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This past week Twitter was in an uproar (but when isn’t Twitter in an uproar?) about an article from Gene Marks called If I Was a Poor Black Kid. There were quite a few rebuttals, some rational, some name calling. Some of the rebuttals can be found here, here, here, here, and here.
As the mother of two children with unique personalities and learning styles, I am highly offended that this man had the audacity to sit in his (most likely) warm home after eating a (most likely) full mean, and write using his (most likely) un-shared PC or laptop.
I grew up in Southwest Philly and can probably make it to the homes in West Philly that he geared his article to in less than fifteen minutes.
I work daily in my community in Upper Darby. I see these ‘poor black kids’ daily. They wonder the streets, shooed from their homes because mom is either at work, high with her boyfriend, or the grandmother is the caretaker and she is tired of having to do this all over again. These kids are stigmatized when they show up in school wearing last year’s fashions because their caregiver had a choice of lights or new threads. Sometimes these caregivers are kids themselves, taking the adult role to protect their younger siblings. They ensure younger siblings make it to school on time, and have some type of lunch, book fair money, tokens if they aren’t able to ride the bus. Tuesday, I sit sit in truancy court where these children reply in a sullen manner to the judge that they don’t like school and the judge orders the parents to pay all the while the mom is begging for help from SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE! I have been a witness to a girl who played hooky (skipping school) to prevent the drug dealer her mother had an altercation with earlier that day from returning and finishing the beat down.
I ask Marks, do you know any of these kids? A kid that’s hungry, going home to fight off their mom’s latest move in lover from molesting them, pushed along in a system because the teacher wanted them out of their class, what the EFF do they care about Google Scholar or Skype? These kids are trying to survive. They want to make it to the next day and hope they have a permanent resident when they come home to school. Hope the power pilfered from the neighbor across the street hasn’t been discovered. Hope that their dad (most ofter he’s not anywhere in the picture) shows up for THIS week’s visit.
Marks, I would love to take you in a tour of my neighborhood, I’ll have the mayor, school superintendent, and the chief of police included so you will feel safe coming out of your ivory tower to tour. I’ll also gladly take the check that you wrote so we can implement these ideas into of there poor black kids homes so that they can succeed.
I look at the hustlers in the neighborhood. On some level, they have far succeeded YOU.
- Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
- Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
- Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
- Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.