The Black Snob

Politics. Pop Culture. Pretentiousness.

Archive for the ‘Alice Walker’ Category

The Chip On My Shoulder Is A Boulder

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Stories of Love and Pain and the Complex Bond Between Mother and Daughter

In an ideal world it would be just like the movies.

Mother would be loving and wise. Daughter would be adored and proud. But that would be a perfect world. A Donna Reed-by-the-way of Claire Huxtable world where mother knows best and there’s always fresh bake cookies at the end. It the real world we have pain and we are flawed and we make mistakes. Some hearts mend, others are broken beyond repair.

These relationships are complex and demanding, but you only get one mother.

On May 28 I wrote a post on writer Rebecca Walker, daughter of “The Color Purple” author, Alice Walker. Rebecca recently penned a column on how she felt abandoned by a mother who used her belief in an extremist view of feminism as an excuse to neglect her. Some thought it smacked of opportunism and betrayal. Others thought it was shedding a light on something most never talk about — loving the imperfect vessel that ushered you into the world.

When we are hurt by those we love we are told to keep quiet. That there is bravery in our silence. That it is a noble thing to lock away all the bad and focus on solely on the new even if the pain is still raw and destroying us from the inside. Loyalty above all, even our own well being. No one is celebrated for outing their own mother as neglectful or judgmental, but I encouraged my readers to bare their souls about the good and the bad and ten women responded.

All the stories sent will run over the next two weeks. They will run in full with some minor editing. I hope that in reading them other women in pain will realize that they are not alone. That countless other women share their burden and too want to be freed from it.

Some of these tales were not easy to read. Others were uplifting. But they all came layered in the same truth — sometimes families fail. Even when they mean well. Even when everyone tries hard. Sometimes things fall apart. And it is left to the children to put them back together again.

THE ADOPTEE

My mother and I have an odd story.

She was unable to have children, so she adopted me as an infant. I have had an amazing life and am truly blessed, but our relationship has been tumultuous. Often times, I am my mother’s only friend, which is a difficult thing for a child to be. She is brash, offensive, and loves too hard, and occasionally, she drives people away, and I am all she has left.

When she was high on drugs and rambling about life, she talked to me, when her and my father were having serious problems, she talked to me, when her health began to rapidly deteriorate and she feared death, she talked to me. Often times it was more than I could bear. On top of all that, we fought fiercely for attention. My mother has always been attention starved, and I stole her sunshine on more than one occasion. She was quick to remind me that I was not wanted by my real mother, and that my father did not even want to adopt me, that only she wanted me, only she loved me.

In 2006, during winter break of law school, she kicked me out of the house. I have never returned to live there. With all of this though, I love her.

She is fiercely protective and she loves so hard. I know she loves me more than anything, and I have personally seen her put my needs before her own. She raised me to the best of her ability and I have to learn to love her for what she is and is not.

I know what it feels like to intensely hate and love someone at the same time. She has stopped drinking (for over a year now) and stopped doing drugs, and her personality has calmed down severely. I think, as I look back over it, our problem is that we wanted to have a best friend relationship as well as a mother-child relationship. I’ve seen this with many people, and ultimately, you have to find a balance.

I think with all the fighting we did when I was a teenager, she wanted to be my friend again, and confess and gossip to me like she did when I was young, only I no longer would listen. When she tried to flip on me and become a mother again and put me out of the house, I didn’t understand why. We still work at it everyday, and I love her, and I think I understand her more than anyone. I have no idea how to wrap this up so I’ll end by saying that I love my mother, some of the shit she did was unnecessary and has left permanent scars, but she did the best she could.

And I think at the end that’s all you can ask from anyone.

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Written by blacksnob

June 17, 2008 at 2:33 pm

The Lakers Chose to Lose In Boston, Tiger Woods Is Awesome and Other News At La Casa de Snob

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Hello Readers!

As I’ve stated before, I enjoy sports so yesterday was a pretty good sports day with Tiger Woods getting a birdy on the 18th hole to push the US Open at Torrey Pines to an 18 hole playoff today. I was loving the double fist pump and the look on golfer Rocco Mediate’s face when he realized he would have to play the best who’s ever played the game, again, on a golf course Tiger practically owns.

Then the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been out-played by the Boston Celtics this whole NBA Finals series managed to escape seeing the Celtics dance around and spill champagne on their home court.

It would have been really lame for them to get trounced and only win one measly game. But as you can tell from my headline I am not to optimistic about Los Angeles’ chances in Boston. For one, they don’t have an answer for Paul Pierce and two, Celtics Coach Doc Rivers figured out the key to stopping the Lakers early was to take out Rajon Rando at point. Kobe Bryant wasn’t even guarding him. That’s how big of a non-factor he was. And how can you have a point guard who’s a shy shooter? That’s mind-boggling. Take the shot, kiddo. You’re open! Did he even get minutes in the second half?

So unless Pau Gasol and the rest of the Laker supporting cast figure out how to play defense the whole game, not just the first quarter, I expect this all to be over come Tuesday. What’s funny is if the Celtics were playing any other west coast team I would be rooting for them.

I live for watching Utah get beat down. I’m indifferent towards San Antonio. The Phoenix Suns can just roll over and die. I don’t care about the Mavericks. The only other west coast time I half-ass care for is Golden State and that’s just because they’re insane. I like an insane shooting team that only knows one speed, fast, and lives and dies by fast. And I want to like the SuperSonics, but that’s only because of number two draft pick Kevin Durant.

I like the Celtics (for the first time ever), but I love the Lakers (even if Kobe can be an incredible jackass). But if they lose they Tuesday it’s because they deserved to lose. The Celtics are the better team.

In other news: I got a great response from readers for my mothers and daughters piece regarding a recent story I did on the strain between author Alice Walker and her daughter Rebecca. I’ll be running the story as a series of the next two weeks, featuring what each of the contributors wrote with some minor edits by myself. Most of the letters were written in such a beautiful and raw manner that I’d rather leave them unvarnished than muck it up with a lot of my prose.

Look for the series all this week and next!

Written by blacksnob

June 16, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Mothers and Daughters

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In light of the recent melodrama over Alice Walker and her daughter Rebecca Walker, I thought it would be interesting to explore the relationships between black women and their mothers. Therefore I’m soliciting personal stories from readers about their relationships with their mothers for an upcoming article I’m writing for the blog. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please e-mail it to me. I will not use anyone’s names as I want people to be honest about the good and bad, their love, disappointment, joy and pain in their relationships with their mothers.

So if you have a story to share, write up to a max of 500 words on your relationship with your mom and email The Black Snob at blacksnob@gmail.com.

PS. I’m still on break! But I’m still answering my emails and working on story ideas for when I come back. Toodles!

Written by blacksnob

May 30, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Feminism. Abandonment. And Rebecca Walker.

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Rebecca Walker, daughter of “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker, recently divulged her true feelings about her mother’s ardent feminism and their estranged relationship. I first read about it on The Ultraviolet Underground and Okayplayer.

In a column written for Great Britian’s The Mail, Walker talks about being abandoned and neglected by her mother who she labeled as selfish, seeing children as a burden, trapping women into subjugation. She essentially calls her mother a feminist fanatic, pushing the most extreme ends of the women’s rights movement.

Some have criticized Walker for “outing” her mother as a bad parent, accusing her of only doing it for her career, but I think what she did took a degree of courage. If she was truly raised with the ideology that children were a burden and internalized that she was an unwanted inconvenience to her mother that’s a tough load to carry psychologically.

It’s hard to go against your mother, especially when she’s more famous and better liked than you. Alice Walker is an icon in literary, black and feminist circles. Her story in some ways reminded me of Christina Crawford’s tell-all about her famous mother Joan Crawford. She was bashed for writing her book after her mother died and left her out of the will. They said she only wrote it because she was angry, like being cut out of will wasn’t reason enough alone to be furious.

You can debate Walker’s methodology, but the only people who really know what went on in her childhood were her mother, her father and herself, and I believe her sense of abandonment is real. A lot of black children are abandoned either physically or psychologically by their emotionally stunted parents. Abandonment happens every day. Black parents who think a “whoopin'” is the answer to everything. Black parents who look the other way when their latchkey kids engage in risky behavior. Black parents who just aren’t there. Fathers who split. Mothers who leave their kids to be raised by grandmothers.

Familial loyalty can only go so far in a damaged relationship and Rebecca and Alice Walker would have to have a damaged relationship for it come to this. My mother and I have our differences on things, but we have a healthy relationship. She deserves my loyalty because she gave me unconditional love and devotion. I don’t have anything to bitch about.

Rebecca apparently does.

Side note: The article is worth reading for her analysis of the extreme end of feminism alone. While I’m a feminist, I identify more with Rebecca views that the movement was about giving women options, not labeling all things related to “femininity” and “marriage” bad. My mother is an independent minded woman with a college degree who became a full-time stay-at-home mom. I don’t think she ever felt subjugated by my father. Their marriage was both retro and modern. My mother had options. That’s the point. Women can choose their destines, whether it be a career or motherhood.

Also, if all children were burdens no one would have any and that would be the end of all of us, so that logic is a fallacy. This is the real mythology of the movement, that women can “have it all.” We still don’t live in a fully egalitarian society. Having a family does involve concessions, usually on the woman’s behalf. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional.

Written by blacksnob

May 28, 2008 at 11:57 am