Black White and Jewish

Images Autobiography's are interesting books for many reasons.  First of all, it is like looking in someones closet which is always fascinating.  Reading about someone else's life and experiences is interesting.  But I do always keep in mind what one person recalls about their life isn't always what the other people who were part of the party remember.  Case and point with James Frey's book and others autobiographys that have reached the shelf.  When 2 people are having a fight, there are always 3 sides to the story.  One persons side, the other persons side and the real truth.  Yet at the end of the day, our own personal perspective of what happened to each of us growing up is all that counts. 

With all that being said, I really found Black White and Jewish to be really thought provoking.  Rebecca Walker was born in the late 60's to a white Jewish civil rights lawyer dad and a black (soon to be famous writer ) mother.  The marriage which had all the trapping of the times and desires for change, didn't last.  Rebecca was the product of that marriage.  Although black in appearance, she was always white and Jewish in her head maybe more so. 

Her parents, who went their own separate ways, decided to send Rebecca to live with each of them in 2 year intervals.  At her father's home, she was living in a predominantly white community and while at her mothers, she was living in a predominantly black community.  She was accepted readily into the black community but not so easily in the white community.  She was going back and forth between two worlds and had a very difficult time searching for her own identity.

As an adult, there is no doubt that she has probably found her sense of self as she is an incredibly accomplished writer.  I would be surprised if many scars didn't remain from reading about her anger towards both her parents as she tried desperately to fit in somewhere.

At our kids school, there are more than a handful of kids from mixed racial marriages and each of those kids, one in particular, has found a real comfort level and sense of self in this community.  Also, in the world that we now live in, it is much different from the world that Rebecca Walker grew up in.  Even President Obama had a white mother and black father yet he was raised by the white mother, he ended up marrying a black woman.  Perhaps because of the color of his skin, he identified more with marrying a black woman. 

Certainly we have come a long way of accepting people for who they are inside not outside but I would hope that other people do not have to find themselves searching so hard to feel comfortable in their own skin as Rebecca Walker did.  A worthy read. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. bev69

    Rebecca walker only actually lived in her fathers community for a very short period of time. She wasxaccepted right away into what was considered the cool clique and has chosen revisionist history over the years. I am not saying she didn’t have inner turmoil but it has been very hurtful to have someone publically mock you continually that you were kind too. If her mother were not Alice walker ivwinser where she would be.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Just because she was part of the cool clique doesn’t mean that she didn’t go home and feel disconnected. Her outward appearance might have seen to be happy and comfortable in her skin but maybe that was not what was happening in her head.I am just playing devils advocate. You could be absolutely right that she would never achieved the success that she has without her mother but dna is a very powerful thing. Some people come out of the womb damaged people and they never find their sense of self no matter what opportunities come their way because they can’t get out from under this case it is irrelevant what the color of your skin is.joanne [email protected]

  2. pollski

    Have you read Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander? While different issues, you get to look into his closet for sure!!http://www.shalomauslander….

      1. pollski

        Not to hype it to much, but I was crying by page 20. (because of laughing) Maybe it’s because my father was a cantor for a while so it hit me harder, but I’m totally a reform Jew and I still found this book really funny/sad/funny. I hope you like it.