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My Broken Language


A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical coming of age story in a ...
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What Quiara sees and hears on the news does not always reflect her lived experience. What are your memories of the 80s and 90s?

Created: 01/06/22

Replies: 8

Posted Jan. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2913

What Quiara sees and hears on the news does not always reflect her lived experience. What are your memories of the 80s and 90s?

The 80s and 90s were a distinct time in American history, and My Broken Language looks at the AIDS epidemic, the war on drugs, racialized notions of the "welfare queen," and the obscenity hearings in Congress. What Quiara sees and hears on the news does not always reflect her lived experience. What are your memories of those decades?


Posted Jan. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

Excess and a big focus on materialism.


Posted Jan. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 231

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

For sure melanieb, but the 80s and 90s were also a time of significant professional growth for me. I was fortunate to be recruited into a project at one of my first employers to deploy networked ATMs and, from there, followed a technology career path that was very gratifying. There were so many technology advancements in that time it makes my head spin but was a terrific career direction as well as opportunity for personal learning.


Posted Jan. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabeth

Join Date: 07/10/19

Posts: 20

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

The 80's and 90's were a time of coming into my own as I went to college from 1981 to 1990 and earned my doctorate, got married, bought a home and was preparing for my first child. The AIDS epidemic, poverty and drugs were not factors in my life in any meaningful way until I knew of a few high school classmates who died of overdoses.


Posted Jan. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cindyr

Join Date: 05/25/21

Posts: 21

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

I attended college in NYC in the 80s and then moved around the country as a television reporter in the 90s. In the 80s, the AIDS and crack epidemics were rampant. Reagan was president and the disparity between rich and poor was defined in the trickle down economy, eliminating much of the middle class and fueling the stock market and self-absorbed yuppies. In the 90s, McDonald's super-sized nearly everything they served, followed by other fast food chains and we ate it up. Bigger was better. For example, McMansions with 3 car garages? Pop culture exploded and "Friends," was a huge hit. Television showrunners wouldn't create a show about six white twenty-somethings living in a unrealistically priced apartment in NYC today. (Although the recent 20th anniversary show was a success.) The news in Miami, where I worked reported on nearly everything that happened in the Cuban community, almost completely ignoring the equally large Haitian diaspora.


Posted Jan. 11, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 399

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

The news reflected more of white culture than her own experiences. Some of the family experiences, such as family members dying off AIDS, was hidden from her.
I was raising my family in the 80's and 90's so I was rather removed from the national news.


Posted Jan. 14, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 369

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

After an 11 year marriage I went through a divorce in January 1980, and had two boys ages 5 and 9 to raise. I was a busy working mother. I remember the term latchkey children, and a broken home which both disturbed me. We were not a broken home. Also people assumed divorced women were on welfare, never was I on welfare nor any divorced women that I knew. I do remember people worried about AIDS and a coworker that had a son who did die of AIDS. At work the women had to wear dresses, no slacks of any kind and oddly enough no fashion boots! We started a campaign and had the rules changed. I was not really into politics back then so do not remember much.


Posted Feb. 03, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gaylamath

Join Date: 02/11/20

Posts: 39

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

I was a young mother and then a divorced/single mother in the 80s and 90s. I got married too young and then when I got divorced I did the things that I should have done before getting married and having a child. I wasn't a very good mother, I was very selfish, but I have learned over time my mistakes. I hope I'm a better grandma that I was a mother. I was totally oblivious to what was going on in the world, if you don't pay attention, you don't worry about things.


Posted Feb. 07, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
caroln

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 69

RE: What Quiara sees and hears on the ...

As like Maggie and others, after 20 years of marriage, I found myself a divorced/single mother with two young girls in 1985. As a stay at home mother, I was forced back into the workforce at the bottom of the wage schedule. I was struggling, I was always just one step away from the bill collectors or the bank's repossessing my modest little home, but I never once thought of welfare. I just looked for another part time job to keep some kind food on my table for the last few weeks of the month. Touched by AIDS, deeply so. One of my first work assignments was supporting one of our principals who was reassigned to the district office due to AIDS. I watched this young well - educated man over the next few years as he fought for his life as a part of SF experimental study using high risk medicines. What courage this man displayed, always positive as he continued his lifelong work to improve education for children. I often found myself using him as my prime example for "keeping on trucking."


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