What have the past few days been like for Willow Janowitz Hunt? I remember twelve as being a starkly painful time. How much more so it must be for a child whose mother writes the following in the New York Times:
“Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!”
Undoubtedly children in her class have read the article and the comments already. And so have many in the community. And I can’t help but think that many of them would nod along with all those who praised Janowitz’s “humor.” And maybe feel a little sorry for the orphan girl who was saved from a terrible life.
But then what about those who do not agree?
My first response was to say “Tama Janowitz is an *sshole.” Because she’s careless of her child’s feelings and because she’s irresponsible in suggesting that other parents should be careless as well. Because, hey, it doesn’t matter!
So maybe some of Willow’s friends are commiserating with her, and telling her what an *sshole her mother is. And I wouldn’t argue.
But what does that mean for Willow? Undoubtedly she loves her mother. Undoubtedly her mother loves her. I wonder how careful she is of her mother’s feelings. I wonder if she ever feels free to express her own. I wonder what it means to internalize racist crap about your country of origin and being saved and how you have everything, so you should be grateful.
So what are her choices?
In the end, we know who holds the upper hand.