Review of “My Family’s Slave” from The Atlantic

The Atlantic recently published a tragic but captivating article by Journalist Alex Tizon called “My Family’s Slave.” I happened upon this article while eating breakfast at my desk this morning and read through the whole thing. The end of the article left me with so many feels. It’s definitely an article that regardless if you can relate to, it’ll make you feel something.

Aside from the unjust and morally wrong enslavement of Lola, what best captures the feelings I got from the article can be summed in this statement by Jeffrey Goldberg in his interview with NPR: “One of the reasons it’s so hard to get this story out was he had to confront the true nature of his mother and the true nature of his father and this terrible and terrifying arrangement that they had acquiesced to — that they benefited from for decades. And so imagine you’re the writer and you want to tell this story of the woman who essentially raised you and you realize that in telling this story, you’re telling another story about his mother and her acute moral failings.” 

Now in my mid twenties, one of the most bittersweet challenges I’ve faced and seen my peers face is the realization of our parents’ true nature and downfalls. Parents who we used to admire for their self-sacrificing tendencies and courageousness have turned impulsive, demanding, and oftentimes burdensome. At the end of the day, our parents are not without flaw and have become, in a sense, children who we must put up with because we still really do love them. Oh, how the tables have turned. The only thing we can do is learn to accept them for who they are and try not to inherit their flaws. It’s easy for us to say that Alex should have done more for Lola, and perhaps he should have. But I do feel for the man. He chose to honor the great woman who raised him but as a result, had to come to terms with the morally evil woman that his real mother was. I wouldn’t know how handle that. Great read though!


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