In case you missed it, Forbes contributor Gene Marks published a magnum opus of douchebaggery earlier this week called “If I Were a Poor Black Kid.” Thesis: “Dear poor black kids, you should just try getting good grades by using Google Scholar and watching TED talks. Thank me later, GM.” The blog world erupted, generating dozens of pieces slamming Marks’ non-logic. Yesterday, another astute Forbes contributor exposed Marks’ history of writing disgusting pieces because he knows they will generate pageviews. That’s right. Gene Marks is a professional troll.
If you don’t want to give Marks the pageviews, Dominion has a nice highlight reel from his article here. Instead of rehashing the (many) negative aspects of what Marks had to say, let’s look at some of the incredibly positive, non-trolling responses to Marks’ piece that could use your clicks.
One bright side of this Forbes douchestorm is that we got a new Carefree White Girl post out of it all. As Collier Meyerson points out, not everyone has access to computers at home. Marks speaks to the kids of Philadelphia in his piece, but 41% of Philidelphians don’t even have access to a personal computer. We need to remember that access to technology is a privilege, and we can’t expect the web to revolutionize learning when not everyone has access (or the financial means to get it).
Cord Jefferson, the amazing senior editor at GOOD, rebutted Marks’ piece with an ode to an actual poor black student he never knew. I love Jefferson’s super personal writing style, and his piece tugged at least two of my heartstrings.
Colorlines has a play-by-play of Gene Marks’ response to comedian/writer/blogger Baratunde Thurston’s satirical letter. Thurston played coy in his biting response, sarcastically gushing over the CIA World Factbook and Evernote, two of Marks WTF recommendations. Sadly, Marks’ letter to Thurston shows that he absorbed just about zero of the criticism, but the discussion is worth reading.
I also recommend you lend a pageview to Jeff Yang’s piece about how to actually write an article about poverty in America. (Gene Marks didn’t even take the time to talk to an actual black kid, you know, how reporters do.) Yang gives us starting points to actually get involved in underprivileged communities, and he gives us more tips than just “use Google.” Side note: Jeff Yang rocks the male-pattern baldness way harder than Gene Marks.
If you saw any worthwhile articles in response to this troll, post them in the comments below! As for you, Gene Marks, Professional Troll, Official Douchebag, I hope we never hear from you again.