In prime-time TV and in real life, America's working-class mothers find it tough to keep their heads above water while juggling their professional and personal lives.
Two current shows—Switched at Birth and The New Normal—show the paternalistic attitudes working mothers often face.
For Switched at Birth's working class single mom Regina Vasquez (Constance Marie), money is a particularly fraught issue. As the show's title suggests, her daughter was switched at birth with another. So though she has been raising teenage Daphne (who is deaf), her biological daughter Bay is being raised by the much wealthier Kathryn and John Kennish. Regina and Daphne had been scraping by for years, but once they accept help from the upper middle class Kennishes (including their guest home and a job opportunity for Daphne), they both start to bristle.
Monday's post on 2 Broke Girls generated a lot of comments—from fans of the show who felt I was being too harsh, and from others who felt I was too forgiving of the show's many flaws. One commenter said, "You can't expect a comedy to be so heavy and grounded in real life struggles."
I am not sure what this says about me, but I love the dark themes that infuse Southern Gothic narratives. Alt country is one of my favorite genres, at least in part because it explores the most frightening vestiges of the human soul (I also like the pedal steel). In my defense, "Deep Red Bells" was my favorite Neko Case song before I learned that it was about the Green River murders* (lyrics):
In Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Freire wrote, "Critical and liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried on with the oppressed at whatever the state of their struggle for liberation...Only dialogue, which requires critical thinking, is also capable of generating critical thinking. Without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education." Because I believe dialogue is a critical component in working toward radical social change, I have quite a bit of love for conducting interviews--and thus, do so with some frequency.
Last week, my interview with Lorraine M. López, the editor of the newly published collection An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots, was published in WireTap Magazine. Since my conversation with López was more lengthy than the allotted space would allow, I was given permission to post a complimentary piece here. The two posts are intended to be read in tandem in order to experience the full scope of our conversation.