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The Sexual Liaisons of Alice Walker and Rebecca Walker

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I was doing some research for a page for Rebecca Walker.  Of course, given the was Google search works today Wikipedia comes up on the 1st page of results. Of course I look at the page. 


The Huria Search Results for Rebecca Walker, are worth looking at, in comparison to a regular search.  For example, I found an article in Ebony Magazine that would have been undiscoverable in a regular search.


At any rate, I read the Wikipedia citations and learned the following about Rebecca Walker under the category of "Personal Life":


Walker is bisexual and previously had a relationship with neo-soul musician Meshell Ndegeocello, whose son she helped raise.


Reading about Alice Walker, Rebecca's mother, I learned, In the mid-1990s, Walker was involved in a romance with singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman.


Admittedly, I have several "issues" with Wikipedia.  This is a new one.  Why would the self-proclaimed "temple for the mind" feel the need to share this information?  I looked at Rebecca's entire website and did not see this information. Why is it on Wikipedia?


Many adults have had relationship prior to the ones that are currently in.  Why does Wikipedia feel it is necessary to put this information on the #5 most popular website? 


Is this the purpose of an "encyclopedia"?  Small wonder a fact checker would be fired for using Wikipedia as a source.

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I don't understand why you are offended by the info about Alice Walker's personal life, Troy.  She is a feminist and, as such, after leaving her white husband and becoming detached about her bi-racial daughter, did enter into lesbian relationships.  Walker, like a lot of artistic "geniuses"  is tempermental and has become increasingly erratic with age.  All of this is relevant to her body of work and her evolving persona. If she or her daughter had a problem with what Wikipedia revealed about their same sex liaisons, they could've protested and had it removed. Apparently neither of them considered their lesbianism something to hide or be ashamed of.


 All biographical "facts"  depend who's supplying them because they rely on hearsay. Unless it's dealing with data about  topics as opposed to reports about people, no reference source is that reliable. 

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Del a buddy of mine told me that he believed Tracy Chapman funded the cafe, which was named Coco Bar (I think).


Here in NYC, it is not unusual at all to go into a Starbucks and see every table or seat taken up by someone on a Laptop computer.  A modern day Starbucks looks very much like an internet cafe from the mid 1990's.  Except Starbucks provides the internet access for free and charge exorbitant prices for their food and coffee.  I was really speaking about internet Cafe's in general not necessarily Rebecca's spot in particular. 


Cynique, I did not say I was offended by the info of Alice Walkers personal life. It is not clear what I wrote to make you arrive at that conclusion.  I thought I was very clear stating that I do not like the idea of Wikipedia sharing the information.


Clearly, neither Rebecca or Alice are hiding the sexuality.  Again, that has nothing to do with my point.  I'm questioning why Wikipedia is sharing the details about their personal relationships?


Giving information about a spouse is one thing, but sharing detailed about people they are 'going out' with in a supposed encyclopedia reference seems questionable at best. 


Now I get that since the partners mentioned are celebrities that people might find that interesting or noteworthy.  But again those details are fodder for a gossip column, People Magazine, or a memoir, not a citation in a encyclopedia.


"My life is not to be somebody else's impact - you know what I mean? And it was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her [Tracy Chapman] but it was not anybody's business but ours."
--Alice Walker, The Guardian, Thursday 14 December 2006

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LOL You and I really part company when it comes to the Wikipepdia, Troy.  Why wouldn't I think you are offended because Wikipedia shared personal info about Alice Walker, when you went into great detail criticizing?? Are you saying  that you aren't complaining about her being a lesbian, but rather that Wiki shared this information??  Would you even have brought the subject up if Wiki revealed that she was a Vegan?


 And, - are you implying that the highly vaunted Encyclopedia Brittanica would not share any personal information about a famous person?  That it would just print the date of birth and date of death and what the person was famous for?  OK.  If a person is doing research on said famous person, what reference would they go to compile a definitive amount of info about this person if a biography doesn't exist or even if they, themself, are planning to write a biography? What Wiki prints is apparently in the public domain.


When a person becomes famous,  their life  becomes an open book.  They do have recourse if they don't appreciate this.  They can sue or they release statements that deny what has been reported.  Screw Alice Walker.  People who buy her books, are curious about her and if they are fans, they think her having a lesbian relationship is their business, whether she likes it or not. And it is a legitimate curiousity if her personal evolution has had an impact on her body of work.   


Celebrities want to have it all.  Publicity when it serves their purpose, and privacy when it doesn't.  Tough. Stars may think they owe the public nothing but a performance, but "owe" is the operative word.  You are selling yourself to the public and  if the public makes demands about the product they are spending money on, that comes with the territory.   If you do not cater to them, they feel no obligation to cater to you. That's how it goes. Whether this is good or bad   boils down to making a value judgment.    


To me, Wikipedia is a sign of the times; instant information that sometimes holds up a mirror that  reveals warts and all.  And again, people do have options when it comes to removing what Wikipedia prints about them.


Teachers and schools don't like Wiki because it makes it too easy for students to copy info from it verbatim and this amounts to Wiki doing their work for them. 

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No I don't like Wikipedia.  If you ever read that article I wrote about Wikipedia earlier in the year, that will give you some insight. 


Yes, I'm complaining about sharing detailed about Alice's sexual relationships. It really has nothing to do with Alice herself.  It could be Bozo the Clown and I would feel the same way.


In theory what Wiki prints is in the public domain, but not necessarily because anyone can contribute.  As a result, some of the information is factually inaccurate or out right lies.  That is why is can't be used as a source by students.


I guess we will disagree about the expectation of privacy for authors.  I never liked, for example, the way they put Terry McMillan's business in the street. But to make matters worse the nature of the WWW exaggerated all of her marital drama. 


So while I'm just looking for information on Terry McMillan, or the Walker ladies newest books, all the details about their relationships is trust into my face.  In the past, if I wanted the dirt on Terry I would go to a gossip site.  Today I can't avoid the nonsense.


No, I would not expect Britannica to publish the names of past sexual partners (they don't).  I also decided to look for a proper encyclopedia citation for Alice Walker and stumbled upon this:


Why does Wikipedia beat Encyclopedia.com in search when is has a much better citation?


Certainly Wikipedia is a sign of the times, one of several signs I do not like.  Students copying from Wikpedia is the least of my worries as they could copy from the encyclopedia too.

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