AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER? by Shanikka Flinn

Columbus BlackBlog Series Vol. 1, Shanikka Flinn

Unity Symbol_Am I My Brother's Keeper“Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a proverb birthed out of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:6-9). The aphorism is even further referenced in several movies, such as New Jack City (1991) and Am I My Brother’s Keeper (2001). Although many people have heard of the cliché, have you ever pondered, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and thought to yourself, “Yes, I absolutely am!”?

If you have proudly responded to the aforementioned question with an emphatic “YES” then that’s great! As African Americans, you might think each and every one of us would also answer in the affirmative. But that’s not necessarily the case. Unfortunately, we have challenges among our fellow brothers and sisters that – if we are honest – many of our actions do not reflect we are “our brother’s keeper.”

Although it’s disappointing to admit, our struggle with dissention ranges from a lack of unity, jealousy, and competition to gun violence, physical violence, and drugs (not just using, but also selling within our black community). By all means, these are issues plagued among all races. And yes, as African Americans, we are certainly working to improve the divisiveness among our own people. But it’s imperative for us to continue working towards a stronger unification, at the very least, socially, professionally and civically – our children, our lives, and our future are at stake. Furthermore, let’s face it, it makes it a bit difficult for us to scream and claw for respect and equality [of which we should already have] when there is a lack of respect and equality among our own brothers and sisters. This does not have to be our reality or our fate.

As a marginalized race, it’s crucial for us to be responsible for each other. Let’s further encourage and strengthen the unity among our own people in 2017 to help us progress personally, professionally, economically, and more. We understand and believe in the age old adage “It takes a village to raise a child.” If that’s true then why wouldn’t it take a village to build and support each other as adults? Think about the long-term and overall impact our efforts would have on our culture, community, and race. Now ask yourself, again, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”