, who is going to maintain the computer? Who’s going to add the antivirus software? When the computer freezes up, who’s going to fix it? When the antivirus software is not updated and the latest mega-virus melts the hard drive, what then? Who is going to teach the children how to use the computers? Sure, computers are much easier to use today than they were 10 or 15 years ago, but they still require some instruction. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t think that children can get ahead with computers. Today’s computers, along with Internet access, can open up a world of knowledge. But to assume that all that needs to be done to end poverty in the black community is to give people some Internet access and a few computers is craziness.

There are several thoughtful responses to this absolutely clueless treatise. They can be found here and here.

(I’m sorry, but I just can’t help myself. I must continue. First of all, if you want to fix poverty, how about making these ghettos safe? Secondly, how about jobs where people can make a living wage? Thirdly, how about schools with adequate facilities that would include computers and Internet access? These are just a few of my suggestions to improve inner-city conditions and therefore help these “little black kids.” Oh, if you (Mr. Marks) really have something to add to this conversation, how about writing in a magazine that is read by normal folks and not in Forbes!?)

By |2012-01-05T07:23:00-04:00January 5th, 2012|Race|2 Comments

Monday Morning Grab Bag

I’ve been staring at the computer trying to get motivated for the last couple of hours. I need some more caffeine.

  • I love basketball. The game is so simple yet so hard to play. I played basketball in high school and played intramurals in college. I played a lot at medical school and then, as my workload increased in residency and my free time decreased, I played less and less basketball. This brings me to the NCAA tournament nicknamed, “March Madness.” For the most part, I find watching college basketball to be frustrating. Frequently, ego and moxie override common sense and prudence and actually hurt the team. The University of North Carolina lost to the University of Kentucky because they didn’t play as a team. The University of Kentucky only sort of played as a team and that is probably why they won. There was more than one occasion when I was yelling at the television screen for a player not to take some ill-advised shot. This is one of the reasons why I do enjoy watching Butler play. They really play together as a team. Each member seems to understand their role and is willing to make the extra pass to get a high percentage shot. Anyway, I’ll try to watch the Final Four this weekend. Maybe if I pre-medicate myself with an antipsychotic…
  • The New York Times has a nice editorial on financial reform. The fact that financial reform needs rescue is somewhat disturbing. Conservatives have turned the whole financial debacle into a need for more deregulation. To even the most casual observer, deregulation can be said to be the reason for the Great Recession. We need more thoughtful regulation in order to rein in many of these rogue companies (Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America).
  • Professor William Cronon is under scrutiny. He’s a simple historian at the University of Wisconsin. He made the mistake of speaking out and not agreeing with the governor and the Republican majority. The Republicans are lashing out. They’re requesting a wide range of information from his e-mails. What is the purpose? To embarrass the professor? Or to teach the professor a lesson not to speak out?
  • Libyan rebels appear to be making progress, I think?
  • Just so we don’t forget, Republicans/conservatives have have a long history of voter suppression from poll taxes to the new voter ID laws.
  • I have no idea what to make of the fact that rainwater in Massachusetts appears to contain low levels of radiation. Paranoia?
  • I find it amusing that Lauren Ashburn has written a very nice article emphasizing our need for debate before entering into our Libyan war. I find it amusing because we really didn’t debate before we entered into Iraq. We didn’t really weigh the pros and cons of what was clearly going to be a major undertaking. We simply asked the Bush administration to check several boxes on the checklist and once all the boxes were checked, we proceeded. We have lost the ability to debate in this country. In my opinion, we will be a much better, safer and more responsible country once we learn to debate – honestly debate – with each other again.
  • Geraldine Ferraro is dead at age 75. Gloria Steinem is written a nice tribute to her. She is known as Walter Mondale’s running mate and a extremely ill-fated presidential run in 1984.

Bill Maher on Anti-Obama. Watch the Video –

So, what’s on your mind?

By |2011-03-28T10:13:42-04:00March 28th, 2011|Environment, Foreign Affairs, Obama administration, Party Politics|Comments Off on Monday Morning Grab Bag
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