I don’t like the New York Times. I find a lot of the articles to be cringe worthy. The NYT caters to a White, affluent, liberal, East coast audience that lacks self awareness. That’s well and good but I’m not of that demographic so I don’t relate to their stories or understand their tales of woe. A lot of the stories in the NYT come across as whiny and delusional to me. I’ve read their stories and sarcastically mouthed the words boo freaking hoo to myself.
Last weekend I ran across an article by a man named Anthony Abraham Jack. He is a Black man from a poor background that wrote the most cringe worthy article I’ve ever seen in the New York Times.
Mr. Jack is a Harvard Professor now so it’s safe to say he’s made it. He wrote his article to discuss his experiences as a low income student at Amherst College, a private college in Massachusetts. He was a poor man surrounded by affluence and privilege.
I have noticed that the American media loves a Black sob story. They sop it up with buttered biscuits. Even if a story doesn’t have anything to do with having an under privileged background TV producers and writers work it in to the narrative.
Instead of centering himself, his experiences and his accomplishments in this piece Mr. Jack centered his wealthier classmates by comparing himself to them. His classmates were irrelevant to his success in school. He had his own journey and that should have been the story. That’s it.
I also question Anthony’s choices. Why did he choose Amherst? Surely, he could have gone to a state college closer to home in warm sunny Florida. There must have been something that drew him to Amherst that made the distance from family and expense worthwhile. He made his choice to go there and he’s a smart man who became success so why make this appeal? He is complaining about being the underclass of a privileged class. I don’t feel sorry for him. Boo freaking hoo!
I would have appreciated this article more if the intended audience was low income college students. It would be great if someone with Mr. Jack’s accomplishment’s gave helpful advice about navigating their journey to graduation day. Instead he is making an appeal to the elite to help poor students. He is empowering those that are already powerful and making low income students charity cases. He’ encouraging them to walk with their heads lowered and hat in hand.
But that’s how he has been socialized. Here is the passage in I Was a Low Income College Student. The Classes Weren’t the Hard Part that made me blow a gasket.
Good grief, poor kids that want to go to prestigious universities are encouraged by educators to sell themselves as good candidates to schools based on sympathy and sob stories not academic merits. That’s demeaning and those educators should be completely ashamed of himself. They should be fired.
These students should let admissions boards know that they are competitive scholars that can win. If their background is brought up prospective students should let universities know that they are likely to succeed because of their background, not in spite of it. In fact, they are more likely to achieve than some of their more affluent counterparts because they are resilient and highly motivated by a desire to carve bright futures for themselves. Perhaps that’s too much of a threat?
I grew up in a single parent home in a working or perhaps middle class neighborhood outside of Detroit, Michigan. I have three college degrees one of which is a masters degree. I worked while I was a student all three times I was enrolled in a university. I didn’t have as much time or financial resources to invest in projects and materials as others may have but I never failed and I always finished what I started.
I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth and my mother struggled financially at times but that gave me a drive and will to succeed. I never felt sorry for myself. I never thought I couldn’t win. There have been many times that I thought I was the one to beat. And it’s because I haven’t been handed anything and I’ve never seen anyone get handed anything. I don’t envy or hold anything against people of privileged backgrounds. I don’t count other people’s money and I make my own way.
I don’t like the New York Times. They take too much pleasure in Black sob stories like most American media outlets. It’s not productive or inspiring for Black people and it just gives White people a chance to feel good about themselves (and superior) by joining in on the pity. Feeling sorry for a man like Anthony Abraham jack is degrading. He sure doesn’t look helpless to me. He shouldn’t be encouraging low income students to feel helpless either. Don’t approach any situation with your head lowered and hat in hand. If an environment requires that it may not be the right place for you.