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Old 12-15-2011, 05:27 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: TNC and Muscular Empathy

A couple more responses from ABL:

My point is this: Being a poor black child trying to succeed in school is difficult for myriad reasons: lack of resources, parents struggling to put food on the table (often working multiple jobs), teachers paying less attention to black students than non-black students. But being a black child — poor or not — is also difficult because teachers and administrators take a look at you and make assumptions about your intelligence and abilities based solely upon your skin color. In my case, even after I told my teachers and principal that the classes in which they had placed me were too easy, they didn’t believe me. It took my mother getting involved and putting her foot down.

Now how many mothers work jobs that allow them to take a day off to ensure that their child is getting the proper education? My guess is not many. Had my mother not taken that day off — or not been permitted by her employer to take that day off — I likely would not have gone on to take Calculus at Girls High. Maybe I wouldn’t have gone on to Oberlin, or UVA Law. And had my mother been black, who knows how her request to take a day off to talk to her daughter’s teachers would have been received by her employer. I wasn’t sick. There was no emergency. So who knows what would have happened to her — what would have happened to me.

Privilege and racism are embedded in the system, and grand statements like “Try harder! Get a computer (which a poor black kid likely can’t afford in the first instance)! Get into private school!” are offensive in their banality.

So Mr. Marks, the next time you want to opine about life as a poor black kid, just stop. You know nothing of growing up black. You know nothing of growing up poor. You know nothing of the systemic problems in education that result in many black kids, poor or otherwise, being left behind. It’s not a matter of just “trying super hard and really wanting to succeed.” Your assumptions are faulty, and frankly, you sound like a jackass. A well-meaning jackass, perhaps, but a jackass all the same.

So just stop.
And Campos (as poor black kid):
Gene Marks, business owner and column writer for Forbes and the New York Times, has written an excellent piece about how I can overcome the massive structural economic and cultural barriers that make it extremely probable I’ll continue to live a life of poverty here in the slums of West Philadelphia.

Marks points out that if I happen to be a good deal smarter and much luckier than most of my “cohort,” as they say in the University of Pennsylvania sociology class that I will never attend, all I need to do is work extremely hard in school, get my hands on some computer technology one way or another, use it to somewhat magically acquire the cultural capital regarding the world of education that Marks acknowledges was a birthright for his own children, and then squeeze some scholarships out of the limousine liberals on the boards of Choate or Phillips Exeter. This will allow me to get into college, which as Marks is well aware guarantees Americans today a solidly middle class — as a writer for Forbes he defines this as a household income of $250,000 per year or higher — lifestyle.

This is just a terrific set of unspeakably useful suggestions for someone in my admittedly daunting social situation. Thanks rich middle-aged white guy!
Uncle Ebeneezer Such a fine line between clever and stupid.
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