Alice Walker - honouring truth

Alice Walker Alice Walker: Obama charmed me... I was naive

She speaks softly and takes a hard look at life.

But Alice Walker always lives with hope.

"The more you honour truth, the more hopeful you can be," the acclaimed author and activist told me when she came into our BBC studios.

In an interview to mark a documentary about her life - Alice Walker, Beauty in Truth - she hailed the "awakening on the planet about insisting on truth as the guide".

Truth for Alice Walker was enshrined in her 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning book The Color Purple, where she wrote powerfully about a troubled young black woman fighting against a racist and patriarchal culture.

For her and many others, President Barack Obama's historic rise to the White House was a hopeful moment, but for her, an all-too-fleeting one.

"He charmed me, he held out a wonderful vision of a different way," she remarked wistfully, and then broke into a smile. "I was naive," she remarked.

"He and his family are visually beautiful," she explained. "But it's not so good to watch the continuation of policies we deeply disagree with."

She singled out the use of deadly weapons, including drone warfare, that she described as criminal.

In Alice Walker's view, the president "listens to bankers, not to us, the masses... the women, children and poets".

Do listen to my interview here with Alice Walker, a passionate poet, on Newshour on the BBC World Service.

Lyse Doucet Article written by Lyse Doucet Lyse Doucet Chief international correspondent

Lahore Literary Festival: Book lovers defy the bombers

A sense of patriotism, a desire for progress and an awareness of danger were all palpable at Lahore's annual literary festival.

Read full article

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Did I hear an entirely different interview? I know it may not be "politically correct" but are not some of her statements blatantly racist and sexist? She clearly said she could not trust a white woman leader because white women were so frightened of the witch burnings that occurred hundreds of years ago? Is she not guilty of the very same judgements based on sex and race that she so rails against

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Thanks to Joe Niski, I read The Color Purple 27 years ago! One of the best books! As for Obama, he knows what the truth is but does not dare to make a stand. He will go down in history as the first black president but that's about all I'm afraid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    I have been a fan of Alice Walker for decades. She has always spoken 'truth to power'. But I agree with the pragmatic here; I doubt that Obama fully understood how completely corporations have stolen our democracy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Obama is in a bind. He has to balance conflicting demands from different groups representing different racial origins. He has performed magnificently, balancing the affairs of state with matters close to his heart. His dream is to see justice and fairness to all racial groups, black and white. His detractors would find so many petty points to slam him. They need to look at the broader picture.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    If the president does not toe the line set out by those who are really in control, then he is in trouble. Many presidents have discovered this, Obama has too. I'm sure he really wanted to close Guantanamo, but that was not allowed. He has decided to play it safe, he has a family. For the rest of us, Eisenhower's prediction has come chillingly true. The military industrial complex rules.


Comments 5 of 9



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.