Yesterday I was minding my own business, sitting on the toilet, perusing Face Book - as one does. It just occurred to me that maybe a super hero shouldn't mention the bathroom, but alas, it's what happened. So anyway, I was um, handing my business, when I saw a post in my online book group about the book Rush by Lisa Patton. The ladies in the group had praise for the book which, in my opinion, was well deserved. At the same time there was one point about this book (and books like it) that these nice white ladies seemed to be blind to. While Rush tell a good story I cant, for the life of me, read yet another book where white women (well meaning though they may be) come along and rescue black ladies. I just can't do it. That's when I did the thing that's hardest of all - I told the truth as a saw it and prepared for blow back.
The women on the site defended their point of view, but they also heard me. One even commented that she had never thought of it from my perspective.
Here's my post:
I agree that we need these stories. There’s no question of that. At the same time as a women of color it gets a little old to watch a movie or read yet another book where people of color are saved by white heroes.
My feelings are so much bigger than this book. It makes me sad that so often Black is used as a synonym for poor or under served or whatever. At the same time I can’t help but celebrate activism and social justice.
I’m a middle class black lady. I have a lot more in common with people of similar standing than I do with with poor people. It makes me sad that I rarely if ever see myself and my friends represented in books. Maybe that’s the book I need to write.
I've noticed that whenever there is a black character that is not poor, they have to be pointedly mentioned to be black, lest the reader assume they are yet another white character. There is also almost always something exceptional about them.....as though a regular every-day person who happens to be black couldn't possibly become a dancer/doctor/lawyer/whatever. White folks need no big back story. For black folks there is almost always some white savior in there someplace.Me
Just once I'd like a character who grew up watching television attorneys and decided, while witting in her nice middle class house, that she wanted to be an attorney so she became one.....
EXACTLY! I grew up middle class. My kids are raised middle class. I have loads of friend who are just like us. Yet were entirely absent in much of literature. The greatest obstacle my kids have overcome is a helicopter mom and ADHD.
ETA: our oldest complained about his “rough childhood”. I asked him what he was taking about and he had a detailed complaint about our slow WiFi. .
I could totally write a book about the nanny we fired because she “prayed” too much. And by “prayed” I meant slept on the job and when we’d catch her she’d say “amen” like she was ending a prayer. Or the time I hired a landscaper without telling my husband. He thought I put something on the grass to make it not grow. (He’s from NYC-land of high rises and no lawns). Or how my hubby thought it was rude to talk to our neighbors. I had to teach him that it was rude not to. You know - suburban hi jinks that’s not at all about race.Other Poster:
Well land that helicopter and write a few books......especially about your NY husband in the Burbs......that sounds like a hoot!
So here I sit, helicopter landed, writing my own stories. Being my own doggone hero. Names and some identifying characteristics will be changed to protect the guilty. Namely which son peed on what cause oh my lord do they pee on stuff. Sometimes accidentally, sometimes on purpose. There's just a lot of pee when you live with all boys. A LOT - OF - PEE!
|Mommy's little helper|