Black Immigrant Relations, Childbirth After 40 Stir Listeners

The Tell Me More audience sounds off on a recent conversation exploring tensions between black immigrants to the U.S. and African Americans. Also, listeners share personal stories in response to a discussion about mothers who became pregnant after age 40, and weigh in on the famous life coach and author Iyanla Vanzant's story of pain and loss.

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, Host:

And now it's time for BackTalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital-media guy, is here. Hi Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey Jennifer, well, happy Friday. Well, listeners responded strongly to our discussion yesterday about black immigrants and differences that sometimes cause tension between many immigrants of African descent and African- Americans.

Now that subject inspired sharp differences of opinion on our blog. For example, blogger Devon(ph), an African-American, said black immigrants discount and marginalize black Americans. Another blogger, AlterEgoIsta(ph), posted this response. I'll read it:

It's also about African-Americans not understanding or valuing the African perspective in many cases. Both groups need to stop seeing each other through a myopic lens and try walking in the other side's shoes.

STEPHANIE: I had twins three-and-a-half years ago. I used an egg donor. My husband is younger than me and I used his sperm, and I did in-vitro, and I was very lucky. I'm now 52. My energy level is still going strong, and I think it's wonderful.

HILL: Thanks, Stephanie. Now Jennifer, we also heard from Kate(ph), whose mother gave birth to her when she was 46. Her dad was 49, and she saw things through a different prism.

LUDDEN: Growing up, when anything different about yourself can be cause for embarrassment, I was highly aware of the fact that my parents were older than that of my friends. My parents have even been referred to as my grandparents by people who hadn't met them before. I worry that my parents won't live to meet my children. Yes, it is possible for a parent to die at any age, but the likelihood and awareness that they may die are definitely heightened by their older age.

LUDDEN: Thanks, Kate. Lee, switching gears, this week we had a deeply personal conversation with Iyanla Vanzant. The famous life coach told us about losing her daughter to cancer and then losing her home to the foreclosure crisis. Here's a clip.

IYANLA VANZANT: Her death taught me what really matters. So a year and a half later, when I had to give up my house, I said, this is a house. My daughter gave up her life. This is not an arm or an eye. If you're still here, and if you have an opportunity and a chance to continue to do good and to be good and to live more, you want to do that.

HILL: And Jennifer, many listeners were grateful for that discussion, and here's what Christina(ph) posted to our site. I'm unemployed and over 40 but looking at the gifts that I still have: healthy family members, a roof over my head and great friends. It is wonderful to get up each day and be grateful.

LUDDEN: Thank you, Christina, and thanks so much, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Jennifer.

LUDDEN: And remember with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more about what you think, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Remember to leave your name. You can also log on to our Web page, where you'll find even more feedback to our segments. Go to npr.org, and click on TELL ME MORE.

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