Christopher Brown is a sophomore at Vassar College studying political science and mathematics.
On February 27, 2014, President Obama launched his new initiative entitled “My Brother’s Keeper.” The program asserts that at least 200 million dollars will be invested in determining which businesses, sectors of higher education, and other facets of the American lifestyle are best equipped to help provide opportunities to young men of color. The initiative is based upon the premise that a high percentage of African American, Hispanic, and Native American students are reading below proficiency levels once they hit the fourth grade.
While the program is ideal on paper, there are multiple flaws with the premise of the fund. First, it is extremely problematic that President Obama has placed a dollar amount on the effort of pushing back against centuries of institutionalized racism. Even more disconcerting is the initiative’s complete disregard of women. Women of color are by far much more marginalized compared to their male counterparts. While it is ineffective to get into an argument of “who is the most oppressed within the oppressed,” it is important to acknowledge that this program speaks towards a greater issue of women of color falling through the cracks of the judicial and congressional system of the United States.