Monday, July 7, 2008

Professor Tracey Claps Back And Extends A Standing Invitation To Rebecca Walker

Ms. Walker,

Thanks for your comment. Your words were like a free time machine trip back to my women's studies classes in graduate school. It was the only place that I regularly heard the word "cliche" used as I listened to the repetitive tales of woe by my white female colleagues in class. Cliche was the word they often tossed back and forth at each other, if one or the other dared challenge what the other was saying.

As I learned then, as I feel now, the word cliche is actually a overused psuedointellectual bullshit word for "you called me on my crap and I don't like it." It's just a word to deflect criticism and discussion of something that was pretty cliche in the first damn place. Such as publicly whining and bashing one's mother for "never being there for you" or "not loving you enough." Mama bashing is definitely old school cliche, it's now just more vicious and available in more accessible mediums.

You are absolutely right, I think that you could be writing about something else. Considering the multiple media forums that you as a well-known "name" and a woman of color have access too, it's beyond frustrating, even extremely irritating that you are using those platforms to discuss something you have already ready made abundantly clear for many years. We get it, Alice Walker sucked as a mother and she clearly sucks as a grandmother as well. What do the rest of us, particularly black women get out that discussion?

Does the world actually care about black women as wives, mothers, daughters, or just plain women period? Would The Daily Mail actually have been interested in publishing your article if your mother was not famous and was just a plain ordinary everyday black woman? I strongly doubt it. As a woman who I greatly respect and admire commented about your article, "I don't mind a "tell all" books, as long as the point of the book is to do more than tell all." And considering the comments and e-mails I have received about this topic, there are a lot of black women having the same unoriginal, cliched thoughts about your writings.

I believe strongly in teachable moments, so I extend a standing invitation for you to join me on a public podcast to discuss anything you like. Maybe you can enlighten me on my "cliched" thinking and tell me why it's more important for black women to interested in tired discussions of bad mothers and endless missteps of feminism instead of Dunbar Village or one of America's favorite hobbies, the marginalizing of black women in America and abroad.

I know several sisters who would love to hear from you since white feminists decided you have been speaking about our experience for so long and since those same women have clearly given you a free pass about bashing your black mother without one thought to the dynamics of that act in itself. There is no denying that you have an insightful and powerful perspective and experience to offer to others. And maybe you could learn a thing or two, you don't know about black women who don't view the world through the same prism as yourself or maybe that will be too cliche for you as well.


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