The responsibility of your problem

through line: You are responsible for the problems you create, and a person cannot just run away from their problems.

We’ve spent the semester learning about the injustices experienced by African Americans in the United States. The two main books we have read are From Here to Equality by William A. Darity Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. From Here to Equality is a nonfiction book that examines the political history of the black reparations’ movement, the influence of slavery on the country’s progress, and the United States unwillingness to confront racial economic in equality. It also puts forth a proposal for African American reparations. Song of Solomon is a fictional book that follows the life and struggles of a character named Macon Dead III, also known as Milkman, an African American man living in Michigan. Through this main character, we see the problems African Americans faced in the early 19th century.  In this book, we also meet a character named Pilate, who is Milkmen’s aunt. She is known for her loving and selfless nature, even though she suffers from the same racism that has embittered Milkman. Through this character, we are given the course epigraph. “You just can not fly on off and leave a body.” She is told this by her dead father, Macon, after the birth of her child. She was feeling depressed and lonely after the birth, then “Clear as day, her father said, “Sing. Sing,” and later he leaned in at the window and said, “You just can not fly on off and leave a body.”. she interprets the message literally after receiving it. She sings to make herself feel better, then returns to the body she had left behind. Even though the book references an actual body, as readers we are able to interpret Macon’s words in many ways. Through the semester, we have been using his words as our course epigraph to set the theme for the class. We were tasked with giving our own meaning to his words. An interpretation that could be taken from his words is that a person cannot escape from their problems. This means a person could not and should not get away from their issues. Just like how Pilate says “He meant that if you take a life, then you own it. You are responsible for it.” You are responsible for the problems you create, and a person can not just run away from their problems.

Pilate’s words help strengthen the essays main topic of taking responsibility for the problems one creates. Many people need to take her words by heart in both the books we read through the semester and in real life. In the book From Here to Equality, the people who should follow her words are the United States government. Throughout the book, we are given examples of the United States government creating problems for the African American people and then showing the unwillingness to fully take responsibility for the problems they cause to the African American community, which has led to more problems for this community in the long run. Their solution to the problem is given through reparations to the African American community, but most of the reparation did little in solving the general issues of racism in the United States. This book shows a great example of what happens when a person or organization does not take full responsibility for the problems they have caused. In the book Song of Solomon, we are given the opposite conclusion where the character does take responsibility for the issues he has created. In the beginning, Milkman is an egotistical young man who makes problems for himself. One of the problems he creates is with a character named Hagar. The problem with Hagar is that when Milkman breaks up with her, he does it over a Christmas note instead of face to face. He does this thinking it would be less harmful, but this causes the opposite effect.  She tries to kill him every chance she gets. Not stopping till she dies of a “broken heart.” At the end of the book, when Milkman goes to see Pilate and tells her about his “inheritance,” he is forced to take responsibility for the death of Hagar. His taking of responsibility is represented by him holding on to the hair of Hagar.

Just like how the word helps Milkman, it can also help the reader of the story. I am also a person who needs to take Pilate’s words to heart. The problem for me was procrastination, laziness, and lack of motivation to work. At the beginning of the semester, I procrastinated and did not put my total effort into my work. When I first applied to college, I thought it would be just like high school with its many rules and strict attitude, but when I got here, I was surprised by the more relaxed attitude here. The first month of the semester, I grew to relax more than I did in high school. I found that I had more free time to myself, was able to hang out with friends more, and sleep in. The work was a little tricky in college than in high school, but it was not that much, and the assignments were always far from each other. These factors led me to become more relaxed with my work, causing me not to put my total effort into my work. This caused my work to suffer and not show my full capabilities.  I was not doing well in some of my classes. Instead of taking responsibility for my actions, I blamed this problem on a lack of time or distractions surrounding me. It was not until I realized that the problem was not the things around me but myself. This meant that the only thing causing me harm was my own action and attitude. Once I was able to take responsibility for my actions, I was able to fix the problem I was having and put more effort into my work. This allowed me to do better with my work and succeed in my classes. Taking responsibility allowed me to become a better person, student, and teammate. Taking ownership and responsibility for your problems is an essential part of anyone’s growth as a person. Essentially, this implies recognizing your responsibility in your own life.

I was able to take responsibility for my problem and was learn from it. This lesson was important in part the insistence of GLOBE’s desire that Geneseo students have the ability to “reflect upon changes in learning and viewpoint throughout time. Globe meaning Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education is a framework for developing and measuring a comprehensive student experience at Geneseo.  Taking responsibility for one’s problems does fit in this framework of helping develop a comprehensive student experience at Geneseo because it helps improve the overall student experience at Geneseo. Once a person is able to take responsibility for their problems, they are able to put more care into their work and the overall community at SUNY Geneseo. Being responsible for the problems you create also connects with the Geneseo Learning Outcomes. It helped show the skills a student must demonstrate at Geneseo. These skills include Critical Thinking by thinking logically and trying to solve your individual problems, Leadership and Collaboration by being able to learn from past mistakes and improve upon them, and Creativity and Creative Thinking by being able to use creative ideas to solve the problem.

Using the course epigraph “You just can not fly on off and leave a body” and Pilate’s words of taking ownership and responsibility of your problem, this essay shows two examples of what happens when a person does and does not take responsibility for their problems. The first example shows that if a person or organization does not take responsibility for their actions, this only leads to more problems in the long run. Causing more harm in the future. The second example shows the opposite of the first example. It shows how a person is able to grow and change once they accept responsibility. I was procrastinating and not putting forth my entire effort at work. Taking responsibility enabled me to succeed in life and be scholarly. I solved my situation after I accepted responsibility for my conduct. The Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education is a framework for establishing and assessing a holistic student experience. Taking responsibility for one’s difficulties fits into this paradigm. When a person accepts responsibility for their problems, they are able to devote greater attention to their task. Taking responsibility is a necessary action in one’s life, and once a person is able to accept the problems they created, they are able to grow as a person.

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