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Opinion: Letter from a poor black kid: Baratunde Thurston responds to Forbes' Gene Marks
"With that one article, you solved the problems of millions," Baratunde Thurston writes. "Please don't stop with poor black kids!"
December 14th, 2011
07:04 PM ET

Opinion: Letter from a poor black kid: Baratunde Thurston responds to Forbes' Gene Marks

Editor's note: Baratunde Thurston is a comedian, writer, co-founder of the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics and director of digital for The Onion. His first book, “How To Be Black,” will be published in February 2012 by Harper Collins.

"Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley" airs at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on December 18 on CNN.

UPDATE: Read Gene Marks' response to Baratunde Thurston.

By Baratunde Thurston, Special to CNN

The following letter is a response from a hypothetical child to Gene Marks' article in Forbes, titled "If I Were A Poor Black Kid." While completely fabricated, the letter below has a stronger basis in reality than does Marks'. In his article, Marks, a business and technology contributor to Forbes, argues poorly that poor black children should use technology to improve their station in life. The article is terrible.

Dear Mr. Gene Marks,

I am a poor black kid. I don't have great parental or educational resources. I'm not as smart as your kids. These are facts. In 2011.

The one smart thing I do everyday is read Forbes. It's what all us poor black kids do. Forbes is constantly reporting on issues of relevance to me and my community. This week, I found your article "If I Were A Poor Black Kid" printed out and slid under my door like all Forbes articles.

Thank you Mr. Marks. You have changed everything about my life. Thanks to your article, I worked to make sure I got the best grades, made reading my number one priority and created better paths for myself. If only someone had suggested this earlier.

But that was just the beginning of how your exceptionally relevant, grounded and experience-based advice changed my life. Thanks only to your article, I discovered technology.

Why did my teachers not teach this? Why isn't this technology mentioned anywhere in popular culture? I don't understand, but you do.

You listed so many different websites and resources, at first it was overwhelming. But I didn't let that deter me. I thought to myself, "If a successful, caring, complicated, intelligent man like Gene Marks says to do it, then I'd better head over to rentcalculators.org right now!"

I did not stop there. I became an expert at the CIA World Factbook, started using Evernote and made it my goal to get into one of those private schools you wrote about. Before your article, I never wanted anything more for myself. I used Google (thanks for the tip!), found the names and addresses of the school admissions officers, and showed up outside of their homes. It's like they were waiting for me. They smiled, waved and immediately told me about their secret scholarship programs.

Private school was exactly like you said it would be. I went straight to the guidance counselor, and I said, "You know everything there is to know about financial aid, grants, minority programs and the like."

And she said, "I sure do! And even though I don't know your name, I'm going to help you get summer employment at a law firm or a business owned by the 1% where you could meet people and show off your stuff." I love showing off my stuff, sir. You have no idea.

I took more of your advice. I got "technical." I had no idea I could get technical. I learned software!

From there it was just a quick hop to a top college, marketable skills and an immediate job offer from a businessman starved for talent. Did someone say recession? I can't see it!

The amazing part is that I did all of this in two days! All thanks to your article!

TIME: If I were a middle class white guy writing about being a poor black kid

I didn't know any of these opportunities existed. My parents and I were too tired. We were all ignorant, and quite frankly, I could have figured it out sooner on my own if I'd had the brains to do so. Your article provided those brains. It wasn't about my parents or ways to improve the school system or how to empower the community. It had nothing to do with history or accumulated privilege or social psychology. No, I simply needed to want success more and combine that with technology. You taught me that I can do all this by myself, and I have!

With that one article, you solved the problems of millions. Imagine the good you could do with three or four articles! Please don't stop with poor black kids! What about children trapped in sex trafficking? How about undocumented migrant workers? And of course, there's women. Have you ever wondered why there aren't more women CEOs? I'm sure you have. You've thought about everything and figured everything out. You are a great man. Thanks again for teaching me about technology.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Baratunde Thurston.

soundoff (1,063 Responses)
  1. Gonfis

    You are as pathetic as they come. Do you really feel better when you put someone else down? You are the knd that can almost make someone almost believe in evolution. Your ignorance is amazing.

    December 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jimbo Jambo

    I'm a white bread from a middle class family that grew up in the burbs, got decent grades in high school because my parents made me, went to college becuase my parents made me, got a job becuase I didn't want my parents making me do things anymore and now I'm a middle class white man. I have no advice to give the poor black community, all I know is I don't feel guitly about what I have and I feel as though I have earned it, it was hard work and I can't imagine how hard a poor black kid would have to work to end up in my shoes. I do know this though, it's just not going to fall out of the sky for you or be handed over to you, so I guess your on your own with no advice from this white man becuase I'm too ignorant to give any according to this article. I'm just going to enjoy life and let you all figure it out on your own.

    December 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Smith

      Great response Jimbo! Grew up as a very poor white guy, made myself into a sucess, can't offer anything to those not willing to listen..

      December 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      Bravo: My parents were what we called poor during the fifties yet my sisters and me were made to believe that if we prepared ourselves we didn't have to be poor. Education is the way out of poverty. This has to be the responsibility of the parents to stress upon our children. This is how we made sure our children would be prepared when they left our nest.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AL in West Palm Beach

    You are aware your name means toilet in an language I speak right?

    just looking at your post, it makes perfect sense.

    December 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JCG

    Many of the dolts who commented here need to go back to English class to learn what satire, sarcasm, and irony mean. Baratunde Thurston may be no Jonathan Swift, but the rest of you are simply "not too swift." No amount of 21st Century technology is going to help you folks get up to speed – you missed that train when it left the station.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    Oh and Jeff...Here's another fact to consider..as We in America consume and grow...the water supply and food supply in Asia is being tainted to the point of non-drinkable and food will become non-edible...because of the water system directly...so more reality for ya...We are destroying Asia from literally the inside...Again sorry for your loss!

    December 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ray

    This article should be posted in the "Comedy" section. It can't be taken seriously as a response to a very well written article. This article is just crab-in-a-barrel thinking.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CEH

    I do not want the black community to get its act together.....where will I get my drugs then?

    December 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • inclwyr

      Meth is produced (98%) rate, by the white community as are other easily accessible drugs so if you are ignorant enough to believe one race controls the entire drug distrubtion in the US – you are truly missing a life outside that trailer

      December 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • jwk1

        98%? How did you come up with that number? Oh, wait, you are high now.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Old Guy

        I think he meant the meth was 98% pure...

        December 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Old Guy

    And, by the way, it's even a poor black kid...

    December 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Arick

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AL in West Palm Beach

    Well, Well, Well

    I'm black, I live in a good neighbourhood... Hell, I graduated high school when I was 16 and by 23 I had a Masters Degree. I teach kids (usually immigrants here less than 5 years) how to succeed. Yes, it takes technology, time, a different breed. Though, I took the time to teach them to be ready to hear these words, "I don't think you can make it because of bs, bs, bs, bs."

    Now, don't take me to your poor neighbourhood to show me you know where it is; take me to your poor neighbourhood to show me how you've helped (not with money) at least one family to get themselves out of there.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Old Guy

    So, a black guy, using technology, responds to an article about how poor black kids can help themselves through technology and other means and says that the premise of the article is baseless and irrelevant to a black kid?

    I don't get it.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • AL in West Palm Beach

      Umm, the poor black kid might have a computer and a smart phone...but without the proper guide, or teacher. it would be like giving a hungry 3 year a knive with a bull tied in front of him.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Old Guy

        Al- I understand that completely. kids need mentors and guides from people who have some wisdom. No doubt. I read your post and am grateful you have invested your time, as have I.

        My point, poorly said, was that it's ironic that the writer, posing as a poor black child, uses the technology advocated in the other article to poo-poo the article's premise.

        But let's be honest, a poor anybody isn't poor if they have a computer and internet.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. calvin

    Don't suck up to these white men who write these things just to feel good about themselves. Their assessment of "poor black kids" is so grossly misinformed they miss the fact that the vast majority of those "poor black kids" are happier, as well adjusted, and as satisfied with their existence as their angst-ridden white middle class peers. White people should stick to what they know and quit their patronizing, self-self serving assumptions about blacks of any kind. You want to write about somebody in need of pity? There are plenty of rural, poor whites who need even more attention.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • calvin

      Exactly my point. These articles are just opportunities for this type of creature to anonymously emerge. CNN does the country a great disservice by giving national forums to these miserable subhuman beings.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Smith

      Calvin,
      Your an idiot if you really think tjis..

      December 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • calvin

        No, Joe. I have taught, studied and wrote about race for the past twenty years. I was also one of those young kids, was brought up in one of those communities, and still have strong ties to one of those communities. I suspect that your perspective includes none of those experiences.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • calvin

        And please forgive me for writing "wrote" instead of "written" as is proper.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rebel American

    Of course Baratunde Thurston doesn't like Gene Marks article.
    He wants to see "Poor Black Kids" move forward the traditional way, the way he did. With welfare hand outs, and Governmental regulations designed to give Blacks the boost they can't achieve with out liberal white people helping them out. We all know they can't do it on their own. They just can't handle all the work.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • AL in West Palm Beach

      Really?

      Try this for brain power:
      1. essais de t'exprimer dans cette langue.
      2. try to express yourself in this language.
      3. eseye pale lang sa-a.
      4. puedes used hablar con mio in este langua?

      oh...this is from a black guy.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Black

      REALLY GOOD one REBEL.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. White guy

    Dear poor black kid,

    You are welcome.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    Get a job. There are tons out there. The classifieds are as full as ever.

    Oh, you want a great job that pays you more than you're worth? Quit listening rap, quit smoking weed, get an education and work your ass off like I did.

    I have zero empathy for the so called poor black child. I had it just as tough.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel C

      Male white priviledge anyone? I promise you, from the bottom of my heart, that you did not have it as hard as he did. Society has always worked to make you better. Society has always worked to keep poor black kids and other minorities (including women) down. You are blinded by your own successes. I am pleased you have made it so far, but please realize it was not all your own doing.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • jwk1

        Yeah, white male is the only creature in America who is not allowed to complain about anything. And he is the only one everybody else can openly accused of anything.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Black

      good one JOHN.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      But yea, white kids don't listen to rap music or smoke weed, right?

      That reminds me, I'm a poor black kid who doesn't listen to rap or smoke weed. Are you sure you got an education? Because if you did (at least a proper one), you wouldn't make such ignorant generalizations.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Naranjello

    A lot of poor black kids face long odds at succeeding in this world. The main problem that I see living in a predominantly black and hispanic community is that education is seen as a white thing. If a black kid get's straight A's and studies hard he is lambasted by his peers for "acting white". I'm not quite sure what a black person is supposed to act like. That being said it is primarily an african-american phenomena. Caribbean children are held to such high standards as children that they almost have no choice but to succeed. Thug culture is ruining Black America, black kids don't want to live in a nice tidy middle-class neighborhood. They want women, drugs, money and a 300m. I miss the days when black pride was about being better than the white man and being cultured on their african roots.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi79

      We are American, not immigrants. African- American is a social structure to continue to keep us a arms distance.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Black

      good one NARANJELLO.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zorabel

      U R so right!

      December 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Mechonna

    AL lets not forget about the myriades of androgynous BOSS HOGG look alikes pulling out ebt cards at Winn DIXIE and Piggly Wiggly fresh out of swamp trailers.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jason S

    Whats so bad about being a poor black kid? Just go gang banging and make a rap album or become a basketball player. I wish I was a poor black kid. It's easy for a black man to get a white woman too. Whats the problem?

    December 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duke

      Racism is a ALIVE and well as long as black people keep it that way- throwing out that RACE card- PLEASE Stop it you're all wearing me OUT

      I KNOW many successful black men and women who went to school & listened to their parents & doing quite well, same for whites & Mexicans and i know the OTHER side of these people- trailer trash comes in all colors

      BUTS you GOTS to stops playing the Race card- we are falling over ourselves to NOT be racist- why dont you try

      December 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Black

        good one DUKE.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Erin

    It doesn't matter if your white or black, pink yellow or brown, very few peoples lives are ever truely struggle free. My grandmother got a 7th grade education in Ireland in the 1910's. She came here, had 10 children and she and my grandfather put 8 through college. My aunts, uncles and father grew up with 3 bedrooms and 12 people. You want to see poor, you make a single income stretch to cover 12 before the days of food stamps and public assistance of any kind and the pride of person that wouldn't have let them take it anyway. That said, all 4 of my aunts are teachers. At least three have masters. The boys (golf pro, welder, military, food service, government office, business owner) are mostly retired now. 1 of my uncles made a career of the military and 4 of the 6 boys served in it. But even in their successful lives, they or their children have had struggles. I was raised in an environment of both comfort and poverty. I can't tell you how angry I get as I work my two jobs to make ends meat to see someone ahead of me at the grocery store pay with food stamps when they're nails are expensively manicured. It really doesn't matter white black pink or purple. If you want to work, you will find a way. If you want to succeed you will find a way. What we need to teach these poor children is not satire but drive, determination, backbone and work ethic.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  20. KO

    Hilarious. Four thumbs up. Baratunde Thurston is exceptionally brilliant with his letter responding to Mr. Mark’s article. This is the first time I hear of a comedian by the name of B. Thurston but I’ll be sure to follow his work. Keep doing what you do best Baratunde. Thanks for the entertainment.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  21. YABBI

    o

    December 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Tom

    This guy is a comedian? Seriously? Sounds to me like his real talent lies in making an ash out of himself, because he is certainly a success.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • LindaN.,

      He's using Satire just like Jonathan Swift in A Modest Proposal and Paul Beatty...

      December 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Jules

    Both articles, and society at large, ignore one big fait hairy gorilla sitting in the middle of the room. Research done by psychologists and sociologists indicate that in the black community, if you want to get an education and succeed, you are seen by your peers as "too white." When the culture you identify with immediately stigmatizes you for wanting more than what you have, especially when you are poverty stricken, how can you possibly succeed without being a traitor? The culture must be changed from within. White folk lecturing about how to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" will only going to be seen as condescending racists.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • j p smith

      what empirical research is the source of your absurd premise about the african american community. . . let me guess. . .fox news, glenn beck or rush limbaugh. . . please, do yourself a favor and come to brooklyn and talk . . .

      December 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  24. iamwired

    What ever happened to Baratunde's show on the Science Channel? I used to love that show.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  25. red

    you are an idiot!

    December 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  26. liz

    I was delighted to read the cleverly written reply by Mr. Thurston and I am eager to purchase his upcoming book. He has a brilliant writing voice and I wish I could meet him. He is very inspiring the creative way he honestly responded to the previous published Forbes article.

    I find many of the comments here so odd as if people have never heard of sarcasm used in writing- I hope the rude commentors take time to read it again from the perspective of the person who wrote it and his background listed at the top of the article.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      You must be his mother.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel C

      I agree with you. People don't seem to realize the SARCASM in this post. As to those saying the article was only saying it took a special kid – what about the ones that aren't "special?" Are they doomed to live in poverty? Stop comparing the lives of others to your own and realize everyone has something different working against them.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  27. mane

    Amid all the sweeping generalisations and stereotypes, the fact remains that the blackman's ancestors worked and died from sunrise to sunset for centuries without pay to build this country. Hell, forget about all the profits the whiteman made from the blackman's labor and talk about the violence against blackmen, rape of their women and children and the indignities therefrom. I think the blackman is the epitome of strength because they still have their sanity.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • jwk1

      I can take you to black neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. and you"ll see for yourself – there is very little sanity there. Sad, but true.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • mane

        No jwk1...let me take you to a trailer park meth lab where insanity reigns supreme. The blackman may blames decades of oppression. What say you white man? where's the insanity from?

        December 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jwk1

      Mane, for starters let's compare murder rates among blacks and whites.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • mane

        Ok. jwk1...what are the parameters? Do we include serial killers?

        December 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  28. J-Nyce

    This is all garbage...I am an African American male...and this whole conversation goes back to New Gingrich's comment that kids in the inner city don't have any work ethic, becuase the parents don't...Which is the same old Jim Crow trash that has been spewed since the turn of the century. " You black folk don't work hard enough" even though you work for me...so stop complaining and get back to work. Don't look for any hand outs..or what's actually
    Due to you...Yeah I stole your daddy's land...but you can buy it back from me if your son gets into the NFL. All the other races are fine...they like you alot...They fry your chicken and sell you Menthol cigarettes and beer on almost every corner. Wow...You graduated college...You can actually read!!...and your kid really lives in this neighborhood...Can you show me proof of address for him to go to school. Are you a Rapper or football player...Wow not a Drug dealer huh? Well you can live here just as long as you don't make more money than me....Cause I'm checking...Now That's racism and what we go through every day. I am at my JOB of Ten Years right now...and I am appalled by some your comments....My son goes to a great school and gets awsome grades...but Cring at the fact that he will have to encounter some of you in life as he grows into adulthood.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I heard Gingrich's comment, and this is far from the way I took it. He was suggesting ways to offer kids entry level jobs, training, and a way up out of generational poverty. Dude, you need to chill.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • What's funny...

      You are so on point... Personally I'm sick of all this trying to figure the Black folks out "talk"... Other races seem to be mesmerized how much stronger blacks get with time... When I see My fellow Sisters and Brothers, I make every effort to show my support... This journey was long and hard but we are there... we are making it... Ain't no Mountain High enough!!!

      December 15, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • ES

      Do you realize that majority of american population came to the US long after the slavery was abolished? I am a white russian immigrant, my own ancestors were slaves in Russia. What do I owe any black person in the US for "building this country"? Nothing. Everything I have I earned myslef with my hard work.
      All I hear from blacks in the US how they were wronged all those years ago. It means nothing. There are plenty of people in this world who were wronged and still struggle to survive to this day. Should they also complain and keep waiting for someone to take care of them? They don't have this luxury, though, because they will be long dead before any help arrives. Unemployed bBlacks in the US live better that russian middle class.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • RJ

        I salute you. I wish more saw it this way too.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • mjennifer19

        Let's add in how their own African Kings stole them to sell to the white people. Granted, white people created a trade, but their own people sold them into slavery. So who's fault is it really?

        December 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  29. DDXS

    you mean in your mouth.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Zeleni

    Nailed it!

    December 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Mahma

      Much ado about nothing.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joe Mahma

        What Gingrich was talking about was "generational welfare," where the grand children of long term welfare recipients never learn to work because they are raised by parents who were raised by parents who didn't work.

        He should have just spoke more frankly, but I guess we can't pick on welfare recipients in America.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • jheron

        Joe Mahma,It also in combination with other interviews by Newt where he has targeted black people specifically when he refers to poor people. It is not that much of a stretch to assume he was still referring to black people when he was talking about the inner city poor having no work ethic.
        I think Mr. Gingrich might be surprised to see how hard most people will work if they have the opportunity.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Stella

    This is an irrational response to the logical point that it helps to actively pursue what you want. I didn't think Mark's article implied it would be easy or only take days, like this writer assumes. And it doesn't happen easily or in just days for most white people either. It's racist to assume it does. Telling people to strive is a positive message. The good life only looks easy on TV. Most really successful people have worked their rears off and been aggressive in asking for what they want in life. This writer is all offended, teaching people to give up and whine at the same time.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  32. DDXS

    You Mean Best... : )

    December 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  33. ronincalifi

    Black kids should be offended by this "fabricated letter" Black kids are rather intelligent and and most are technically savvy. Smart phones and other portable computing. devices abound with young people regardless of race. It is a myth perpetuated by black leaders that the black aren't upwardly mobile. They want to maintain their power. Look at the number of black lawmakers, mayors, councilmen, governors, Police Chiefs...engineers, teachers, celebrities and on and on. This wind bag needs to retract this nonsense.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • mane

      You must be pulling these numbers from your azz. Go take some racism pills and get your numbers straight.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Daniel

    Most people commenting on this article need to take a breathe and realize that they are to thick to understand his cleverness or his point. He is to sarcastic, oh there is not such thing as racism, they just want to take my money, Oh My God shut up you twits seriously. Stop stuffing down your throat all your fear and hate, you guys have the intellect of a 10 year old and the emotions of a five year old.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  35. WDinDallas

    You are welcome poor black kid. Now, make sure you explain this to your mother when she makes bail and your father...if you know who it is. God Bless!

    December 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • RH

      Thanks for making my city look intelligent. You stupid bigot.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDinDallas

      It's satire!

      December 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  36. DC

    This may be a surprise to some folks, but there are actually more White people living in poverty than Blacks in this country. Do the math using latest 2010 census data; whites make up 73% of the population, whereas blacks make up 13% of the population. That translates to 226 million whites and 40 million blacks respectively. The poverty rate for whites is 10% and the rate for blacks is 27%. Multiply that out, and you have 22 million whites living in poverty and 11 million blacks living in poverty. So while the poverty 'rate' may be higher for blacks, the population figures show that the number of whites living in poverty is twice as large as the number of blacks living in poverty. And I'm 'asian' by the way, so I don't have a stake in this, but it seems like CNN only reports facts and figures that are consistent with whatever slant they are trying to push.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      While there may be more total White people in poverty, the fact that Blacks are more than twice as likely to be in poverty is the problem. This is not to say that the 22 million white people in poverty do not need help, only that Blacks are disproportionally poor when compared to whites.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • int19h

        I dare say that it's that whole notion that you must segregate people into "black" and "white" and "latino", and then look at each group separately (and then conclude that one is "disproportionally poor") is the problem. Stop treating people according to their origin and color of their skin in _all_ matters, and start treating them as American citizens that they all are.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYCChristopher

      You are talking about numbers that aren't relevant. The numbers that matter are that we, white people, have a one in ten chance of being impoverished; blacks have almost three times that at 2.7 in ten.

      While poverty is something we all need to work on, we have to stand together to make any progress. Our history of being against one another for whatever reasons has kept us entrenched against one another as the upper class has surged in income. Ever read The Prince? Keeping us against one another is a way to control us. We are all one color; poor. Let's stand together and fix this. If we keep fighting amongst ourselves, we will not make things better.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • danny

      don't you know its not PC to worry about or try to help any white people...you must be a racist or a nazi

      December 15, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Wilhem

    A professor said, "White people don't know anything about black people, black people don't know anything about black people, what black people learned about black people, they learned from white people". Enough said.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Your 100 percent right about that. I am a black man and I have learned nothing about my history or my culture and im a tell you why. Because I live in this great country called America. I have learned nothing but your history and where you come from and what you and your parents have done. We have been made to glorify your people and work for and be like you. We didn't and don't have anybody to look up to and that's the reason the black race is so far behind. Until we have our own schools our own culture and our own values we will continue to be the same "black". They don't call us black because of the color of our skin. They call us black because we have no idea of who we are and where we are going. Just think if you grew up only learning about Malcom X, Marcus Garvy, and Louis Farrakhan were would you be. Who would you want to be like. See it starts from school because the school system that you attended didn't and wasn't right for me. Until we get our own schools and our own heroes we will continue to be just that BLACK. Willie Lynch was no fool and he is still fooling all of us still to this day. Wake up people. And i am not blaming nobody for this. I just think the whole civil rights movement was messed up. Instead of trying to sit in the same classroom and use the same water fountain we should have build our own schools and our own water fountains. You cant be half way free. Your either free or a slave one or the other and as of right now I see no difference in today's times than I do in the old days. Its still the same if not worse.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • An American

        How about this. You live in America. You are an American. Don't complain about learning AMERICAN history and AMERICAN values. It's people like you that are keeping and will keep this country divided. It's funny how racism is only pinned on the white person, when clearly your post was very racist.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • int19h

        >> Just think if you grew up only learning about Malcom X, Marcus Garvy, and Louis Farrakhan were would you be. Who would you want to be like.

        Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan?

        Why, you'd probably be a religious extremist stoning your women to death for "adultery" and wearing short skirts, and hating whites for having the wrong skin color. If that's what you want, there are plenty of places on the Earth where it can be had – say, Somalia under al-Shabaab.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • danny

        David is actually correct – multiracial societies do not work. Integration has damaged the black family and community. the problem is that no one is honest about this issue and whoever tries to talk about it is shut down and immediately called a racist and a nazi.

        December 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • David

        int19h: We grew up learning about George Washington, Ben Franklin, and all the others and what where they? Slave owners, disease carrying, racists pigs. Teachers and the actual writers of American history tweaked the school text to make them look like hero's when in all honesty they were wicked men who took this land and that's what we are founded on. The only reason Malcolm and all the others were preaching what they were preaching is because they got tired of your great great grandfather kicking them when they were down. If you go to prison right now and get rapped and kicked and get treated less than a man by all the black inmates in the prison eventually you will start to hate them and it will make you join the KKK or what ever protection you have while your end there. Its not your fault that others don't accept you and want to cause harm to you just because your white. Same for them and that's what they had to deal with. Black people don't have to really worry about things like that no more but there are plenty of systems that are here in america that is put there only to make certain people suffer. The police are still killing Innocent black guys everyday. Black people are still going to prison at a much higher rate than whites and that's where they get us at. I can go on and on but until you walk in our shoes you have no idea how divided this so called free country really is.

        December 16, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Oscar

    Mr. Thurston,
    Hilarious. Ignore the commenters who didn't realize you're a comedian.
    I utterly agree with you, but I also think Marks' response was thoughtful and intelligent. Continuing the dialogue about race and inequality is essential, so thank you!

    December 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  39. DDXS

    Do YOU even know what you're talking about.......Al you buster....

    December 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  40. DDXS

    Gene Mark's Article is a diatribe of condescending hogwash. If you can't see the condescension, It's no wonder you don't enjoy the sarcasm.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  41. The Man

    I like keeping blacks down.

    December 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mechonna

      I would rather be down for a time "THE MAN" then fuel for the fire eternal hope you got enough sun block?

      December 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Scott

    Note to CNN. You are supposed to be promoting class warfare not race warfare. Please try and stay on topic.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Jeff

    As an Taiwanese-American, I think that there are a series of untapped resources for African Americans. Such as, even if you're at a under-performing school, being in the top 3% generally guarantees you admittance to some of the best schools in the country. So there is merit to the Forbes articles, albeit a poorly written and racially insensitive article.

    What I find even more ridiculous is how Whites are constantly complaining about how their reduced part of the pie is getting ever smaller. Asians are leaving Whites far behind in academic performance; and only affluent Whites are excelling. Most middle class White are dropping like stones in water, academically. So the Forbes articles, in no time at all, is going to apply to Whites as well. I'm sure most of you trailer chimps will feel the sting of not having access to public education before long. With the exception of Jews, Whites are clearly on an academic course similar to the Blacks.

    Maybe then both Whites and Blacks will be ready to acknowledge their inferiority to Asians. We own you.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becky S.

      the way China owns Taiwan???

      December 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Becky, A car accelerates at 0.78 m/s2 for 200m from the start; then decelerates at 0.9m/s2 on the next 400m. What is the travel time? What is its maximum velocity?

        Yeah, I didn't think you knew, but here in lies the truth about Whites: they're, academically speaking, on a doomed ship.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • jwk1

        Jeff,

        "truth about Whites: they're, academically speaking, on a doomed ship."

        Keep in mind, it's whites not Chinese who built an automobile. Just a reminder. :)

        December 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        At its top speed, it's moving at a blistering 35 miles per hour, to which it took a little under 21 seconds to accellerate. It followed with a little under 6 seconds of decelleration at the rate you mentioned, at which point it reached a dead stop several hundred feet short of your hypothetical finish line (about 1,100 feet, in fact). Given that it took a whopping 21 seconds to reach 35 miles an hour, I've surmized that it is, in fact, not a car, but probably a mo-ped or perhaps even just a really in-shape guy on a bicycle (he could have also been going down hill, which would assist with the accelleration).

        December 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • White Physics

        You moron Jeff. neglecting friction and wind resistance:
        Distance = 1/2 Acceleration * (time) Squared = Sqrt(200/.5)/.78) = 22.6 Seconds
        This is how long it takes to go the 200 m, and by the way they're going 17.627 m/s at the end of the 200m
        When they slow down, the slowest they can go is 0 so, final velocity = initial velocity +acceleration * time
        Using your second set of numbers, 0 = 17.628+ (-.9)*t
        t=19.58 seconds. Using your second set of numbers, they should be travelling for 29.81 seconds...
        Stupid

        December 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        So, white piglet, in your expansive experience, all acceleration begins at zero velocity? That'll come as a shock to your car when you step on the gas going 60 m/s.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Split this question up into three segments:

        1. Acceleration phase
        2. Deceleration phase
        3. Velocity at t=0

        1. Deceleration phase: What we know:

        u=0 (velocity is zero at the end of deceleration phase)
        v=?
        a= –0.9 m/s^2
        x= 400 m

        Determine v (starting velocity at beginning of deceleration phase)... v = √v^2 = √(u^2 + 2a∆x)
        v = √v^2 = √(2 x 0.9 m/s^2 x 400 m) = 26.83 m/s

        Determine t... t = (2∆x)/(v+u)
        t = 2 x 400 m/ (26.83 m/s – 0 m/s) = 29.82 s
        ___________________________

        2. Acceleration phase: what we know

        u=? (velocity at t=zero)
        v= ending velocity = same as starting velocity of deceleration = 26.83 m/s
        a= 0.78 m/s^2
        x= 200 m

        Determine u = u= √u^2 = √(v^2 + 2a∆x)
        u = √u^2 = √( 26.83^2 m/s x 2 x 0.78 m/s^2 x 200 m) = 20.17 m/s

        Determine t... t = (2∆x)/(v+u)
        t = (2 x 200 m)/ (26.83 m/s – 20.17 m/s) = 8.51 s

        _____________________________

        Maximum velocity = velocity at end of acceleration phase = 26.83 m/s
        t = time from acceleration phase + deceleration phase = 8.51 s +29.82 s = 38.33 s
        Velocity at t equal zero = 20.17 m/s, hence the vehicle was in motion at t=zero

        where,
        t=time
        u=starting velocity
        v=ending velocity
        a=acceleration (or deceleration)
        x=distance

        QED

        December 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • IRISH!

      At least I can drive without being a moving, class 1 menace.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Hahahaha! It's a good thing, because you'll be driving a bus or trash truck for a living.... lolz

        December 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Black man

        Touche...

        December 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        @Black Man – Whites never get the racism, until they're forced to deal with their own foibles and insecurities. They're a bunch of trailer chimps... I give them 50 years and they're be doing the gardening, and trash collecting, drug dealing, and every other lousy job... and loving it :)

        December 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I don't give a bleep about Taiwan or China. I'm an American. And that said, Asian Americans, academically speaking, make both Whites and Blacks look like chimps. Both Whites and Black scores on standardized testing is abysmal... own up. Yeah, I know... the truth hurts, doesn't it :)

      December 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kemi

        Is Jeff a Taiwanese name? We own YOU...sucker!!

        December 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        I'm Taiwanese-American, Jeff is my name so I'm going to say yes it is Chinese. And FYI, most names we see today have their roots in Arabic and Hebrew. And you? Are you Arab or Jewish?

        December 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jaemerican

        Wow Jeff, you do Asian Americans a disservice with your ridiculous comments. You own nothing and no one but your own ignorance and stupidity. As a descendant of Hakka Chinese Jamaicans, Im sure that your views are not held by most. It goes to show racism isn't only black and white.

        P.S Get off your asian pride kick..loser.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ian

        Jeff, you are as ignorant as anyone I have ever seen on here. I am a non-Jewish white person, and I guarantee I would own you intellectually. I have a couple Taiwanese-american friends who are physicians and day-traders, and while they are exceptionally book smart, they are complete and total morons when it comes to raw intelligence and common sense. They tend to defer to opinions they read and refrain from forming their own. Sounds like you are in the same cetgory. Stop being critical and help your fellow Americans instead of being an ass on a public board.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Craig Davison

        Ian – I found Jeff's post interesting, if for no other reason that it offered an alternative to the racism directed at Blacks on here. And gave a twist on how these other comments suggested that all Blacks do is complain and return perceived insults with hyper-racism.

        Yet, when Jeff made comments that demeaned Whites, many White people connected with the hurt many Blacks must feel when they read the other racist comments. Clearly his comments are extreme, and absurd, but they're clearly not the worst. There are terrible comments on here about Blacks.

        As well, by stereotyping Taiwanese, based on the couple of people you know, you're generalizing and thus you have little basis for making your point.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Black man

      Oh yea? Well at least I don't have a crayon for a dick!

      December 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        No, but from the sounds of it, you're just a White guy with a stretched out man-g¡na.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • tranquil

      This is one of the most ignorant, offensive and arrogant comments I've seen.
      I hope people don't lump all Asians into the kind of comment that this person is making.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        This comment is the most offensive to you, because it close to home.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I guess you understand all this hoopla to me it's just a waste of ink, I read it because I thought I'd be entertained. The world and news seems to be getting stupider as times goes on!! I posted cause I's bored and business is quiet. Bye bye

      December 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Sure, try to use smoke, mirrors, deceit, and red herrings, to distract from the truth. You're just some White guy named Jeff.

        Well, you should probably find a good technical school. Meanwhile, Asians still own you.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • jwk1

      Jeff, first you complain about this article as being "racially insensitive", but few sentences later you refer to whites as "you trailer chimps". Way to go.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Thanks :)

        December 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • DDXS

      Your grade C – Mr. Superior

      December 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        I'm educated enough to know your ddx for anemia and altered mental status likely lead poisoning :)

        December 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chi

      Actually, black African immigrants and first generation Africans in America have surpassed Asians in this country academically. It's been recorded for the past ten years.

      Look it up. Google it. Check the census. It's there.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Provide your citation.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kwil

      This article and your comments are so ridiculous. Why can't people be just people, instead of dividing people into groups.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Because that's not how the world turns.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Well

      You can have the academics, I'll take my non asian dong any day.... Asian Academics are just overcompensation

      December 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        And have fun greeting shoppers at the Walmart :)

        December 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Satire is a marvelous thing.

      Clearly, racism isn't ever racism, until it affects trailer chimps, i.e., the hegemony.

      As far as I see, Baratunde Thurston's article is a measured and suitable response to the racially tinged Forbes article. If people out there who can only recognize racism, when it is directed at them, it's time to consider being a tad more objective. :)

      December 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • AR

      Almighty smart asian...please explain how a car accelerates at .78 m/s2 and travels 200m, then immediately decelerates at a quicker rate than it accelerated and manages to travel another 400m.

      If your going to fabricate numbers to appear intelligent, then at least come up with a damn math problem that works idiot.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Perhaps you should consider that the original vector, at time zero, was not a zero velocity. GEEZUS!

        December 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • AR

        Go back to your middle school math class and learn how to properly ask a math question then. Leaving out vital information to the problem such as that is moronic. Unless you are afraid one of these "inferior" races might just answer your elementary physics question.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        It's a physics acceleration/deceleration question, which never presupposes starting velocity. You can be driving a car at 50 m/s, and have a rate of acceleration of plus, minus, or zero, which you'd know if you had an understanding of physics and basic vectors.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • DH

      So, Jeff digs up a math problem and chooses to turn this forum into a lecture with quiz section. Big deal. I'm sure we could all find some topic or question that even Jeff's Asian-American mind would find taxing. Thanks for your post. You fly in here to stir the pot by denouncing racism and the method you use is.........racism.?. Nice try. Stick to name calling, it seems to better suit your racist side. Slant eye.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Craig Davison

        Funny how people only take offense to racism when it's directed at Whites.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Please return to the front counter of whatever liquor store or dry cleaner you own. Your customers are waiting. You Bigot.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • craig Davison

        You seem to be proving his point.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • int19h

      Brilliantly trolled, sir. I salute you.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        It's always nice to be appreciated! :)

        December 15, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Scott

    The median household depicted on popular TV dramas is outrageously wealthy, compared to the median American household in real life.

    Everyone's expectations of real life are way off from reality. America for the most part is much poorer than people think.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • crumblinempire

      No argument here... Unfortunately too many Americans readily accept the lie because it's easier than facing the truth.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  45. DDXS

    I'd like to know

    1 Who the f Gene Marks is
    2 Who is this imaginary "poor black kid"
    3 What the F does Marks know about poor people
    4 How did this condescending A-frame get a job

    December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Embarrassed Black Man

    Hey dipsh/ts at CNN, the 50's called and they want their race relations back.
    Grow up please

    December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Scott

    Any worthwhile suggestions Baratunde? I conclude from your brilliant satire that there is no hope of poor black kids attaining the middle class life short of stealing it?

    December 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Stunned

    Hey dipsh/ts at CNN, the 50's called and they want their race relations back.
    Grow up

    December 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  49. jdog

    Poor is poor and this world will never get past racial lines if we keep treating issues in a racial manner – why not "letter's fro a poor kid" and level color out of it – there are poor Asians, poor Muslims, poor Whites and as a journalist you are doing more harm than good by using race in your article. We are in crisis in this country as we are all around the world – please let's keep our non-racial eye on the ball and work the problem not add to it.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kwil

      @jDog is 100% correct poverty has nothing to do with race, religion or nationality instead of writing poor black kid say poor kid and that's it. The media need to stop injecting race to everything.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • crumblinempire

      Case in point... They always frame the poverty rate by the percentage of poor per race and not by the number of people. It gives the illusion that there are more poor black people, for example, than white people. Just do the math: There are roughly 300 million Americans and 75 percentage are white. That comes to about 225 million. Even if you don't count Hispanic whites, for whatever reason, the number is about 200 million strong. There's are about 40 million blacks in America. The poverty rate for whites is 9 percent which comes out to 18 million poor whites. 25 percent of blacks are poor which comes to 10 million poor blacks. There are more poor whites than blacks and more whites receiving public aid than blacks. THIS IS A FACT. The numbers don't lie. But it's harder to scapegoat minorities using these numbers so that's why they don't use them.

      December 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Shizzy

    Since everyone is picking teams (racially speaking) why not consider coaching your team instead of standing outside of the other teams locker room yelling obsurdities. Your team is sitting idle and has yet to have heard a game plan. They have only heard you complain about the other teams strategies. It is 2011 and I know that it was a monumental struggle to get your team into the league, but now you have to divert your efforts toward making your team compepetive enough to stay in the league or take your ball and go home.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  51. MidWestern Boy

    Loved the dripping sarcasm in Thurston's rebuttal. That should teach the white folk to dare offer an opinion on the plight of poor African American children. So rather than incur his wrath, I am going to offer a ciouple of observations rather than opinions: Kids from any race that are raised by poor single mothers with limited skills and a lack of education and absent a responsible father figure, will have a tough road to travel. And here is another: Taxpayers of all races that shell out hard earned money to support generation after generation of non productive people are fed up with this proven recipe for failure and perpetual poverty. Can't wait for Thurston's book, I am sure he will have all the solutions.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • YABBI

      The notion that you can truthfully and realistically comment on a situation that you could never be in or even understand is absurd. If I was a woman in Iraq–Stop right there. Although I am a woman, I cannot realistically imagine the horrors that women in Iraq endure. Same goes for this story. Gene Marks should comment on being a white boy of privilege and stop there. That's the only story that is believable to any one of another race because he can only be what he is and relate the experience of living that life.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Scott

        Thats right Yabbi. He should just ask the poor black kid next door and he will obtain what he needs to succeed.
        Why bother to try and help him at all?

        December 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • YABBI

      The same tax payers pay for corporate welfare programs as well. Are you fed up with those too. If you have children and claim them on your tax returns THAT IS WELFARE TOO! The only people who do not receive "welfare" in this country are those single people with no children who take no deductions on their tax returns. Those are the only people who can "cry" about what someone else receives. Everybody else is getting welfare. Any one who is truly "fed up" with the tax code will voluntarily decline any deductions so that their whines will be valid.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • DCBuck

      MWBoy: You hit the nail squarely on the head.

      And, Yabbi, people like you and Thurston complain when people like Marks ignore the plight of poor people, then you criticize him when he actually provides some pretty good food for thought. Guess some people are never satisfied.

      I don't necessarily agree with everything that Marks wrote, but all Thurston offers is a poorly written, excuse-laden piece of "sarcasm" with absolutely no substantive rebuttal to Marks' points.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Becky S.

    From the comments I have read in reference to this article, what I find funny is that it is always the people who have never come in contact with any black people or known any (for that matter) who seem to know what black people need to do and not do in order of their situation to improve in this country.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Yes Becky. I assume you are referrring to Baratunde. He of the Harvard education and successful writing career.

      His clever letter is just filled with legitimate ways for poor black kids to build a better future.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdog

      How would you possibly know if someone has or has not come into contact with black/asian or any other race of people – omg really. You are showing your ignorance load and proud my dear.

      December 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • jdog

        sorry – meant 'loud and proud' – where is spell check for proper words in the sentences?

        December 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Mike in SA

    Mr. Marks left this one out:

    Don't be one of the 85% of poverty stricken black children whose mother chose to have a child with a man who would turn his back on them. The largest indicator of poverty is marital status and 85% of black children in poverty live in mother-only homes.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  54. A

    Sir, your response was way overdone with sarcasm to the point where I had no idea what you were saying.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • RH

      He writes for The Onion. It's what they do.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Stupidscript

    Folks ... it's a fat white guy writing in Forbes ... a Murdoch publication. What did you expect?

    December 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Stunned

    Hey dipsh/t, the 50's called and they want their race relations back.
    Grow up

    December 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Woodrow

    I see Mr. Thurston offers no advice for poor kids to escape, only excuses why they can't possibly succeed. The majority of Americans have come out of poverty at some point in their history – for me it was my father through the depression. His dad could barely read.

    As for the emphasis on race, note I said poor kids and not poor black kids – not sure why race has ANYTHING to do with being poor...aren't there poor white kids too? Considering his upcoming book – how to be black – I'm guessing he lives, eats, and breathes race, letting it define him more than his actions. Sad.

    I'm sure Mr. Thurston believes the government should be giving more to the poor (in his case, black only it seems) community to help matters. Fact is, never has there been more federal assistance, and yet the problem continues to expand. GIVING people stuff doesn't solve a thing. TEACHING them stuff and encouraging application of that knowledge does. Anyone that actually is a parent to their kid knows this. And that was the point of the Forbes article that Mr. Thurston apparently missed in his rush to be offended. Better to teach a young person how to break the cycle of poverty than to give them excuses and handouts that will keep them exactly where they are like Mr. Thurston advocates.

    Mr. Thurston does not do the poor (black) community any favors. Better to listen to Cosby who'll talk straight and not make excuses. I'm sure Mr. Thurston would dismiss Cosby as not black enough though.........................

    December 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in SA

      Agreed Woodrow, this was nothing more than...oh...around 750 words of excuse.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles Walker

      I have not read the article, but I did read the letter and your response. I agree hold heartedly. I have seen those who have received plenty from the federal government, and they have made it a lifestyle rather than temporary assistance. I don't understand the reasoning why we keep making race so negative. As an African American, I believe in working hard for what you do as well as being smart about it. I don't believe in handouts, but I will accept more programs that lend a hand up if they are willing to work for it.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Dale

    Didn't Steve Martin try this in the movie "The Jerk" in then 70's

    December 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Ngo

    I still don't understand why we get offended when the obvious is ponted out to us. I am a first generation immigrant and yes I do see the point Gene Marks is making in his article. You have public libraries with computers to use and do reserches if you wish. I know how many of my people come here with little or nothing but just a desire to succeed. Some of them became medical doctors using these resources that Mr. Marks is pointing out. There is absolutely no reason why I should see a school aged child in the mall on a school day at 11am, they should be ib school. The issues are multifaceted and to blame the child also misses the point. But we should be objective in reading his article, maybe we need an outsider to remind us the way we are carring on is no longer and has never really worked.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Bryan

    Why is race an issue? Because race is ALWAYS a criteria for something in this country. We use it to categorize and organize. Some of us pick friends by it; some of us exclude options because of it. People draw a lot of conclusions about other people due to race. We all assume we know everything about every other race so you get dumb, generalized comments like "All whites are rich....All blacks steal and kill...whites are smarter, blacks are dumber, Asians can't drive, Eastern Indian people are cheap...all Mexicans are illegals". For years, people in this country have used race to draw often misguided and inaccurate pictures of other people or groups. No one in the country should really be mad, disgruntled or surprised when a race discussion comes up because Americans can't seem to find race to be as insignificant to a person's character as it really is.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnny america

      I really like your facts. Espeically the ones about the Asians not being able to drive...spot on ol' chap, spot on

      December 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Woodrow

      And whites are always racist and wealthy, right?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  61. rgw726

    And that my friends is what's wrong with black America. Sarcasm instead of ambition. Waiting around to have it handed to them rather than go out and get it. It is true that there are more free educational opportunities for blacks than whites. The government has to consider minority businesses for construction projects first even if they are more expensive. It's there for them if they want it.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChristoInferno

      Spoken like someone who has never been a black man. Job well done, sir. Now tell us what it's like to be a pregnant woman!

      December 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wendy

        Chris....spoken like someone who has no idea what it is like being persecuted for something that happened decades ago that you were not even REMOTELY responsible for....

        December 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Mike

    So how does this kid explain blacks who started out poor, but were able to advance, succeed, and do better than their parents. All flukes? Lets keep making excuses.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      No just affirmative action

      December 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • josh

        Dude,

        Historically white women have been the protected class most likely to benefit from affirmative action...do some reading.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  63. mslman71

    Ugh...

    December 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  64. johnny america

    As a White American man, I love this section. This just reminds me how much people like me actually run things and the rest of you have to be _____in America. HA HA HA whenever I feel bad, I just remind myself of my higher rung on the ladder. Yes, I know im "that guy" but honestly its ok to sht on others when you on the top, no risk of getting sht on :) Enjoy my sloppy seconds people.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DDXS

      Die

      December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • johnny america

        No Mr. D, I enjoy being superior, not having to struggle through life and listening to everyone else complain. Don't get me wrong, they are legit complaints, but its always a reaffrimation of my natural position. Ahhh social and financial success.....;)

        December 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • SmittytheKitty

      I know right? If they had a White in America section the problems would be like : I hate going to the grocery store for some bread and coming out with 200 dollars worth of stuff. Thats a white person living in a first world country problem

      December 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Happy black mom

      To Johnny you just showed that there are still STUPID white people like you in the world. My kids are very smart black kids that goes to a great school .Trust me blacks kids are going to take over and they will be reading articles about stupid white people like you one day.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jimbo Jambo

        Ok.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • DH

      I totally agree. Black is beautiful, grey is grand but WHITE is the color of the boss man. I EXPECT the darks to excel in sports, I want to be entertained. I EXPECT the slant eyes to excel in math, I want better gadgets. I EXPECT the wet backs to excel in yardwork, I want my lawn to look good. Each has their place. Sitting at the top gives you the best view of that.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Syscokid

      Lol, I like your thinking dude. You finally tell the truth. I am a black I and envy you......for...now....:P

      December 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  65. johnny america

    Well this is why poor black kids remain that way unless they manage to entertain us white people somehow. They are too busy complaining and not doing. The ones that actually take action are quiet and live in comfort.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Lulu15

    I think being poor has nothing to do with race. I am a 38 year old white woman. I grew up in section 8 housing and looked forward to getting the monthly food stamps so we could eat. I didn't let that stop me. I joined the military and am very proud of where I came from and where I am now.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      Well said. You did not accept your lot in life, took charge of your own life, and made changes necessary to improve. Good on ya!

      December 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • blind spot

      Lulu15,
      Not to diminish your experience, but to color has much to do with being poor. The number or percentage of minorities in poverty compared to whites is drastically different. Its basic socioeconomics. Nothing more

      December 15, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ToesOnTheNose

      While I commend both your drive and accomplishment, outside of the military, do you believe the world is colorblind? Just by being a white woman, doors are opened to you regardless of where you come from...While not ALWAYS true, it's NOT ever totally UNTRUE...As a young black man, I grew up partially in the ghetto but through the hard work of both my parents, was able to overcome most adversity...Unfortunately, this does NOT mean that my life is struggle free...Being black will be a lifelong struggle because while we claim to be a colorblind society, we do not act like it.....

      December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  67. stevieny

    @Seriously – all I can say to you is seriously that is your answer??? Have you ever been to a public school located in a poor neighborhood??? Obviously not otherwise you would've seen the ragged conditions of the schools in those areas. They attend schools that are lterally falling apart around them where teachers can't teach effectively because there are too many students, too few books, supplies, etc. No child ever enters school not wanting to learn – they become disenfranchized with the idea due to horrible options that are available to them for learning. And Mr Gingrich's solution to all of that.....more cuts to education and get them to work cleaning up the bathrooms of their schools instead – all to teach them the value of work. Poor people haven't lost the value of work, most of them get up everyday to go to work at sometimes 3 jobs just to obtain 20,000.00 – 25,000.00 a year before taxes [now that greed has decimated good paying jobs here in the US that you can actaully take care of a family on]. No poor people haven't lost the value of work, wealthy snobs like Gingrich who baffle people with his BS at a commanding price of $60,000.00 & up for each speaking appearance have. He should be the one cleaning the bathrooms to see what it's like to earn money for real work!

    December 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wendy

      WOW, I must say that you have to be the best example of an enabler that I have ever seen. When was the last time you were in a so called "poor" school? I have been to several. they have Grant money that they have to RETURN every year. They have the latest computer labs and more scholarship opportunities than any other group of people in the USA! No, most do not know the value of a hard days work. Yes, there are exceptions to this in some of these "poor" schools, but trust me they are NOT the rule. Education is a two way street. You have to be willing to recieve it. Parents need to be involved with their children. Yes, a lot of parents do work evenings at a second job, but not MOST in the "poor" schools. Most are on welfare and do not work at all. I could go on, but I have a feeling my comments will fall on deaf ears. You cannot take the minority of the children in these poor schools and turn them in to the majority. The majority do have parents at home.

      Maybe some of them need to knock the proverbial chip off their shoulder, put on their big boy or big girl pants and realize that life is NOT fair, NOT easy and if you want something badly enough then it is worth working for!

      December 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Biowrkout

    Wow, I'd say it was snarky, but I don't think that word goes far enough.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Jeff

    I think what we all learned from these articles is that no matter how much a white person tries to help a black person, the black person will always be a thug

    December 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • WannaMontana

      I don't know about all thugs, but the article definitely snubs someone who attempted to reach down to make a difference. Would it have been better if the Forbes article didn't make the effort? Clearly it was unappreciated.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • HB

      Or, possibly, JUST POSSIBLY, that he took offense to an article giving unreasonable expectations to children with little to no resources. Its always about race and thugs with you people. You're the reason our country is where it is just as much as anyone else. you snide comments and lack of compassion for anyone's condition other than your own continually degrade the moral fiber of our community. Is it possible you could have read this article and seen his viewpoint? Is it possible as a white man that have privilege since birth, that you cant even fathom what a child growing up in abject poverty, with no role models and few resources that actually help, goes through on a daily basis. If anything, this proves that no matter how much white people try to help black people. they can't because people like you still think everything is equal and everything is ok.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        HB, are all of these kids doomed to failure, in your mind? Are all of those who have started out poor and then succeeded all flukes? No one denies that it is harder for some than others, but it is not impossible to overcome.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • WannaMontana

        No HB, there is a difference between assuming everything is equal ... and trying to help. It is because they are not equal, that the help is offered.

        I'll bet right now the Forbes author is sorry he made the effort, since it is unappreciated.

        Note to self: HB would prefer that efforts to help are not made in the future. The effort is unappreciated.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ignore

      Jeff,
      No matter how many times you try to help someone by telling them not to comment on articles, they continue to do so. Please, take this help. Don't!

      December 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  70. jonesy

    Will you people get a grip! C'mon folks it's not that serious. It is satire, pure and simple! There are good and bad examples in the black community, like all others. It's most unfortunate that we have been so overly exposed to the negative sterotypes potrayed by today's media that we can't enjoy or realize that it's okay to have fun poked at you. Whoever you are continue to be a catalyst for success whether it's a small victory or a large one!

    December 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chip Vara

      Good satire always has a ring of truth. What truth is the author promoting?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChristoInferno

      On the other hand, millions of people in poverty is kind of a serious issue. For them and for the country. It's not like we're talking about the Kardashians here.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Pete

    Sarcasm is very profitable.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Slappicus Rex

    Spot on. Mr. Marks' article is about as useful as telling someone suffering from clinical depression to "think happy thoughts!" In other words, laughable.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      somehow, i think that your major issue was the fact that marks is white, and the kid is black. i'm sure that if the kid was telling marks why he should pay his "fair share," there would be no issue.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      How wrong you are. Clinical Depression is treatable by effort and medication. Poverty is treatable by effort and determination. No one is suggesting that poor folks "think happy thoughts". The suggestion is to rely on yourself and to bust your backside and try to make something of yourself instead of just laying back and expecting everything to be given to you. Be your own change and quit expecting it from the government.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Susan Hart

        WELL SAID!!!

        December 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hypocrite Hunter

      Apparently you are to dimwitted to get the point of the original article. I bet you didn't even read it. This is what is wrong with America today. Now go back to living from paycheck to paycheck and let the real intellectuals do the thinking and commenting..ok kiddo?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Dee in Seattle

    Seriously people....Does anybody know that most Black Americans aren't worried about their skin color? Black Americans go about their day like everyone else. Great effort is put into reminding Black Americans that they are "Black". So what? Get over it people. This entire thing is just to create another ridiculous discussion on being poor AND black. Find a new target for this kind of thing. Blacks aren't the only poor people in America or the world for that matter. I got over it a long time ago and it's time for the media to get over it also.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  74. tangsanzang

    Yes, write a sarcastic tirade against someone who, despite being unrealistic, only meant well. What exactly about Gene Mark's article is so offensive? Should people not work hard? Not take advantage of nearby resources? What?

    Oh of course, everything is "impossible", because those "privileged" people just don't "get" how hard life is for you!

    I will have you know plenty of poor, minority kids make it further in life doing the exactly things Gene Marks described. No, it won't catapult them into high society. It might not even help their family until two generations down the line. But it sure as hell doesn't hurt. So why don't you stop feeling sorry for yourselves, and get to work?

    December 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      tang, they have a problem with a white guy with a middle class upbringing telling poor black kids what they should do to advance themselves. ironically, these same people probably have no issue with telling "the rich" that the should pay their "fair share."

      December 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • mane

      If you could just swing that $5000 golden swivel chair you are sitting on around and look out your corner office, among the glitz and perfection, you probably might see a six year old young black boy, hoping and dancing his way through traffic to get to a school. em yeah, his parents are black. Yes, the same blacks whose ancestors worked from sunset to sundown without pay come rain or shine for centuries to build this great country. oh yes; same blacks who built their own schools, shops, hospitals only to see their communities razed by marauding KKK whites supported by the establishment. As a black man, I have no appologies for my race. I will keep plugging and pushing because there are still good people whose conscience will power me to my goal.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  75. JB

    Look at the world around you, all the education and opportunities in the world aren't going to solve the black races problems.

    December 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      The black culture has to WANT to change. Stop idolizing rappers and athletes who are extremely rare and set up an unattainable target of wealth that destroys lives in its pursuit. Hard work is the only solution, and until the culture accepts that and rejects the easy fix or the lazy way out, the typical outcome will remain bleak.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • mane

        Yeah billy the cat..I bet you don't idolize heavy metal bands, rock bands, hollywood stars,senators, peyton manning, Tom Brady etc. Its no secret man, we idolize the best in our community; that includes oprah, bill cosby, general Powell, President Obama, dwayne wade, Kobe bryant etc. When you envy success and work on being successful, 90% of the time, you come out successful.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ellis

        Tell me again, what is the problem afro descendants have that euro descendants don't have? It appears to me that commentators are making a mountain out of nothing. This country has poor and undereducated blacks and whites, yet we continue to divide one another. Pretending that whites are some how better that every one else. This is a false and divisive narrative.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve From NH

      All the education and opportunity in the world would solve ANY 'race's or cultures problems. Takes time, though. If you were black and born in the projects, how do you think you would have turned out?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • miketofdal

      you don't have any idea what you are talking about. I cannot believe such ignorance still exists in America in 2011.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  76. DeeNYC

    Is it possible for a black or spanish write, and I use the term writer loosely, to write about something other than race?

    December 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Sure. Make them all white.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hayley

      Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, Chuck Berry, Skip James, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, The Four Tops, The Charlatans, The Supremes.... Maybe not articles, but songs about peace and love and suffering that were all awesome.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • DeeNYC

        Can't argue with you there.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • miketofdal

      ignorant much?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • DeeNYC

        Never fails make any comment about a black person and someone calls you ignorant. Like Michael Jackson rapes little boys... oh you ignorant.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Divanerd

      Is it possible for you to say "writer" instead of "write?'

      December 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • DeeNYC

        writer.. TA DAAAAA... feel better teacher? now get the stick out of your @ss.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Is it possible for a white person to write about anything other than being annoyed with a "black or spanish" person writing about race? If you aren't interested in what other people have to say, why did you read the article?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • DeeNYC

        Hoping for a change, but nope same o crap.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • JBBB

      Well since he is responding to a WHITE writer who is writing about race, maybe you could include that in your bigoted question?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      what exactly is a "spanish"? Do you mean Latino or Hispanic? Is it possible for racist to not sound stupid and ignorant? Guess not. The author was responding to a post by a white man about black children can succeed. So how exactly was this author not to bring that up?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • andrew

      I know that you are just trying to get a rise out of the comment section, but like Gandhi I respond with peace and love. There are a plethora of black authors that have written great pieces of work. Below is a link of some.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_writers

      I have only read works from a few of these authors and they were pretty good.

      Merry Christmas

      December 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Chris

    One's life is not over after childhood. It does not end because you didn't get into an Ivy League school. One of My grandfathers grew up in an orphanage; my grandmother was pregnant at 15. My father was a below average student (a near high school drop out), who got a job loading bottles on a truck. After two months he realized he didn't want to do this the rest of his life and starting going to night school after joining the Army Reserve. He studied hard (despite not having studious parental role models), and 13 years later graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. My other grandmother immigrated from Sicily at 17 with her brother (no parents came with them), and my grandfather worked on the floor of a chocolate factory. I didn't grow up rich, but I did well in public school and was accepted at Duke. But guess what? I couldn't afford to go there; no scholarships for me. So I went to a public university, got an engineering degree, studied hard, and was accepted to medical school. Now I'm out and am a practicing doctor (with a lot of educational debt), but it was through the desire to succeed that I and my family were able to make it from all the way from being a teenage mom married to an orphan, to succeeding at our goals. None of this happened overnight or even in a decade, but with a desire to succeed you can come a long way. I share this only with the hope that it can be somewhat of an inspiration to people, to know that you don't have to stay trapped in your surroundings, and that your decisions can positively affect your family in the long run.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill the Cat

      Chris,

      Opportunity is available to everyone who has the drive. Success is not guaranteed, but it is only attainable if you try.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Seriously?

    For some reason, this makes me think of Oprah. Anyone know why she chose to build her girls' school in South Africa rather than her hometown of Chicago? When you ask a poor black kid from the USA what they need more than anything in the world, they will say they need shoes, an iPod, a Wii, etc. Poor kids from South Africa will tell you when asked that they need uniforms and tuition so they can go to school. They know that school is the ONLY way for them to get out of poverty. Kids here HAVE school and they don't take advantage of it as a way to escape poverty.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      If you're telling let's tell the WHOLE truth, it's not only "poor black kids" that say that! I'd be willing to beat ANY amount of money that if you talked to any one of the MILLIONS of "poor white kids" they'd say the SAME thing!

      December 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • i agree

      i completely agree with you on that, people need to get off their high horse. Mark Greene was stating an opinion, and his article was not a direct personal attack on anyone. It was simply an opinion piece. Some level of personal responsibility should be taken by the minority community, and i am first generation American.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Talgrath

    The article is satirical and obviously over the top, but he's trying to bring up excellent points; first that many of the poor in our country don't have access to the technology that Mr. Thurston referred to and second that asking children to be self-motivated is more than a bit ridiculous. Very few pre-teens have the self-reliance and motivation to try and learn on their own without any sort of structure, that's why children go to school after all. Sure, your birth isn't destiny in this country, but generally speaking very few people born poor rise out of poverty to become ultra-rich or even middle class.

    December 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Netninja

      A cell phone has more technology and more capability to communicate with the world than ever before. Ever seen anyone without a cell phone these days?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      So very true!

      December 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  80. DSBsky

    Yea, everyone should go run out and get a bunch of school loans, so they can get a masters degree and find out there are no jobs. Have fun paying back those student loans working for minimum wage.. That's IF you can find a job at all. I hate generalized "self hate" topics like this. They are so full of S#@!. Just like the people who write them.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Ralph

    Funny your letter makes no mention of Asians, to you and our government they don't count as poor or a minority.

    Your letter is proof that subtle racism is out there.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Asians are hard workers and self-reliant. They dont need much help from anybody

      December 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • B

        black people need all the help they can get. either that or an owner to take care of them.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • RK

        Robert, are you aware that the highest achieving immigrant group in the US is now African and not Asian per the Chicago Tribune and other sources or are you just making an idiotic comment? The leading crowd-sourcing company in the world is run by Kenyans-in Kenya (See "Africa's Gift to America", NYT). Dispatching Robert aside, why didn't Marks ask Blacks who already have been successful in the tech, biotech, and finance spaces how more Black youth can be like them rather than trying being "helpful" by proposing his own limited solution? Why should they grow up to apply for a job from him rather than aspire to create the next disruptive technology and become owners, employers, and game changers?

        December 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      Leave us out of it, we prefer being under the "radar" We just like to work, save and take care of our family. Whining and complaining or making excuses isn't our way.

      December 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  82. nabo blabo

    Oh hey guess what? Nobody cares if you are black or not. Go down to Home Depot and buy a ladder to get the f**k over yourself.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Elizabeth

    The article is dead on. While opponents talk about "motivation" and taking advantage of opportunities, it is very hard for a little child to have such motivation if they have not been lead in a good direction. At one time, motivating a child was as easy as reading to them every night, but what if the parents have trouble with reading? At the very least, if it is at all possible, get involved in local libraries, reading groups, literacy groups for adults, and bring the kids. It can be through your church. This isn't just about getting a better job, but about self-awareness and developing the ability to say your ideas or realize what questions you have so that change can happen. It is sometimes harder to form a question than it is to find an answer, but you cannot find the answer until you ask the question. My city built new schools, shopping areas, and housing, because people got together and formed questions. The Forbes article sounds ridiculous; I'm sure that the magazine could do much better.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • btldriver

      But if the parents start reading when the children are young, and with books like Dr. Suess, then the parent can get better at reading while their child learns to read and eventually both can read Moby Dick or other classic novels if they want to.. if the parents start helping with homework while the lessons are easy, then when the concepts are more difficult, the family has learned together up to that pint and togethern they might be able to work it out. I know sounds easier said than done but its a start.

      December 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • mane

        Both parents work two low paying jbos to make ends meet. Both parents are never home to eat dinner together with their kids. Both parents come home with the kids already in bed and may not see them leave for school the next day. That was my reality while the kids were growing up. I missed all of their growing up and the ends still never met.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  84. Steve Thomas

    I agree nothing comes easy and especially for those in the poor communities. But writing a ridiculous article like this in response to someone who is just stating the truth is typical. Do you know why our grandparents generation made this country so great? Because they had a work ethic and also pushed thier kids to work hard in school and to respect what this country has given them. Unfortunately today minorities think everything is due them without having to lift a finger. Like the others have said...the asians caem to this country and lived in very poor communities and they pushed their kids to excel in school. Thats why they are successful. They never sat around writing articles and complaining about their unfortunate situation of being poor. Until you guys realize that youll always only get something by crying racism and saying things are unfair. Dont believe me? Ask Bill Cosby what happened when he tried to say the same thing about his own race.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • akb

      Steve, I read your response several times before I decided to respond. When you refer to 'todays minorities' who exactly are you including in that statement? I am an African American female. I am married with two children. Both my husband and I work and encourage our children with education. We are able to provide extra opportunities for our children such as having computers in the home, access to technology, library trips, etc......but what about the children that DO NOT have those things afforded to them? I think the article, while maybe not written in the best way, is trying to point out that not all poor children will have the ability to access technology. In 2011 not all families have a computer at home, how does the child get to the library if there is no one to take him or her? Not all SCHOOLS have working computers and technology.......there are many times the schools my kids are in don't get the computers fixed because of budget. So while the 'pull yourself up by your own bootstraps' theory is ok, what do you tell the ones that DON'T HAVE a bootstrap to pull up? As for Bill Cosby, I like him as well as the next person, but, until HE or YOU can tell a poor kid with no support at home, no technology at home or in their schools, worrying about if they will get to eat today, or even where they will sleep today how to 'reach out to technology' I don't think Mr. Cosby can speak on behalf of all of us. (and no I am not making this up, ask any school principal in your poorer school districts about the kids they deal with daily going through these things)

      December 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • chuck

        but the kids in poverty have 90 dollar pair of shoes on

        December 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Elizabeth

        akb, I support your reply to Steve. What a foolish generalization he makes about "today's minorities." He's obviously not a member of the same workforce I am! And, yes, regardless of race, when you are not getting the basics of nutritious food or a stable home life, bootstraps become irrelevant.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jose

        It's also a matter of luck. Students living in the worst of conditions can someone meet a friendly human who does have access to technology, and that could prove to be that child's break into a brighter future. Not all children will make it unfortunately. But perhaps if we all do a little effort we can start to make a difference and perhaps more children will make it. In my case I grew up poor but had all the basic necessities. The most important necessity was parents that pushed me to get good grades even though they themselves did not graduate grade school! Had they been drug addicts or irresponsible parents then my odds would have been seriously compromised I guess. So yeah it's tru not all kids will make it because they lack the resources at home. But maybe one of *us* could be the little opening they need to eventually let more light in the room.

        December 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edris Cooper

      It is the first article that is ridiculous. I found the Thurston article to be dead on point satire, well researched and the author knowledgable on his subject. Not the same for Marks and a cursory glance of his other articles proves his inability and ignorance. Not everyone would agree that your grand parents generation made this country great http://live.washingtonpost.com/on-faith-111114-Penn-State-my-final-loss-of-faith.html-
      am i correct to assume you are from the John Mayer generation that is "waiting on the world to change"?
      Not everyone would agree that the "asians", as you called them, are all successful or even lived in poor communities and they certainly write their share of articles on racism, prejudice, discrimination and inequality http://durangoherald.com/article/20111214/NEWS05/712149995/-1/s

      http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57343397/census-data-half-of-u.s-poor-or-low-income/

      http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC111205-0000023/Asian-Americans-battle-discrimination-to-enrol-in-US-varsities

      As for minorities (and you must mean blacks and latinos as asians are excepted in the above) not 'lifting a finger'?! Are you kidding me? Blacks and Latinos (and women) work harder for less, they do the most difficult work. Whites have historically, and continue to , rake in money through the fruits of the labor of others! Do some research, travel the country, look in the kitchen of your local restaurant, take a good look at the working class in this country. Know your history – read howard ziin – who built the white house? the capitol? how were our current labor laws shaped? what are the true economics of this country? Yeah, you may know a few 'minorites' and wach some tv but you don't know enough! And lastly, make sure that you are not part of the problem. Don't bring ignorance into a position you are not qualified for cause your daddy or your school adivosrs or your friends can get you the job. Do you best in the job, examine your own privilege and maybe volunteer as a big brother to a poor, minority kid. I know for a fact that Mr. Thurston has mentored and served as role model for many poor black children – I doubt Mr. Marks knows any. Are you suggesting that people silence themselves reagrading discrimination and inequality so that they may be financially successful? How un-American

      December 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edris Cooper

      http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/a-muscular-empathy/249984/

      December 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      I'm sorry did YOU not realize that the same country that 'you people' so freely prosper from is the same country that 'my people' built?! It's so funny to me how 'you people' can look down your nose and think that you have the answer to EVERYTHING! All 'our' problems stem from 'us' being lazy. What a joke! Sweetie if 'us people' were half as lazy as 'you people' claim we are, 'you people' would be in a far worse situation and wouldn't have a tenth of what you have because this country and the basis of almost luxury that 'you people' came from the minds, blood, sweat, and tears of 'my people.'

      December 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joplin

        Ashley,

        Your points are excellent and many seem to want to "leave out" these important facts when defining the black experience in America!!

        Take care!!

        December 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joplin

      It is interesting how some commenting want to paint all black people as thugs, unmotivated or just plain indolent poor excuses for human beings who just sit on their haughty posteriors waiting for a largesse or handout!!! To apply this blatantly oversimplified stereotype to black people is absolutely ludicrous and flies in the face of our history on these American shores!!

      To act as if most blacks come from generations of welcomed immigrants who just simply needed to "find" an opportunity completely negates the negative and indefatigable effects of legal slavery and discrimination that persisted in this country for decades!!

      It is easy to marginalize a race and call attention to all its failures but completely ignore the successes in the black community and many of us are successful and have the same hopes and dreams for ourselves and our children as any other American. But, to some, (and sadly, even ourselves) we are much maligned and hated and it would not matter how intelligent, creative, articulate or even if we hold the highest office in the land, we are never smart enough or good enough because in many people' s minds, it is a done deal because we were born with a bit too much melanin in our skin!!

      And, what infuriates me is the fact that some people want us to deny our racist or negative experiences and maintain some kind of "passive, benign face" pretending that we are treated "just like anyone else" when many of us know and YOU KNOW that that is simply not ALWAYS the case!!!

      There are many entrenched problems in the black community and just as many in the overall American community. For every pathology associated with being encased in black skin, there is just as many associated with white skin.
      A typical perusal of all the outlandish and salacious reality shows on television, the horrific media reports of child molestation, murders, rapes and you name it can easily support my assertion.

      I appreciate all people who are serious about helping black people and all Americans reach their potential. But, sometimes, it seems that the more things change, the more they seem to remain the same and that is a sad commentary for a nation that bills itself as the "land of opportunity" for all.

      December 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wendy

        When will you let it go? legal Slavery ended more than a century ago. Long before you and long before me. Everyone has the same opportunities, equal and across the board. The difference between you and me is that when I fail, I look to see what I did wrong and where I can improve. When you fail, you look in the mirror and say "that's why".

        All that does, is cause resentment from you towards anyone who is not black.

        I have children to. And to use your words "It is easy to marginalize a race and call attention to all its failures but completely ignore the successes in the community and many of us are successful and have the same hopes and dreams for ourselves and our children as any other American."

        You marginalize anyone who is white. You think that because I am white that my child should not suceed ahead of yours because of something that occured more than 100 years ago. You think that my child will succeed only because she is white.

        I come from a dirt poor white family. We have struggled all our lives. I am the first one to EVER graduate from college. You assume too much about white people.

        Can we now get past my lack of melanin?

        December 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joplin

      Wendy,

      How am I marginalizing the whole white race by giving my perspective on my experience? You want to talk about legal slavery ending almost 150 years ago but the resentment and baggage and the stereotypes about black people still exist today.

      I stand by my assertion that to some white people, it does not matter how much we accomplish, how intelligent or cultured we are, all some see are ignorant , lazy and undeserving ingrates that whine about racism. Well, for those of you who are racist, STOP COMMITTING RACIST ACTS and I will stop complaining about the treatment that I experience.

      I am not a person who thinks that other races do not struggle but I would be lying to make you and others like you feel comfortable if I pretended that I do not go through direct and indirect racism almost daily in my life. It does not matter that I am well educated, professional, compassionate. I am damned for being so-called "uppity" or pitied/skewered because it is perceived that I am not worthy or obtained my knowledge and credentials via affirmative action.

      I, and many like me, cannot win for losing because some people simply hate blacks and that will never change!! I have chosen to live life with my eyes open. I will not indict all whites because many have supported the black civil rights struggle in this country and try to do the right thing. But, I will illuminate and comment on racism and double standards where I find it and if it makes you unhappy or uncomfortable, that is just too bad!!!

      December 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Emerson Von Ward

    As a Black man in America, I have to say that I'm embarrassed and disappointed in Mr. Thurston. I teach at the high school level in the inner city and I found the article by Mr. Marks to be insightful and optimistic. My question to Mr. Thurston is if not this, then what? What do you advise the poor black youth of this country to do? Of course my of the recommendations given are pie in the sky and maybe even a little naive, but even so they could only help. Your "letter" sounds very much like someone with a severe case of "Crabs in A Bucket" syndrome. Would you feel the same way if these recommendations were put forth by a respected member of the black community? I'm really curious to know what your solutions are. You seem to know exactly what won't work, please sir, inform the poor black youth what will.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • angrysouther

      Since you teach at a public school, you know that all the children are taught the same information. How then, does one group succeed and one continues to crutch up on "not having access or not having education". Since our local schools are well mixed, I wonder hos one segment has significantly higher drop out rates, and far higher teen pregnancy rates, when ALL are afforded the same education and access. Just a curious question really. Is it home life that changes the information, or is it media exposures or musical influences? Just wondering.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Not the same

        I have to disagree with you. Children are SUPPOSED to be taught the same things, but they aren't. You go to a predominately black school in the inner city and you will see run down schools and not enough equipment and teachers not doing their jobs. Schools in the Mississippi Delta don't even have all of the proper books that they need. Just because the system is set up so that children are taugh, doesn't mean that they are actually taught what they need to know.

        December 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • PeteInOhio

      Thank you sir. Also, the plights and solutions mentioned are not isolated to the communities these gentlemen mention. I can tell you from experience that poor white kids with single mothers experience the same problems. You could say that I am one of those "bootstrappers" because my parents didn't provide the structural support. And "a lot of hard work" typically means years and years to even catch up to middle class.

      Children need our help. Adults typically have made up their mind. Let's try to pitch in where we can and help the youth, and more specifically, the poor youth in America.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edris Cooper

      It is not enough to be a black teacher in the inner city. How much do you know about your students, what motivates them, their real life experiences. Mr. Thurston does present some places to look for solutions – improving schools (the time and money spent on education in this country ls lacking, we all know). Basically, I believe that Mr. Marks himself is a good example of why students do not value education. He, himself, is unschooled in the subject matter he is given platform to speak about – he is neither an expert on education nor has he researched it (he was only a student and one who succeeded by using Cliff Notes and Wikipedia – I would posit that black student has to really know things!); he has not conducted any reasearch on poverty or what it means to be a poor black kid and I doubt if he knows any or has helped even one himself). He has no idea about what he is talking about – just an opinion. Why was he hired at Forbes? Do you really need me to tell you?

      December 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Xeroxchick

        It's not enough for him to be a black teacher in a poor area? Are you kidding? He sees those kids every day and has to try to convince them to retain information.
        The problem I see every day is an overly romantic view of poor teens. Poor people tend to stay that way from making poor choices. Like having an expensive iPhone instead of paying for community college classes.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joplin

        Edris Cooper,

        Brilliant analysis!!

        Take care!

        December 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Crystal

    LOL...can anyone not see the humor he is conveying? Great article! We all have something to bring to the table. We are going to have different opinions because of our cultural experiences.So some may not get it. There are a lot of brown people( some may say black) that do expect handouts, as do a lot of poor whites, but you can' generalize a group of people from what you've seen or have been told or experienced. That's so silly. Mr. Thurston was just giving a different perspective from a hypothetical poor black kid. Contrary to what you may believe, there are some out there. I found the article culturally informative as well as humorous.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emerson Von Ward

      That's too bad, I didn't find it funny at all.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chip

        Condescension and snide remarks is what passes for humor among liberals these days.

        December 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • seraphim0

        Speaking of condesenstion, seems you know it quite well. Pot, meet kettle.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Jezza

    Agreed Znono – I don't think he taught him technology but how to be sarcastic. And how to have a chip on your shoulder.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  88. myramom

    This rebuttal is dead on. There are many areas in this country where lack of access makes lots of difference and even all the difference. EVERYONE can't get into the "Ivies," no matter how hard they work. EVERYONE can't even find summer or part-time employment if finances are an issue–those opportunities just don't exist. EVERYONE cannot start a business or join a company that will provide a good career. EVERYONE does not have access to technolgoy, either at home or in a classroom. So those of you out there who keep saying that people don't try hard enough (no matter what color they are or their financial/socioeconomic situation) get a grip on reality. Until you've actually walked in another's shoes, you're being able to judge them is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Opportunity and access is just not there for many, so instead of telling people to stop feeling sorry for themselves (which isn't even the case), what are YOU DOING to reimagine a world that helps people lift themselves up?

    December 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emerson Von Ward

      He didn't mean for everyone, but for those that can.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • hjla

      "DEAD ON"!!!!! This rebbuttal is dead!!! After reading Mr. Marks article, I had only one issue. The parents have to do these things...not the child. I live in Chicago and by the time a child has enough knowledge to take charge of their future, it is almost too late. The politics of getting admitted into Maget Schools trump the needs of the poor. Typically the politically connected and atheletically gifted are admitted first. So I learned that the parents have to fight from the birth of their child to get accepted into these schools. I remember threatening law suit but was counseled that it would be better to take that money and pay tuition at a private school. I asked why and the lawyer stated that the city of Chicago has a lot more money and resources than you and I would never win. So I followed his advice, my wife and I worked hard and paid tuition for our children through psot secondary education(with the help of scholarships from the schools). Then the college scholarships kicked in. So Mr. Marks is not "off the mark" with this article. Mr. Thurston's response is an embarrassment to the black community as a whole!!!

      December 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joplin

      myramom,

      Excellent comments!!

      Take care!!

      December 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Sarah

    For those who don't like this, it is evident that the thoughtful critique of a mindfully employed satire eludes you.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  90. pamela

    Totally loved your article...

    December 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  91. yoda

    Yaaaaawn!!!!

    December 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  92. jja

    This "article" seems to suggest that one's environment relentlessly drives how much one can achieve or how far they can go in life. Can someone please explain how the Asian and Indian children who live in these same areas, go to the same schools and have the same teachers as black children, invariably end up at Harvard, Yale, etc., and become doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc???

    If the environment is such a "barrier" then why doesn't it block the Asian and Indian kids????

    December 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Levi

      Because a majority of the asian and indian parents aren't on crack or murdering their neighbors. You don't know enough about life it seems...

      December 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • makingapoint

        you've just convinced me of nothing more than that you're ignorant

        December 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joplin

        Levi,

        Are you insane or just a complete imbecile on this subject? Do you honestly believe that most blacks are on crack or murderers? I would fathom a guess that you don't really believe this but you "need to believe" the most horrendous stereotypes about black people to inflate your (lack of) intelligence and to justify your perceived omnipotence!!

        December 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You raise a good point. I taught college for forty years and my best students were Korean immigrants who often hardly understood English. The secret of their success was twofold: enormous respect for education and educators, and a wilingness to work long and hard hours at their studies to get the good grades.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • makingapoint

      Your post leads me to believe that perhaps it's RACISM that is the true barrier.

      Oh, and Indians are generally considered to be Asian.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • confused

      So what's the point you're trying to make by this?

      December 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kimberly Davis

      Where are you getting your information about where Asians and Indians live? They don't. Statistically, they have higher median household incomes than white-non-Hispanic population. They are largely and firmly middle class. Here is one source, but census.gov is the best one. http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/pages/414.html

      December 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • DeeNYC

        Wow! How'd that happen????

        December 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  93. fred

    This article reminds me of the Eddie Murphy skit where he makes himself white and gets everything for free. All white folk are not rich and have everything laid out for them. Quit crying about it and do something. Blacks have schools, pay attention and learn,make an effort.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • CP

      In response to Fred.....whites do have it all laid out for them it's called white priveledge. And whites do not have the same social, economic, and political oppression that Blacks have to endure. It's not about that one isolate group of people you disconnect yourself with, it's about a system that has been designed to fail students, eskpecially those who are non-whites. ie: when minorites are sent to prisons in upstate NY funds get allocated there, moreover those prisons are filled with minorites who don't live there in the first place; and the minority prisoner's communites say in the Bronx or Brooklyn are left to suffer. And everything is impacted from education to city cleaning. Now tell me how's getting the better end of the stick?

      December 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Doug

        Okay CP, outside America, blacks have created thriving societies? It's really here in America where white people designed a special system to help keep blacks down. Do you know that blacks have more wealth and are more successful in THIS country, than anywhere else in the world?

        December 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  94. reap what you sow

    Baratunde, get a grip. Your response was nothing but satirical acid that helps nobody at all. Nobody will ever give poor kids anything. They have to become aware (like all of us) what opportunities are out there and how to go after them. At that point, it takes a motivated individual to pursue and then earn success. Opportunities are openings for individuals to work very hard. They are not handouts and that is true for all people on this planet. A million kids from Po-dunk India and China, where their parents can't even read, go to school and suck the marrow out of their education. They come here and do brilliantly. And oh! They aren't white. Work hard, have a little luck and you will reap the success of your efforts.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emerson Von Ward

      Thank you. This clown needs to be more solution oriented.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Victoria

    Brilliant, Baratunde! Simply brilliant.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Omar

      Not very brilliant at all. his was drenched in racism, and applauds this defeatist mentality that we should encourage disadvantaged children if they fail becasue they have built in excuses. I think it's time we focus on helping the situation, instead of making a mockery of it. It's not brilliant. It's ignorant.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Victoria

        You obviously missed the point of the entire post. It was not drenched in racism (refer to Marks' post for the racist slant) and spoke the truth. You came into this looking for a reason to scream racism and failed to understand the post.

        December 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        Victoria, explain the racism in Marks writing. Pretty sad that in today's world, someone of a different race cannot give advice without being accused of racism.

        December 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mathis

        Mike: All you need to do to see the racism in Mark's writing is to understand that although well intentioned, the article fails to include the system of inequality and privilege from which the author writes. He assumes that all it takes is for "poor Black kids" to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, similar to the (false) narrative that is painted about White men. It is an ignorant article that completely disregards the systemic inequalities that have plagued this country since our European ancestors committed genocide against millions of Native American Indians to create colonies. The simple statement that the author was "giving advice" reflects your ignorance about this fact. How can a man who is so out of touch with what it means to be poor or to be black, give advice about being successful. Its foolish. While not overtly racist, it is based on ignorant White privilege, which is simply another word for White supremacy since privileged people can only be privileged at the expense of a less privileged minority. How's that for your advice?

        December 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Andrew

        So true Omar.

        December 16, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  96. Znono

    This guy seriously took great offense to a article that simply stated that it wasn't impossible to succeed as a poor black kid. He never stated it was easy, in fact he said it wasn't easy and that it took a special type of kid. You need to chill Mr. Thurston. Relax.

    December 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Sannate

    This was a new low, even for CNN. It was complete and utter CRAP!

    December 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Mike

    American Myth #1: Going to college is going to improve your life. There is one simple formula for improving your life as a poor black kid. 1) Don't do drugs, 2) Don't commit crime 3) Work hard, no matter what it is you do 4) Raise your kids with good values.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      @Mike Great advice. Although color of skin isn't important to your statement. Great advice for anybody in america.

      December 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trina

      Totally agree... this applies to everyone!

      December 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Lister

      It's a myth that going to college will improve your life? It won't guarantee a paycheck of course but there's more to life than just money. Your list is also simplistic and quite insulting. Do you really think people didn't already know these things? Perhaps you should broaden your horizons a bit and try to get your head around the idea that maybe there really are roadblocks that prevent most people from achieving your little grocery list of ideals.

      December 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Andrew

        Another poster with only excuses. That list sounds bang on for anybody in America. Is it a racist list, I don't get your criticism of it.

        December 16, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
      • Lena

        @Andrew. Excuses? How about some "excuses" from the wealthy corporations like Bank of America and Citigroup which take taxpayer money, pay no income tax when they are profitable, then further hinder the economic recovery by sending thousands of workers to the ranks of the unemployed–simply because they want to increase the return to their shareholders.

        There are 15 million people looking for jobs that just aren't there. I've been looking for almost 3 years. I've had exactly two interviews.

        December 21, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Duane

    You could have written an intelligent, meaningful response but wasted your (and my) time on sarcastic, meaningless drivel. What a shame to miss the opportunity to say something worthwhile. Maybe I just hate satire or sarcastic horse ****. but you should just save your comments until you have something to say.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  100. sam

    Poor is Poor. Poor white People if you want someone to speak for you...then start with YOU(Not to mention a bunch of black people including your favorite MLK tried to fight on your behalf before a poor white boy killed him; ironic) But as a teacher the gap is along the financial lines the problem is that most of the people in the impoverished sector...are minorities.

    The American dream is accessible to the haves as far as the have nots... NOT SO MUCH.

    Now Black people should take some responsibility for us as well.

    December 15, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      There are problems in america no doubt. However, I am tired of poor being used as an excuse for lack of morals and effort. My grandpa has a 6th grade education, maybe. He worked hard and my dad went to school. I grew up with no central heat or air. I wore garage sale clothes the first 12 or so years of my life. Bologna sandwhiches and beans and cornbread were considered dinner. We didn't have a TV. Why? We couldn't afford one. I grew up fine. I am married with a masters degree, career, and my wife works as well. We have two young boys and relatively speaking we are living the american dream. Quit blaming poor for the failure of parents to parent and children to learn. In a country that has a black president so many african americans don't believe that education offers them a chance for success and that the white man is still holding them down. For Obama to have been elected, given the demographics of the US, more white people voted for Obama then black people. There are racial issues and tensions in this country but their effect on opportunities and society today are minimal. If you want to succeed in this country today you can. The idea that poor is holding you back is a travesty perpetrated by ignorant individuals that need somebody to blame. Heaven forbid that we blame the person for their failures in life.

      The original discourse of the article is a total failure as is this comedians response. It is comedic in value but lacking in any self admission that a significant portion of the blame for lack of success in life is the individuals fault.

      December 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tim Lister

        A masters degree? Why didn't you get a PhD? Are you a slacker or something?

        Your line of thinking hasn't gotten us anywhere as a culture. Maybe it's time to re-examine the whole "hard work is ALL you need to succeed" because there are plenty of stories that aren't quite as rosy as yours yet they people involved worked just as hard.

        December 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
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