And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? — Genesis 4:9
“I’m not my brother’s keeper,” my mother used to say. She and my father survived the Great Depression. Through decades of hard work, they made themselves a comfortable life. But a higher authority than my late mother, President Barack Obama, believes we are our brother’s keeper.
Last week, Obama launched his initiative that will create opportunities for young black and Hispanic men. His explanation is that this is a way he is going to help those two minorities in an economy racked by civil discord. And his program is being hailed as the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. The Obama Administration will partner with foundations, nonprofit groups and businesses to equal the playing field for blacks and Hispanics.
The program should be called Big Brother because it focuses on a single leader, who happens to be black, who has decided by himself that young black and Hispanic youths are going to be given special advantages. If you are white, Native American or Asian, tough luck. In true Muslim tradition, Obama is not giving a hand up to young women of any race.
According to the President, groups have already invested $150 million into the program and will invest another $200 million over the next five years. And there is no stopping it; Obama has already signed an order to establish the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, which will determine how to help black kids help themselves. It sounds discriminatory and self-aggrandizing for the President, who was shameless while presenting it.
“Fifty years after Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] talked about his dream for America’s children, the stubborn fact is that the life chances for the average black or brown child in this country lags behind by almost every measure and is worse for boys and young men,” said the President.
This is just the latest publicity stunt by Obama so that he can, with a wave of a wand and a few hundred million dollars, change black fortunes. Until now, he has been remiss in doing so, unless it added to his legacy.
Obama’s Sermon On The Mount
Last February, Obama met with a group of young men at Hyde Park Academy on Chicago’s South Side, who were a part of the Becoming a Man program within the school. He spoke candidly with the group about his experiences, acknowledging the fact that as a man of color who was raised by a single mother, their lives were inherently similar. The only difference, he said, was the fact that he grew up in an environment that was more forgiving.
When I went to high school, I must have missed Becoming a Man Day. I got those lessons from my father when I was young enough that discipline still mattered, before age 12 and not 17. During his long business trips for his magazine, my mother was his XO, always at the ready with the big, old, sterling-silver brush.