Wednesday, May 23, 2018

White privilege in full view

Former 'blond' Dylan Farrow gets believed while Korean-American Moses Allen doesn't.  Why is that?  Because Moses isn't White?

I know Moses the way any of us know a friend's child.  We're not close, I haven't nodded to him in decades or been around him. (That's not meant as an insult, I'm just trying to be clear that the only connection we ever had was that I was a friend of his mother.)  I believe what he writes in "A Son Speaks Out."

I believe him and I feel awful because what he writes rings true.  I was an adult around from time to time.  I did call Mia out on her verbal abuse (telling her, for example, to her face that no one would speak to a dog the way she did to Daisy once around me).  She did not receive that well (nor do many parents receive outside observations/judgments on their parenting very well).  Long before she was forced to leave NYC (she'd been lying to keep her mother's rent controlled monthly fee), I'd stopped visiting her at the apartment because she was too short with the children.

I believe Moses based on what I observed.  That doesn't mean anyone else has to.  But I do question why Moses is portrayed by the media so poorly (see Elaine's "VANITY FAIR's Julie Miller is hateful and a stupid") while Dylan is treated as a little princess.  I question it and I note that it smacks of White privilege.

Here's an excerpt of what Moses wrote:

It was common knowledge in Hollywood that my grandfather, the director John Farrow, was a notorious drinker and serial philanderer. There were numerous alcohol-fueled arguments between her parents, and Mia told me that she was the victim of attempted molestation within her own family. Her brother, my uncle John, who visited us many times when we were young, is currently in prison on a conviction of multiple child molestation charges. (My mother has never publicly commented on this or expressed concern about his victims.) My uncle Patrick and his family would often come by, but those visits could end abruptly as Mia and Patrick would often wind up arguing. Patrick would commit suicide in 2009.

My mother, of course, had her own darkness. She married 50-year-old Frank Sinatra when she was only 21. After they divorced, she moved in to live with her close friend Dory Previn and her husband André. When my mother became pregnant by André, the Previns’ marriage broke up, leading to Dory’s institutionalization. It was never spoken of in our home, of course, and not even known to me until a few years ago. But, as I look at it – as a licensed therapist as well as an eyewitness – it’s easy to see the seeds of dysfunction that would flourish within our own home.

It was important to my mother to project to the world a picture of a happy blended household of both biological and adopted children, but this was far from the truth. I’m sure my mother had good intentions in adopting children with disabilities from the direst of circumstances, but the reality inside our walls was very different. It pains me to recall instances in which I witnessed siblings, some blind or physically disabled, dragged down a flight of stairs to be thrown into a bedroom or a closet, then having the door locked from the outside. She even shut my brother Thaddeus, paraplegic from polio, in an outdoor shed overnight as punishment for a minor transgression.

Soon-Yi was her most frequent scapegoat. My sister had an independent streak and, of all of us, was the least intimidated by Mia. When pushed, she would call our mother out on her behavior and ugly arguments would ensue. When Soon-Yi was young, Mia once threw a large porcelain centerpiece at her head. Luckily it missed, but the shattered pieces hit her legs. Years later, Mia beat her with a telephone receiver. Soon-Yi’s made it clear that her desire was simply to be left alone, which increasingly became the case. Even if her relationship with Woody was unconventional, it allowed her to escape. Others weren’t so lucky.

Most media sources claim my sister Tam died of “heart failure” at the age of 21. In fact, Tam struggled with depression for much of her life, a situation exacerbated by my mother refusing to get her help, insisting that Tam was just “moody.” One afternoon in 2000, after one final fight with Mia, which ended with my mother leaving the house, Tam committed suicide by overdosing on pills. My mother would tell others that the drug overdose was accidental, saying that Tam, who was blind, didn’t know which pills she was taking. But Tam had both an ironclad memory and sense of spatial recognition. And, of course, blindness didn’t impair her ability to count.

The details of Tam’s overdose and the fight with Mia that precipitated it were relayed directly to me by my brother Thaddeus, a first-hand witness. Tragically, he is no longer able to confirm this account. Just two years ago, Thaddeus also committed suicide by shooting himself in his car, less than 10 minutes from my mother’s house.

My sister Lark was another fatality. She wound up on a path of self-destruction, struggled with addiction, and eventually died in poverty from AIDS-related causes in 2008 at age 35.

For all of us, life under my mother’s roof was impossible if you didn’t do exactly what you were told, no matter how questionable the demand.

In the above, Moses is correct: Mia has spoken of being assaulted as a child.  Since Moses is putting it out there, I will note that it is correct.  I've tried to be very fair to Mia when writing of her here or at THIRD and note very few personal tales that she hasn't shared publicly.  (I wrote of Ronan's gender confusion as a young child only because it went to how hypocritical and controlling Mia was and the conflict between public Mia and private Mia.  Mia is the reason Ronan lives in a closet.  Any other parent in 2018 -- certainly one who tried to pass herself off as liberal -- would embrace a child for their accomplishments and not try to make them think that being gay was a liability or something to be hidden.)