One person's thoughts may change the world
If I were a poor black kid, I would have read the Forbes article by Gene Marks about myself, and suddenly had an epiphany on how to pull myself out of being poor. Herman Cain said, ” if I don’t have a job, and I’m not rich, it’s my fault”. So, I am going to learn to stop feeling sorry for myself, know that it would be self-evident that there are many ways out of my situation, and that one of them is the use of technology. I also would know that no kids, neither the white kids crosstown are no smarter than me, or those kids in India and China, who are in regimented schools, and who’s country has made investments in education, are no better than I am. I also should know there is a whole fantastic world out there, much better than where I live. I have not been exposed to it, but I know it’s out there. I can make it, if I try, and if I’m lucky.
There are a few minor obstacle, but I know I can over come them. I probably don’t have a live in father, and my mother may be under educated. She cares for me, but she is working, unlike what Newt Gingrich says, that my mother and father are lazy, and they have no work ethic. So, according to Newt, I’m lazy as well, but hey, I’m going to prove him wrong too. If I can just help get those child labor laws changed so I can learn some work ethics, and get a part-time job, I’d be better off.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, cause I need to get my reading, writing and math skills up to a certain level so I can apply for one of those part-time jobs so I won’t be so lazy. Technology, the one key thing that us poor black kids can use become a productive citizen in this country, is my way out. Remarkable statement Gene, but you forgot one small element, I don’t have WiFi at my home, that is if I even have a home. But to make it less of an excuse, lets say I have one Gene. But, I still don’t have WiFi, to get to all those wonderful websites of learning, especially google Scholar, or Wikipedia. Since I don’t have WiFi, I walk up to the local library in my neighborhood, but because of cutbacks, the library’s hours are limited, or even worse, the branch near my home is closed. So I go up to the local coffee store, which is many miles away, and I have to magically get there so how, catching the bus and borrow money from someone, because, I’m a black kid… and I’m poor. So I walk into Starbucks, or Caribou, or any business with free WiFi, but there is one small problem, I’m a poor black kid, and I don’t have a laptop, dang. That lazy thing is really causing me a problem. By me being so poor and lazy, I can’t get that computer, which is the gateway to the world for me.
And when I get to my neighborhood school, I want to learn, but, I didn’t eat this morning, so I’m hungry and can’t focus. Oh, I know Gene, I’m suppose to pull myself up by my bootstraps, So I have to ignore my stomach, or complain to my teacher that I’m hungry because I didn’t have breakfast, and that my mother didn’t get me to school early enough to get the Federally subsidizes breakfast program cause she had to rush to work. So my teacher brings food to the room, so I can eat, but I’m distracted cause I’m enjoying my food, and I’m not learning that much.
But that’s OK Gene because somehow I know my situation is going to get better. Technology is still going to help me, and I’m going to use Java and MySQL database to help me develop an application using the android phone my mother has. How do I know all of that, well the one time I went to the computer learning lab at my school, I went to google Scholar and it helped me formulate a plan while I was using Wikipedia to look up some information on my history assignment. Thank God Java and the android development module is free, but wow, if I only had a laptop to download it on, I could get myself out of this mess. Too bad I didn’t have a father like Gene or Newt, I’d be in a better situation right now. But that’s OK, because it’s hard, but I’m special, I just have to work harder, and have a bit of luck.
Oh and I still have an issue of getting home from school, because I stay later because they also have a dinner program at the school to make sure I get something on my stomach before I get home. Because I’m poor, I may not eat after getting home ( that is the assumption), because my mother and father are lazy and don’t care too much about me. Actually they are still at work and don’t have time to get home to make sure I have a balanced meal. So I eat at school, then off for home I go.
Because I have no access to a computer, I have no resource to look up information to put in my report that’s due. I’d love to use Diigo and Backpack to help me complete my homework that Gene recommended, but he forgot, I’m poor… and black. Not poor and white. Not poor and hispanic, but poor and black, which is really, really tough. He forgot my neighborhood that can be hard to navigate sometimes because of gangs, drugs, and abandoned homes.
Now, to give you a real world experience, when in undergrad, I worked one summer at a People’s Community Service, which provided services for the elderly and summer programs for young people. For the first 3 weeks, I worked with the elderly, and to my surprise, I learned a few things. They talked to me, told me their stories, there ups and downs in their lives. Many were first generation immigrants. Some had lived through the depression, served in the armed services, and they all came to the United States for better opportunity. The rest of the summer, I went to work at the center for the summer program with the kids. Stark contrast, but equally as rewarding. It was there I got my “epiphany”. We all have are own stories some of use have hard luck ones, other are easy, and some uneventful. Mine was hard luck, or so I thought. I listened to some of these children’s stories. Talked to them. Got on a few of them for their behavior, and some of them had heart breaking stories to which explained their behavior. their stories, their lives forced me to “right my own ship”. Forced me to look at myself in a different light. Forced me to wear their shoes and see what they had to live. I was also fortunate to impart some of my knowledge to them, and helped them to cope with what they had to deal with at home, and in their lives. But, trust me, I was the luckier of the two. They taught me many things I had no idea that was happening to less fortunate people. And that was 30 years ago.
It’s amazing that Gene Marks can come up with all these assumptions and solutions for black lazy children like me, without having to have one day to wear my shoes. Sure, he may have donated some time to feed the poor. Sure he has given to the Salvation Army. Sure his church may have had a food drive, or donated items to a family. But he has no idea, nor does his counterpart, Newt Gingrich on what it’s going to take to bring up the standards of children, all children who are classified as poor ( not just poor black children ). I could go on telling my story, but what good is it unless you’ve worn my shoes, and not just for a day or for a few hours passing out a plate full of food for those who are under privileged. People like Gene need to get in the trenches in order for them to understand. All I need, is a good breakfast, lunch and dinner, a computer, and a place to study and work on my software development skills… Java, MySQL, Android, Jumbla, WordPress, and stop being so lazy, cause with a little luck, I can get out of all this….
Happy Holidays Gene, Newt, Herman and the rest of ‘yall…