In case you haven’t heard, a guy named Gene Marks wrote a column for Forbes magazine called “If I Were a Poor Black Kid.” Mr. Marks is manifestly not (and never has been) a poor black kid, and his column is full of all sorts of helpful advice – including a rah-rah listing of technology (Mr. Marks’s usual beat is business tech) – to help someone who is a poor black kid overcome the disadvantages of being a poor black kid, just like Mr. Marks never had to.
Here is Mr. Marks’s column, which has been virally infesting all corners of the Internet this afternoon. Go read it. Then click the logo above and read Jeff Yang’s reply column, posted on wnyc.org. Mr. Yang, like Mr. Marks, is not a poor black kid. Nor is he a rich white dude, but he has written a column ostensibly from the perspective of a poor black kid, full of actually useful advice about how a rich white dude can avoid coming across as a snotty, ignorant jackass when discussing something about which he is entirely uninformed. (Spoiler: It involves getting informed.)
I am not confident that Mr. Marks will learn anything from this episode. The snark and derision of the Interwebs are more likely to make him defensive than contrite. And rich white dudes are so hard to teach. But one can dream.