SIMMONS: Big Brother shouldn’t be our brother’s keeper

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The White House had big plans Thursday, having scheduled as it did, for Barack Obama to unveil his My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

That was the plan.

Mother Nature had one, too, and after whipping up her skirts in every town east of the mighty Mississippi, even the president had to bow to a force greater than the Great and Powerful Obama.

The timing gives the president and his team a little bit more time to ponder the initiative, which Mr. Obama alluded to in his State of the Union address.

Big Brother shouldn’t be our brothers’ keeper.

Like many things Obama, My Brother’s Keeper is an ambitious proposal, and it is skin-color-centric.

The broad, overarching goal of the unprecedented initiative includes reviewing current federal programs that were designed to address young men’s challenges and also discarding programs that don’t work and re-tweaking those that do work.

This will all be done “within existing federal resources,” an unnamed official told USA Today.

The goal, the official said, is “to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential.”

Bless the president’s heart for considering paying more than lip service to America’s youth. Too often, through no fault of their own, the short lots land in their laps.

Poverty. Hunger. High unemployment. Low academic expectations. Jail and prison time. Broken homes.

There are too many parents who push their kids toward the door labeled “adults” just because they know their kids can tie their own shoes, know how to fry an egg without smoking up the kitchen or figure out (albeit, the hard way) not to put bleach in a load of colored laundry.

We set our kids up for failure by weaning them on “drug-free zone” signs. And we design school policies that kick them to the curb because they aren’t dressed properly (no pro-gun T-shirts allowed).

There also are other all-too-common sights in urban schoolhouses, like the security guards, metal detectors and scanners that “greet” kids each day, instead of grownup faces that say, “Good morning” with a smile.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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