Alex Tizon’s account of his family’s slave left readers frustrated with the ambiguities of memoir, journalism, and storytelling.
If you haven’t read the piece written by Alex Tizon (published through The Atlantic), it is certainly worth your time. It’s long, but well worth it. It explores the dynamic of a family coming from the Philippines to America…with their family slave. The author holds a lot of guilt from his childhood and adulthood regarding the treatment of Lola. Lola remained with Tizon’s mother, a doctor, until the doctor’s death from leukemia. Lola went on to live with Tizon and he tried to acclimate her to the American life and Lola eventually became a U.S. citizen. Lola withstood a lot of mistreatment (and that’s putting it lightly) from Tizon’s parents.
Longreads has published a second look at this story (linked above). I also recommend that you read it as well. There are so many complicated dynamics involved. Ethics and morals are something that exist in every nation. Yet…they’re not all the same. So, was Lola exploited? Absolutely. Do I think that Tizon did the right thing by bringing her into his home after the death of his mother? Yes. Does that absolve what happened to Lola? No.
It is important to remember that Tizon was a child who grew up with Lola being in the home and when he tried to stand up for her, it didn’t go over so well with his parents. I do think he did what he felt was best.
What is your opinion after reading both pieces?