One might ask Walker, however, if this sense of alienation from one's own parents, from one's own past identity, even one's own ancestry, is a condition of a multi-racial and mixed religious background, or a product of American adolescence? But the conventional existence eventually chosen by her father suggests that a White man can return to the mainstream after spurning all these things as a rite of adolescent passage, while Walker cannot. Walker's physical appearance forces her into a continual existence of protest, whether she chooses to conform or not. Even her mother's bohemian existence is chosen, and offers the comfort of ancestry, even an enslaved one.
How constructed, however, one might ask is the idea of ancestry and connection? The unbroken line between African-Americans might itself, one say, be a construction, a tracing together between various Africans who were enslaved centuries ago. An African-American immigrant from Haiti might be 'read' the same by white eyes as one from South Carolina, causing a sense of identity diffusion because of societal mis-reading, as one cannot always see Rebecca Walker's Jewishness upon her. Making a social argument about the destructive legacy of the 1960's from hurt, from the depression and parental and personal conflict that seems to be characteristic of American adolescence is difficult. Individuals of different sexualities, of conflicted relationships even with homogenous paths might make the same argument of placenessness, of existing in a space they must create, rather than find. Although Rebecca Walker's book is a powerful personal testimony, it does not quite hold up -- nor perhaps should it aspire to -- as a sociological document. It is written, as the author admits, with emotion and in her own blood, and cannot admit the alternative perspectives of other American twenty and thirty-somethings undergoing similar identity crisis.
But unlike the identity crisis of leaving and returning to the bosom of the family, Walker has no family to return to -- her parents are divorced and have returned from their respective crisis of identities, into the bosoms of their own ethnic identities. They have been changed and perhaps improved by their heightened cultural exposure. But after her own rebellion, Rebecca Walker has no place to comfortably rest and return to -- except, ironically, the airport, she might say. "I am flesh and blood but I am also ether," she states at the end of her work. She attempts to create anew rather than return to ancestors, like her parents, and this re-creation is a constant source of consternation.