My mother. That's her in a Kurdish costume on a trip to Iran sometime in the 1970s. She is spunky. Fun. Curious. Outspoken. One-of-a-kind. In May, I read a short essay about her at the annual Listen to Your Mother show in Milwaukee. You can watch it below:
I took a humorous slant on my mom, which is my usual approach. Nostalgia and frivolity with just a dollop of serious. But the national producers of Listen To Your Mother ignored the humor and zeroed in on the meaty center of my video when they wrote this tagline: "A determined mother asks her daughter why the 'f' word is not allowed when the ones that destroy others, are."
So this afternoon, I followed the lead of the producers and asked my mom some tough questions about race in America. She said some interesting things. By virtue of her age, she brings credibility to this discussion. Also, she witnessed racism up close, as my immigrant Iranian father experienced it in this country. Here are her comments:
We are moving in the right direction but the march of progress seems too slow. Maybe it has stopped. Or at best it feels like one step forward and two steps backward. People are being exposed to a variety of cultures and colors as the world becomes more global. But there isn't enough understanding, enough mixing, enough empathy. Well, there is among younger people. They are less racist. Maybe my generation needs to die before the country can see real change.
She speaks bluntly. I need to be more like her. She is my mother and I will try to follow her lead.
Milwaukee's Listen To Your Mother took place on Sunday, May 1 at Alverno College. I joined ten other women on stage in front of an audience that absorbed our stories, laughed, applauded, and of course shed tears. This is your chance to sit in the audience and listen. Because one of these stories might remind you of your own story that you wish to share.
Photo by Orphonic Multimedia
Do you like weird things? Me too! Do you appreciate quirkiness? So do I! Let's hang! Sign up for the Friday newsletter to get more quirk delivered straight to your email box.