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The Kindest Lie


A timely and soul-stirring novel about the lies families tell each other and the...
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Ruth's long-held secret from her past threatens to upend the upscale life she's created. What do you feel this reveals about being Black in America?

Created: 01/27/22

Replies: 9

Posted Jan. 27, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barrye

Join Date: 07/20/14

Posts: 53

Ruth's long-held secret from her past threatens to upend the upscale life she's created. What do you feel this reveals about being Black in America?

Ruth's long-held secret from her past sends her back to her impoverished hometown and threatens to upend the upscale life she's created with her husband Xavier. What do you feel this reveals about being Black in America? What is the cost of that double-identity? Does one ultimately have to choose?


Posted Jan. 28, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

Being Black in America is more like walking a tightrope than being white in America. Being Black in America means there’s a fine line separating success and failure and the struggle to maintain it all is very real.


Posted Jan. 29, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ashleighp

Join Date: 09/15/20

Posts: 33

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

Black women in America fight so hard to conceal anything they feel is stereotypical about their race in order to project that they must be worthy of their status. It’s very sad but it is such a deep fear that everything you work for will be snatched from you if you reveal any PERCEIVED “weakness” or “flaw”.

Black women feel the need to hide their natural born hair just to keep jobs in corporate America. Their HAIR. They feel they need to mask their genetics in order to have the “dream”. It is sad that they feel they have to pay for success or progress with their own shame and denial of their identity.


Posted Jan. 30, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

I feel as if I am not the best qualified to answer this question, but this book helped me see what a balancing act many black people experience every day. Ruth can't comfortably vent about her job with co-workers without fear, Xavier always has to look his best so he is taken seriously at his job, and Mama disapproves of Ruth's natural hair. There is a tension every time Ruth or Corey goes into a store. Even middle class families like Corey's don't get to experience a safe existence- -having to have "the talk" with their sons. The police are not necessarily community helpers, but people who could kill you for just being a kid. While it wasn't specifically addressed outright in the book, we were presented with two fathers who were unemployed, drinking, and leaving their children with another caregiver. I sense that more excuses are made for "Butch" than for "Eli" in society. Eli was busted for holding a small amount of dope, but Butch feels secure enough to smoke right outside his hotel. I seem to recall an MTV series about teen moms- -all were white. Could we say that their circumstances were celebrated???!!!! Yet every time the "welfare queen" line is dropped, it is implied that black women from the inner city are stealing from taxpayers!

In another book discussion, a reader commented that "those in the dominant caste have an obligation to help those in the subordinate castes or, at the very least, not to make their lives worse." The Kindest Lie helps me see more clearly "the very least" I can do. The outrage I feel (again) motivates me to fulfill my part of the "obligation".


Posted Jan. 31, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 1109

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

The question implies the revelation that she had a child would upend her "upscale lifestyle." It's Xavier's reaction that could potentially change things, and the fact that she still has a high-paying job (assuming she can go back to her job, we're not told how she left things) means she can still have an upscale lifestyle. It's not like she's going to usurp the role of parent and take Corey away from the only parents he's ever known. Adding a child into her life could make things more complicated, but she's already become a different person than the one who left her childhood home; I don't really see her going back.


Posted Feb. 02, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jos

Join Date: 03/14/21

Posts: 161

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

I care about reading stories like these because they help highlight so many issues that POC have to deal with on a daily basis. I can only imagine the pressure of having to live a double existence in both your personal and professional life and what that would do to someones sense of safety! It has to be exhausting.


Posted Feb. 02, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
AnnaMM

Join Date: 01/03/22

Posts: 2

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

I perceived the only real threat to Ruth's life, if her son was revealed, was to her relationship with Xavier. It's sad to think that her marital relationship would hinge on this fact. She should have been open with Xavier from the time they got engaged (if not earlier.) Ruth creates a problem for herself when she fails to disclose this fact to her husband. Their relationship doesn't seem very solid if she is afraid to share her past with him. Furthermore, she was in love with her former boyfriend and the pregnancy was a result. She shouldn't have been embarrassed to share that with Xavier.


Posted Feb. 25, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 424

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

I don't believe that it says anything about black people. I think it says more about economic differences than it does about race. Ruth did not want to go back to the poor lifestyle she grew up in - actually she wanted to hide it from her husband. No one want to go down in the socioeconomic platform. Having less is always a struggle. Ruth was ashamed of where she came from, instead of trying to better her families struggle. There is no choice - that is who you are.


Posted Feb. 25, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 280

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

That Ruth was afraid that revealing her past might upend her lifestyle is, for me, more about the role of women in society than about Black women specifically, though the intersection of being Black and a woman is kind of a double whammy for an upwardly mobile woman like Ruth. She is afraid that telling Xavier about the baby will ruin her relationship, and at least initially, she is correct. She waited too long, in my opinion, to come clean. But as a woman (and more so as a Black woman) our society still, sadly, expects her to be twice as good as a man and imposes expectations of perfection that Ruth has always striven to meet. If she had been a man, Black or White, there would have been no stigma attached to an out-of-wedlock child.


Posted Mar. 03, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 537

RE: Ruth's long-held secret from ...

I think Ruth should have been honest with Xavier from the start. She feared being "less than" and held the secret of an adopted son. I'm not Black but I do feel there is more of a struggle for Black women to climb out of poverty.


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