Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

In society today many turn a blind eye to what is occurring all around us.  We don’t feel the need to be associated with the detriment of our youth or the violence on our streets, as long as it does not touch us. If you believe that somehow you will never be affected, you are greatly misled.  It is only a matter of when and how?

For example, the young neighbor kid down the street is being abused.  The neighborhood knows it.  They hear the piercing screams and hard smacks coming out of open windows…frequently.  People can talk about it.  “Did you hear what happened at the Johnson’s house last night?” “Uh huh…girl it was horrible.”  Yet they don’t feel their involvement should go beyond gossip.   It happens too often.  We become gossip hounds and we have hours to talk yet there are few that want to be active in positivity or are mindful of the need for change.  That is until that neighborhood boy stabs their child in the schoolyard one day.

It’s not a big surprise that the learned behavior of violence shifts from internal shame and becomes an outward behavior.  Eventually it gravitates to outside that home but suppose you were, so to speak your “brother’s keeper?”  What if you took those few extra minutes to knock on that door or call the police and get the young boy some help?  It’s sad that more often than not, we will never know the answer because few would even take the time to ask themselves the question.  Well, I took the time to ask my peers and the answers took  a few turns.  

One, “What’s The News?”group member, Tianna Kinlaw stated, “I think that the reason why the community is so run down now is…the powers that be make it difficult to do something with yourself but also the fact that there is no support within the community towards each other.”   That makes sense to  me.  So many believe that sooner or later the system will come in and fix the problem.  After all, we have children’s services and foster care.  But is foster care better then a neighbor’s helping hand.  The system supposedly set in place to help us will not set us free.  It will oversee our actions until at some point we forget the control we had and it becomes normal to have that watching eye.  We will no longer feel that need or urgency to guide our community.  Once our energies change focus then time becomes short, patience is short, and community efforts are twisted into lost causes.  

The ideal of living good manifests itself into a life of self and self alone.  We don’t need unity.  We have to watch our own backs.  Who has time to think about someone else when we have our own family to think about?  Which leads to another group member’s comment.  

Leyena Floetfre Rae says,  “We live in a capitalistic, individualistic oriented society, as are all societies dominated by Anglo Saxons and Caucasians. They are the only culture in the world who doesn’t believe in collectivism and they are the one we have chosen to emulate. We have a lot of tearing down of these beliefs to do before we can think about any kind of unity. The common enemy is not a race but an ideology!”  Is the self-serving way of life that has been drilled into us since we were youths, the problem?  I think it hides somewhere at the source of the problem.  There is no unity if our only goal in life is to advance ourselves.  

Let’s get the movement going!  Maybe we do need to tear down, come together and rebuild.  If that’s the way to get back to a community that cares for one another then so be it.  I want to know if we still have a chance to change.  I want to know if we can regain our collective thoughts and bring our people and the communities in which we live, back to good standings.   I, for one am concerned and I will always have a thought in my mind and urgency in my step for my brothers and sisters.  How do you feel?  Are you your brother’s keeper?

By D. Flo’essence