Monday, May 26, 2008

Is Rebecca Walker Seeking Fame By Way Of Destroying Her Mother's Image, Or Is She Sincerely Venting?



The first thing that struck me about Rebecca's article was that it was highly charged with emotion, and a seeming need to show the readers her mother Alice Walker's faults, as determined by her perception as an estranged daughter. I didn't get the sense that she was seeking to vent because she was hurt by the actions she claims of her mother.

I intend to go back and re-read the article because I may have missed something, but my take on this issue is: Rebecca probably wrote this article to hurt her mother, and possibly gain a bit of media attention while doing it.

Hopefully I'm wrong.

What's your take?

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5 comments:

focusedpurpose said...

hi PZ:-)

so...when i say that black women have gone out of their way to create internal enemies---folks want to get mad and shift my focus back to the bad black man. i have said it before and i will say it again, black men and black women are busy doing all the things that bring us down.

out of respect...the younger Walker should choose to take the high road;even if that means writing a fiction novel to fulfill her desire to be fully expressed. of course, this is only wise since parenting is pretty much trial and error and she is now a mother.

at the end of the day...brothers and sisters need to work it out. marrying and procreating out creates a slew of new complications.

in my humble opinion, feminism---as we know it has nothing to do with black folks. feminism as we know it is a bickering session between white men and women; it is sheer lunacy that informs the feverish involvement of black folks. think about it.

i am not sure if i feel sorry for either of these women. is that bad? i truly believe that what you sow you reap...

thanks for such a groovy blog:-) you make my day as i find my way...

blessings,
focusedpurpose

PurpleZoe said...

Peace Carole ^_^

I agree that are largest enemy is ourselves. The conditioning is thick, and the root of the entire problem is self-love. The evils that have plagued our community could not have blossomed without a lack of positive self-image or even a full desire for self-preservation on deeper levels. After the reconstruction, black folks were living respectable lives, despite heavy PTSD coming out of enslavement. There's no excuse for the debased imagery being perpetuated in our community now. The vision we give to the youth isn't worth sacrificing for money or fame.

Rebecca definitely could have handled this situation better than she did. I have some estrangement issues with my family, but when I wrote the dedications in my book I checked myself and avoided allowing ego to embarass my blood relations. Even if she wanted to write a non-fiction book about her experience, there is a tone she could use, and an intent to educate and empower her readers rather than destroy her Mother's image.

We do need to work on our internal issues and really face the root of our complication as women and men. There's accountability that needs to be taken on both sides.
As the child of an African-American Father and French Mother, I can see how it can be confusing for a child with a foot in both worlds so to speak, but there's no mistaking the reality. A person of color is a person of color. Black is Black. At least for my experience (I realize there are quite a few brothers and sisters who don't wish to be black or seen as black), there are no blinders as to what the reality is for our people in the African Diaspora. Our community has endured genocide for at least 500 years (and well into the present in the inner city), but the conditioning used to set the stage for it was under way creating a light skin versus dark skin dialogue in the minds of many original cultures before that.
That mentality is a very big problem for people of color, because it keeps us from coming together (at least for those who still empower the separate and divide conditioning).

I don't know alot about feminism to be honest. My Mother says I'm a born feminist, but I think I'm just hard-headed and self-aware (It helped that my Father was typical for his time being born in 1928 and married a very young woman that he believed he could mold, which pissed me off a great deal to witness).
Man is not my God, so I don't treat him as such. In the same token, I have to learn to some extent to allow myself to be vulnerable and let people in. I've never been very good at that beyond the usual formalities...

Thanks for stopping through. My apologies for the long-windedness *_^
I'm so glad you enjoy the blog. I'm going to keep on keeping on because I can't stomach the walking stereotypes that pass themselves off as cultural icons. We need a new dialogue as re-realization that we're human, and a stepping away from the image that's been projected onto us.

When we begin to do that en masse, we will heal our community mentally, emotionally, economically, and so on to the extent that we will have gained the wisdom to never be enslaved mentally or physically again. Some say I'm naive, but I know everything happens for a reason and in everything there is a lesson an opportunity to gain strength through wisdom in this temporary world.


Shine on SisterStar
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goldiilocs said...

I see nothing wrong with Rebecca Walker expressing her opinion or sharing her story. I think that Alice Walker is a phenomeonal woman, however, she is still a human being and liable to be flawed, selfish, etc etc. I don't think its Rebecca's intent to drag her own mother through the dirt, but rather give another perspective to who the woman 'truly' is. As a child, it is a traumatic existence to live in if you feel as though your mother doesn't love you, yet gets jealous when you cling to others. Is her voice not valid? Why punish her for telling the truth?

PurpleZoe said...

Peace Goldilocks

Thanks for visiting.

My position is based on the PR-like actions she's taken before this book and now with this book.

Rebecca changed her Jewish last name to her mother's last name. Why would she do this if she were so wounded by her mother (I speak from experience- when I was angry with my mother I can assure you no pr-benefits could have persuaded me to assume last name while also claiming to be wounded by her)? Most more than likely she changed her last name to assist her in being visible with her writing, because Alice Walker is as mentioned in the third person opening to the article written by Rebecca (link below), a cultural icon.
Also, she characterizes her mother as a fanatical feminist who is against child-bearing, but Rebecca was born of her, so... How fanatic is Alice Walker really?
It feels career-motivated to me.

I'm not her judge. Only expressing my opinion.

Miss Walker is intelligent. She knew this wasn't going to fly without some voices of disagreement.

Everyone has the right to tell their story, especially when they are truly venting. The article I read however, was highly charged with what seemed like sensationalized rhetoric (I'll elaborate more in a minute), rather than catharsis.

Many of us have had issues with our mothers. I am no different. My mother and I had our issues for awhile there, but there's a certain amount of respect family members should strive to give one another I believe, especially where mothers and daughters are concerned.
As a teen I ranted about my mother to friends. As a woman, I would be very careful how objective I was if I felt the unsquelchable need to make my memoirs public. My promotional campaign would not likely be one that starts an article pulling readers in with the idea that 'one woman is bold enough to stand up to a fanatical feminist icon' teaser.

It just seems very PR to me. I will likely read the book though, to be fair. If I do read it, and find that I prematurely assessed the vibe I'm getting about this, I'll naturally state it in an update.

Thanks for sharing your voice and perspective. We may not agree, but the beauty of varied perceptions always creates opportunity for learning, which to me is the true beauty of diversity.

Shine on
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Links:

The article

PurpleZoe said...

note to Goldiilocs:

Apologies for misspelling your moniker. Didn't catch that before I hit send.

Shine on
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~*