If I Were A Poor Black Kid, What Would You Say To Me?

I have a confession to make: Although it rang in at a little under 1000 words, yesterday’s “No Pre-Nupt? No Problem” was a “fall-back” post that I scrambled to write in 90 minutes after I scrapped my original, “genius” plan. That plan? A satirical response to Gene Marks’ “If I Were A Poor Black Kid.”

I had the title picked out (“If I Were A Middle Aged White Guy“), a plan (full satire with no winks at the audience), and even went back and forth with the number of penis envy jokes I was going to include (Two. Any more would be tacky). I basically had everything written out in my head before I even typed a word.

But, just as I was about to log on and start writing, something told me to google “If I Were A Middle Aged White Guy.” I did and, well, that “something” saved me the shame of doing the exact same thing that 7578327843 people already did last week. Drats!

Admittedly, it had been a week — a light year in internet time — since that article first hit the internet, so news that my “fresh, witty, and unique” idea was as stale as a day old dog fart wasn’t necessarily shocking. Actually, at this point, any “fresh, witty, and unique” take on this topic would be equally stale.

That venture to Google showed me something else, though, something a bit more disturbing. Our collective rush take Marks’ article down as quickly, wittily, insightfully, condescendingly, factually, and snarkily as possible made for one underlying truth: We really do believe that poor black kids are doomed. 

Perhaps I’m reading to much into this. Maybe, out of the dozens of takes I’ve read on this subject, I overlooked the one that didn’t share this sentiment. But, it seems like the general response can be summed up by just saying “Sh*t is royally f*cked, there’s nothing they can do about it, and it’s insulting to even suggest that anything can be done about it.

Now, this may actually be true. Maybe luck, serendipity, and divine intervention are the only realistic ways for Dukie to get to Duke. But, lets say I’m that poor black kid. Do you tell me that my destiny is completely out of my control? That regardless of how hard I work, a lucky break or a generous benefactor is the only chance I have to succeed? Do you tell me not to bother walking to the library because I’ll probably trip and fall on an AIDS infected needle on the way there? Do you tell me to forget about downloading Skype on the old laptop my aunt let me borrow because the electricity is gonna be off all next month anyway? That I need to start playing basketball 12 hours a day because my best bet at getting out of the hood is being really, really good at it?

What the hell would you say to me?

—The Champ