Somehow I’ve made it through the snow and the slush and the mud and the swamps and the sun and the mosquitos and the hounds and the men with their guns and their whips and their chains and their bounties for their property.
I will go back for my family. I will find my family. I will be with my family. I will ride again to freedom.
Such are the thoughts that surely went through the minds of many a runaway slave that made it to freedom using the underground railway in that time in America when slavery was legal and dangerous to those who chose to defy it.
Many, whom had gained their freedom, did go back. The longing to be with loved ones was strong. The bonds that kept the black family together throughout the centuries of slavery were stronger even than the bonds of slavery itself.
Some found their families on their hard fought journey back to that horrible place and those terrible times. Sadly, others did not and many never saw their families again.
And though they had their freedom, still, they wept for they had no family and their family did not have them. The weight of responsibility and loss hung heavy on their shoulders.
Last week at The White House, President Obama launched a new initiative called ‘My Brother’s Keeper‘.
Crystal writes that:
Sadly, the message to minorities – and blacks in particular – is that we blacks can’t be expected to take individual responsibility for our lives like our white counterparts … so the government has to do it for us.
She points to the “broken black family” and says that “the president knows the grim facts” but that he “conveniently left out of his narrow narrative is the root cause of the problems facing not just young black men but the American black family today: 72% of all black babies are born out of wedlock.”
Crystal quotes race scholar Shelby Steele from his book of essays “A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America,” about responsibility:
In redemptive liberalism, others are responsible for the problems blacks suffer, and blacks are, in an odd way, responsible for preserving the weaknesses that keep others responsible.
She goes on to write:
Why won’t America ever see a government program that teaches white men how to live responsibly? Because society expects whites to take responsibility for their lives. Even the progressive black politics of a progressive black president seem to hold whites to a standard of excellence – and blacks to an all too familiar standard of inferiority. That kind of underlying assumption, Steele writes, inevitably leads blacks toward feeling “entitled to irresponsibility”.