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Spring 2018 Discussion Questions - The Taste of Salt

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

The Taste of Salt, by Martha Southgate shines a light on the various roles we place ourselves and others into; woman, man, black, white, minority, majority, educated, not educated, addict, support system for an addict, among many others. Most of the time we function in these roles without really being aware of them. However, there are moments in our lives when we become acutely aware of how these roles define our lives either through our own assumptions or what we perceive others expect of us.

We are excited for this opportunity to discuss these roles and the assumptions that follow them. Please respond to one, some, or all of the discussion questions listed below. In your post, label each response with the question number to which you are responding. Engage in the discussion and connect with your peers. Take the opportunity to pose your own questions or comments, especially if there are other topics related to the book that you would like to discuss.

1. Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why might people try to leave their past (and their families) behind? Do you think it's ever possible to do that?

2. Josie's father, Ray, and her brother, Tick, both struggle with alcoholism and other addictions. Does Josie harbor any addictions of her own? Do you think she is aware of her inner conflict? Have you ever had an addiction or inner struggle that you realized that you needed to work on? What was that experience like?

3. The topic of this book is so heavy and so personal. Reading a book like this can often bring up uncomfortable emotions and memories, including defensiveness, shame, sadness, anger, and disappointment. What kinds of reactions did you encounter when you read this book? What kinds of assumptions did you find yourself making about the author?

4. While there is alcoholism in the African American community, as in any other community in the United States, relatively few memoirs or novels have been published about it. Why do you think that might be the case?


Phyllis-Impraim | 2 comments 1. I believe that people try to leave their past behind because they want to forget the bad things they've seen and experienced. Sometimes you want to be a part of a specific family that you adore because of the outcome of the people in that specific family look like. However , its impossible to really neglect a family that's brought you up. It's impossible to forget because you need to know where your from to see where you want to be.

2. Josie has an addiction of being perfect and not falling into the same path as her family. She used to smoke cigarrets and she sometimes hasthe urge of smoking and I think that she may have some what of an addiction. I have realized that I struggle with a little bit of addiction myself sometimes with smoking. I started to smoke when I started college and I have been struggling with stopping. When I realized it was a problem I felt embarrassed but I was able to over come them when I spoke to my mom who also noticed my addiction and told me that in her family her brother struggled with alcoholism and smoking addiction which killed him. My mom advised me to stay praying and going to church and this has helped me a lot.


3. I was making assumptions that maybe the author herself smokes and drinks and maybe she was dealing with family members addressing her problem. I found myself sometimes laughing at certain moments where Tick was being defensive about his addictions. And I found out that most times we all get defensive when we are being helped.

4. I believe that people don't talk about addiction so much because they don't want people making assumptions that they are addicts. They don't want to be looked at as a victim or judged. However, it is very important to talk about addiction in my opinion because people who relate to these stories can ask for help others overcome their problems.


message 3: by Ana (new)

Ana Arias | 3 comments Hello everybody, I think this book show us that family members behaviors can affect, directly to other. Family with addiction problen can be a worse situation, because the addicted only think in they necessities. The principal caracter is the strong women who could survive this situation.


message 4: by Rosita (new)

Rosita Mendez (msladymendez) | 4 comments Hello Everyone:
I am really started to love this book and I can relate and understand Josie. Addiction is just not the person using but the hurt that is brought upon everyone else. (loved ones and friends) Yes, having to deal with Ticks addition I do understand that it didn't make things any easier. talking about addiction is a serious matter in both parts of the story.


message 5: by Karla (new)

Karla | 2 comments Good afternoon everyone,
Today I will be answering question number on:
"Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why might people try to leave their past (and their families) behind? Do you think it's ever possible to do that?"

My answer:
I am a Hispanic, young woman, more specifically Colombian. I am personally NOT ashamed of my culture nor how my family got to the U.S. but I feel that every person has a past. My grandmother came to the U.S. trying to strive for a better life style for my mother, Colombia has always been a rough country to grow up in and my grandmother didn't want that for her family. She left her family and her past behind for something better, I feel as if Josie wanted to forget her family and put it behind her because she wanted to get better. she wanted to go into the field of her passion, especially being the only African-American woman in her study. The past will always come to the present, no matter how much a person tries to hide it. Family can visit or something may trigger a memory from the past, and it will come back crawling. The past and families are not something that a person can run away from, but it is something that can be dealt with.

Thank you
Karla A.


message 6: by Nefertari (new)

Nefertari Galeta | 6 comments Hi everyone!

My response is directed towards question 3.

The strangest thing about the last two books that the Book Club have discussed related to closely to my life, it actually frightens me. Forms of addiction has touched my own life so personally that reading this novel almost took me back to some of those personal moments in my life with a former best friend and my younger brother. The way Southgate describes the early childhood stages of Tick and Josie’s relationship, reminds me so much of my younger brother and I.

Growing up we were inseparable when even rode in a double stroller even though we were not twins. After my dad passed away, things fell apart at home and my younger brother fell through the cracks essentially , I think everyone was so immersed in their own grief that they forgot about him and he was the youngest. I took on so much responsibility after my dad passed away, and I think I connect so much of my own guilt and grief that I carry around with me similar to the way Josie recalls this moments in her family’s history.

It brought out immense grief that I think I buried away during the times I watched my brother go to rehab, relapse back into destructive habits and trying to get my family to be gentler with him knowing that harsh reactions only set him back, that he needed us to be gentler with him because his in pain. I felt very a lone during that time and even know we are still so close, that’s my best friend.

Often times, I would be sitting on the train and my eyes would well with tears, and I would want to close the book but I would continue reading because I had to know what happened next.

Southgate’s writing feels so personal, you feel like you’re sitting in her living room and she’s giving you these personal accounts right there. From that, this may not be true but one gets the sense that these characters are individuals she once knew, figments of her past that she carries with her into her future. I could tell that even if this did not happen in her own family, it occurred in many families she was surrounded by in her community and that affected her.


message 7: by Khali (new)

Khali Raymond | 15 comments Hello, people.

Sorry I'm late for the discussion. I will take the honor in answering a few questions for you today.

1. Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why might people try to leave their past (and their families) behind? Do you think it's ever possible to do that?

This was the first question that stood out to me. Firstly, people leave their pasts behind for numerous reasons. But, I wanna say that a common reason for that is because it usually will be your own people to drag you down first, long before anyone else could. Plus, there will be people that you love getting in your way to stop you. Also, there may be individuals in your family that are just impossible to deal with. The things that they may say and do can become toxic, and if your people aren't on the same page as you, then you will have to set them free. You can still love a person, but you will have to keep your distance. I can speak to this from my own experiences as a writer and a poet. My family doesn't quite understand what I am fighting for. Necessarily, I feel like they do not want to take the effort in understanding, so I just do my own thing. I bumped heads with my mom a couple times over this reason. I remember when I first won my spot on the NJ Slam Team for the Brave New Voices competition being held in Houston this summer and I told her all about it and how hard I worked to get the spot, she got angry for some reason and basically tried to undermine my achievements. Maybe she never did something of that magnitude, so her own insecurity kicked in and it wanted to prevent me from reaching my dreams. So, I told her that I did not care what she thought and I will prove her wrong because she had told me that I would never make it as a writer and a performer, how I need to get a quote on quote, "real job" job to help pay bills. Eventually, she became cool with the idea. I still love my family, but I love them enough to keep my distance. All my life, they wanted to control where I walked in life. I took my own control and pushed them away because that doesn't help anyone. They can think what they want at the end of the day, I am still going to distance myself from my past and continue to make a better future. The past has too much pain in it. There is no need to keep reopening old wounds. I been through a lot you would not believe, and I don't want to go back to the dark place I was in for a sizable chunk of my life.

3. The topic of this book is so heavy and so personal. Reading a book like this can often bring up uncomfortable emotions and memories, including defensiveness, shame, sadness, anger, and disappointment. What kinds of reactions did you encounter when you read this book? What kinds of assumptions did you find yourself making about the author?

As a writer myself, I frequently write such deepening material that these same feelings that someone would feel in this book will be times ten in one of mine. Whenever I write, I never censor anything. And I mean anything. As I was reading the book, I was reminded of the role alcoholism played in my own family. My mother struggled with it a lot. I saw her struggle with alcoholism. I lost my aunt during September of last year from cirrhosis, which she got from drinking a lot. So, those past feelings and scenarios kind of brought me back to those dark places my family were once in. I assumed that the author must have had a childhood in which someone she knew closely had some kind of alcohol problem. Alcoholism is a serious issue and more awareness needs to be brought to it. I am glad that the author has made their audience aware of the dangers this addiction brings.


message 8: by Katherine (last edited Jun 21, 2018 11:42AM) (new)

Katherine Wu (katherinewu) | 26 comments Hi Nefertari,

Your ability to continue to read the book despite the heaviness of the topic and how close it relates to you and your life shows a great deal of strength and perseverance. One thing that Southgate does not discuss much in the book is the role of therapy and support groups for people who have family members with some type of addiction. Al-Anon is one such group--she only discusses how her mother does *not* go but chooses to be in denial through the entire book. I personally think it shows that the enabler in the family plays a detrimental role in getting the addicted person to recover because of the denial that there is a problem in the first place.

Katherine Wu
Personal Counselor, Berkeley College Online
knw@BerkeleyCollege.edu
Nefertari wrote: "Hi everyone!

My response is directed towards question 3.

The strangest thing about the last two books that the Book Club have discussed related to closely to my life, it actually frightens me. Fo..."



message 9: by Katherine (last edited Jun 21, 2018 11:42AM) (new)

Katherine Wu (katherinewu) | 26 comments Hi Khali,

Pain and difficult life experiences help create the cuts in our body and soul that allow creativity to flow. It seems you harness your creativity well through writing and in preparing and performing your slam poetry. Some people handle their problems by trying to escape them -- this is what Josie and Tick do in the book. Yet, they aren't truly able to run away from them. Experiencing and travelling through the pain (through writing for example) can heal like no other. Going to therapy is a similar process and is why it is often recommended for people who are struggling to heal from a difficult experience.

Katherine Wu
Personal Counselor, Berkeley College Online
knw@BerkeleyCollege.edu

Khali wrote: "Hello, people.

Sorry I'm late for the discussion. I will take the honor in answering a few questions for you today.

1. Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feeli..."



message 10: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Wu (katherinewu) | 26 comments Hi Phyllis,

Nicotine is extremely addicting, even if you do not have the genetic predisposition to become addicted to any substance or a behavior. While quitting is not easy, it is definitely possible. There is absolutely no shame in being dependent on a substance -- you are in the company of millions of people. Patches can help, as well as therapy. It is important to replace your craving to smoke with another coping strategy that helps you deal with stress. You can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 24/7 for free, confidential referrals. I'm happy to help as well.

Best wishes,
Katherine Wu
Personal Counselor, Berkeley College Online
knw@BerkeleyCollege.edu

Phyllis-Impraim wrote: "1. I believe that people try to leave their past behind because they want to forget the bad things they've seen and experienced. Sometimes you want to be a part of a specific family that you adore ..."


message 11: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Phyllis-Impraim wrote: "1. I believe that people try to leave their past behind because they want to forget the bad things they've seen and experienced. Sometimes you want to be a part of a specific family that you adore ..."

Hello Phyllis-Impraim,
The Bad things can definitely have a negative effect on our behaviors and reaction towards others. So to try to forget it, it sort of like a temporary fix and may seem better within that moment. Sometimes people want a family, or even friends, to adore or whom they can relate to; because is easier to have relations with people who may understand you more, based on the shared similarities. I do agree that neglecting a family is difficult because that is where the first teachings begin. It’s great that you were able to compare your experience with hers, as well as admitting to having an addiction. Harm reduction may be beneficial. I also think it’s great that there is a support system for you. In addition, you have chosen a great set of words when you stated, “I found out that most times we all get defensive when we are being helped”. This is true. Especially in today’ society, anything other than stability is seen as shameful. However, it should be okay for some people to want help, oppose to trying to fix something alone. Phyllis, you’re right, it should be like that. However, the people that need help are ashamed or embarrassed; and, the ones who want to help are also embarrassed or hold a sense of judgment.
Shayquana Elliott,
Berkeley Alumni, 2018
Good luck 


message 12: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Karla wrote: "Good afternoon everyone,
Today I will be answering question number on:
"Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists ..."


Hello Karla,

This is a great post you have here. Parents mainly want their children to be better and have a better life then what they had. Similar to Josie situation, her experience led her to wanting better for herself, along with the great comparison given of your grandmother. Parents not only know what’s best for their child, but they also want what’s best for them as well. You also mention triggers, which is an important word because people may try to forget past experiences, but there can be certain things that trigger their memory, making it an uncomfortable situation. Yet, in agreement with you, dealing with it is a better way of trying to defeat it, or one will always lose.

Shayquana Elliott,
Berkeley Alumni, 2018
Good luck 


message 13: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Burke | 2 comments The author touched on many issues that I dealt with. I know one thing, you must keep toxic folk away from you..that includes friends and family. When someone is trying to tear you down..get away..love from afar. I finally learned this..people want to leave their past behind for their own reason. You have to do what make you stronger person so you can be the best person you can be.


message 14: by Leidy (new)

Leidy | 6 comments Charlene wrote: "The author touched on many issues that I dealt with. I know one thing, you must keep toxic folk away from you..that includes friends and family. When someone is trying to tear you down..get away..l..."

Charlene,
I completely agree! The sad part is that at times people don't realize some people around them are toxic.


message 15: by Leidy (new)

Leidy | 6 comments Hi everyone,
I will be answering number four.
Personally, I believe there are a few reasons as to why few memoirs or novels have been published about alcoholism. The one major reason is that many don’t realize that a drink a day may make you an alcoholic. I’ve recently learned that even drinking every weekend may consider someone as “social alcoholic” which many aren’t aware of. Most books may not want to realize they are writing an alcoholic character as it has become part of the norm to have a daily drink. I’d like to think this is just like back in the 50s and 70s where having a cigarette was part of the norm until it was discovered all the health risk. I may be wrong but somehow, I don't think things will change until people realize what a major risk it is to drink. People feel it is "courage juice" but at times it affects the way we behave with others.


message 16: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Podelski (StacyPodelski) | 2 comments Greetings to all I would like to respond to question #2
Does Josie harbor any addictions of her own?
Yes she does, she is addicted to what people think of her and running away from her past and her family.
Do you think she is aware of her inner conflict?
I think she is somewhat but she does not want to fully admit it
Have you ever had an addiction or inner struggle that you realized that you needed to work on?
Yes I was addicted to social media, it is something that I am working on a daily basis and am hoping to kick the habit of eventually.
What was that experience like?
It has been a trying experience, because part of me needs the social media to promote the businesses I am attempting to start-up, but I know it has been a distraction and has caused memory loss and shortage of attention span. It has been a process, but I am attempting to take it one day at a time, and hopefully will be able to kick the habit soon.


message 17: by Magali (new)

Magali | 2 comments Hello All,

I really enjoyed the book overall. Dealing with someone who is addicted to can change your whole life as well as theirs. You have to be willing go through a lot of hard times even when you want to give up. I think people try to run from their families and past because they want a fresh start. A chance to start over and forget things that have happened. Sometimes running away can be the only way to be happy. However, I do not think you can run from your past. It will always be in the back of your mind. You may not think about it everyday or months but it's always there.


message 18: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Charlene wrote: "The author touched on many issues that I dealt with. I know one thing, you must keep toxic folk away from you..that includes friends and family. When someone is trying to tear you down..get away..l..."

Hello Charlene,

I think you may be referring to the first question and I totally understand what you mean. Toxic people could easily rub off on one, provoking them to be the same way or be angry. Yet, we could all agree that this is something one would want to leave in their past. Even more, I think the world needs less of both right now. The great think is that, some people live and they learn from their experiences and become better at dealing with certain reaction and behaviors that they receive, preventing those types of events from hugely affecting them in such a negative way. Once this is mastered, their path should be clearer on being “the best person they can be” as you stated.

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 19: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Juxa wrote: "Hi everyone,
I will be answering number four.
Personally, I believe there are a few reasons as to why few memoirs or novels have been published about alcoholism. The one major reason is that many ..."


Hi Juxa,

Your right, occasionally drinking can in fact lead to something more than what a person may see as normal. Overtime, that person can become addicted to it and use it as a coping mechanism to when they are not doing so well. You also made a great comparison when cigarettes were a trend. This is true. I also think that drinking has become more of a trend as well. Everyone seems to do it because someone else is doing it; which than doesn’t make it seem so bad. Yet, everyone reacts differently once alcohol is in his or her system. As far as the saying “courage juice”, I can understand why it’s defined as that. However, if it begins to change one’s mindset or behavior where that they don’t have total control of who they are or how to behave, then it becomes a problem. Most importantly if there is someone that you think may need help, our very own and amazing Berkeley Counselor, Katherine Wu (knw@BerkeleyCollege.edu), provides us with the information- SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 24/7 for free, and they have confidential referrals. Also, remember, everyone cannot be saved; but, if you had even a chance at saving someone, do it!

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 20: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Stacy wrote: "Greetings to all I would like to respond to question #2
Does Josie harbor any addictions of her own?
Yes she does, she is addicted to what people think of her and running away from her past and he..."


Greetings Stacy,

I too agree that Josie harbor have addictions of her own and is well aware of her inner conflict. Like most people, they seek assistance when they feel the time is right; otherwise, it might not turn out so great. In addition, being addicted to social media may be most people of today. However, I have “scheduled social media” using social media at certain times of my day. As anyone would have, a health appointment, or any type of appointments, scheduled for a certain period. The appointments only take place during that time; not before, nor after. Nonetheless, that strategy may be something beneficial to try out. Not to mention, time management is definitely key to any successful business.

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 21: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Magali wrote: "Hello All,

I really enjoyed the book overall. Dealing with someone who is addicted to can change your whole life as well as theirs. You have to be willing go through a lot of hard times even when ..."


Hello Magali,

I see that you have answered the first discussion question and you made some great points based on the book. People who are addicted have a way of altering the capabilities and stance of others. In addition, people who had a bad experience look to be “born again” (sort-of-speak) hoping to leave everything in their past. Yet, once we have seen something once, we cannot un-see it. Everything seen and felt within that moment is embedded in our minds. Thus, running away could be an opinion, how would someone every face anything if they keep running? As you stated Magali, “It will always be in the back of your mind”. “It's always there”.

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 22: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Judith (ajvaldi) | 2 comments Hello, Everyone, I am responding to question #1

1. "Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why might people try to leave their past (and their families) behind? Do you think it's ever possible to do that?"

I haven't had the opportunity to finish reading the book, however this question I can answer. I sympathize with Josie, It's very hard to have someone in your family associated with this type of addiction. It can be rather embarrassing, I feel for the family. This topic is not something you would want to be advertised. Therefore I understand why she would leave her family behind. She is dedicated to her future and she doesn't want anything negative to affect that. I also feel that being one of the only black scientists, that's a lot of pressure and that image comes with great responsibility. I am guilty of turning my back on the family just for the sake of focusing on my career. Its hard to juggle, but once I'm finished with school I will be able to see them more.


message 23: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Ashley wrote: "Hello, Everyone, I am responding to question #1

1. "Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why m..."


Hello Ashley,

Admitting that you have not finished reading the book shows how much of an honest person you are. Also, I could understand the sympathy you feel for Josie. Yet, can you agree that we have been psychologically trained to believe that discussing these types of dysfunctional experiences is abnormal; oppose to speaking to someone, preventing all that negative energy form enduring within us? I too think that it’s important for someone to focus on their career, which means that their making time to focus on themselves; and without having to feel guilty about doing it. Especially women, it’s that genetic nurtures sentiment that makes us feel as though we must take care of the world, and not ourselves. You’ve also used a great choice of words, and you’re right, “that's a lot of pressure and that image comes with great responsibility”. Not just a career in Josie’s line of work, but women in any career, has had difficulties proving themselves worthy, simply because they’re women. Most importantly, I don’t see a woman whose leaving her family behind, it’s more like a woman who’s making right choices to represent herself towards a better lifestyle. So hey, don’t feel guilty, you’re doing great.

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 24: by Leidy (new)

Leidy | 6 comments Shayquana wrote: "Juxa wrote: "Hi everyone,
I will be answering number four.
Personally, I believe there are a few reasons as to why few memoirs or novels have been published about alcoholism. The one major reason ..."


Hi Shayquana,
Almost my entire family members are social drinkers. Sadly, they don't see anything wrong with it and laugh when I commented on their alcoholism. They responded with, I guess I am because if it is the weekend, we drink! Thank you for the information though!


message 25: by Francesca (new)

Francesca Bernhardt | 2 comments Julie wrote: "The Taste of Salt, by Martha Southgate, shines a light on the various roles we place ourselves and others into; woman, man, black, white, minority, a majority, educated, not educated, addict, support ..."

Hi Everyone,

My apologies for being so late in responding.

Life is messy and hard. There are so many rules in our society/culture on how to navigate the world we live in; with each generation putting their spin on how things should or should not be.

Those dealing with addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, power, chocolate, being fit or ..., are struggling/attempting to deal with rules and norms around them, not fitting in, or not being able to cope. Addicts lives are governed by their addiction. The family and friends of those addicts are also affected and in the end, need to make a choice on how best to move forward.

The choices we make along the way and the relationships we maintain define us, make us who we are. We are all different, Our experiences, our family, and our friends all influence the steps we take, the courage we have, and the outcomes of life.

As I continue to read this book, I find myself reflecting on the choices I have made, who I am, and how do I react to the life I have created for myself.


message 26: by Jane (new)

Jane (wanjira) | 19 comments Julie wrote: "The Taste of Salt, by Martha Southgate shines a light on the various roles we place ourselves and others into; woman, man, black, white, minority, majority, educated, not educated, addict, support ..."

3. The topic of this book is so heavy and so personal. Reading a book like this can often bring up uncomfortable emotions and memories, including defensiveness, shame, sadness, anger, and disappointment. What kinds of reactions did you encounter when you read this book? What kinds of assumptions did you find yourself making about the author? I think the kind of reactions I encountered when I read this book was a sense of disappointment by Martha, denial by Tick, a sense of distress from their mother and there was also some sense of betrayal of brother to sister.

I also found myself assuming that the author did not care at some point because it seemed she did not want to be bothered by her family with 'domestic issues'. I think she did not want to get too involved now that she was married and had her own life to think about. Those were my assumptions.


message 27: by Jane (new)

Jane (wanjira) | 19 comments I also apologize for being so late in this discussion.


message 28: by Jane (new)

Jane (wanjira) | 19 comments Francesca wrote: "Julie wrote: "The Taste of Salt, by Martha Southgate, shines a light on the various roles we place ourselves and others into; woman, man, black, white, minority, a majority, educated, not educated,..."

Hello Jane. My name is Jane too. Interesting coincidence. You make a very important point about the relationships we make defining us and who we become. I guess that is one of the reasons the author tried not to get too close to her messed up family because I think she was ashamed to be identified with them in that way. Even though she too had her own struggles. Not sure she mentioned her own as I am still reading the book.


message 29: by Jane (new)

Jane (wanjira) | 19 comments Ashley wrote: "Hello, Everyone, I am responding to question #1

1. "Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why m..."


Hello Ashley. I agree with your comments that Josie could have been going through some pressure and embarrassment because of her disfunctional family and their alcoholism especially her brother Tick. I also think like you mentioned that she wanted to make something good of herself outside of that. She wanted to pursue something positive for her life and maybe that is why she had not visited her family for a while.


message 30: by Tashawna (new)

Tashawna Bryant | 4 comments Hello Everyone
I am Tashawna,

1. Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why might people try to leave their past (and their families) behind? Do you think it's ever possible to do that?

I think that people are prone to leaving their past behind when it is hindering their growth, they are toxic or they are simply embarrassed by people or events that have happened in their lives. I know that I have been a victim of feeling like that but I can say that it is almost not possible. You find yourself missing the very reasons you wanted to leave your old life behind. You can also feel like too many bad things have happened to you in certain circles so you dont want to bring that into your future.


3. The topic of this book is so heavy and so personal. Reading a book like this can often bring up uncomfortable emotions and memories, including defensiveness, shame, sadness, anger, and disappointment. What kinds of reactions did you encounter when you read this book? What kinds of assumptions did you find yourself making about the author?
The title alone say it all. The taste of Salt. Is it bitter and highly mineral'd ? That is the reality of everyday struggles that we all have but does salt do anything else? Are there benefits to understanding the multiple layers of salt yes.


message 31: by Jane (new)

Jane (wanjira) | 19 comments Tashawna wrote: "Hello Everyone
I am Tashawna,

1. Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why might people try to..."


Hello Tashawna. Absolutely correct that people sometimes find themselves wanted to leave the past behind them especially if it gets in the way of their progress. I would also add and say it also depends on if they think they can handle their past and have a healthy closure or not but I agree that most people opt to move on and start a fresh life filled with positiveness. Thanks for sharing.


message 32: by Sheelia (new)

Sheelia (sheelia_b) | 13 comments Julie wrote: "The Taste of Salt, by Martha Southgate shines a light on the various roles we place ourselves and others into; woman, man, black, white, minority, majority, educated, not educated, addict, support ..."

1. I think a lot of people who have bad childhoods or have family member who they are ashamed of like to distance themselves from their family. They work hard to be able to get away from what they are ashamed of and when they have the first opportunity to get away they take it and never look back. they become successful and want nothing to do with their family. They do everything in their power not to be associated with them because in their mind hey make them look bad or so much bad stuff has happened they don't know how to deal with it. The truth however is because all they're really doing is running from the problem they never really break away from it. The fact that their purposefully avoiding it makes them still connected to it.

2. Josie's one addiction in the book is that she cares too much about being perfect so that no one can say anything bad about her or possibly compare her to her family. She has to be the best and nothing can ever be wrong because her family is full of drunks and she's the only black person in her field at her job. She does all this so she an stand out from her family and not have to be associated with them. I think she's aware of her conflict but she's too scared to just live. She's goes as far to marry a white but knowing the only thing they have in common is work but wanting him to be able to understand and relate to things only African Americans can relate to. So she's very aware of it. my one addiction is the same as Josie's. I have to be the best at what I do, the grades I get. I don't like to be second best which makes me very competitive. The only difference I just like to be the best not because I care about what people think but because I like to win. I don't really work on it I just know that I''m not the only smart one in the world.

3. I think everyone who reads this book or any book that is this personal makes the assumption that the author went through this at some point in their life. Reading this book brought back memories of my father. he was a great man but he was also an alcoholic. A functioning, but sometimes angry alcoholic. Sometimes he would be sweet and then other times he would be mean and angry and want to fight. It wasn't always the best of times when he was drinking, however, I was and will always be Daddy's girl so I never tried to distance myself from him. Yes, I would get mad and my feelings would be hurt every time he said he would stop drinking because I asked him too and then a week later he would be drunk again, but I never tried to act like he wasn't my Dad no matter what.

4. I think a lot of people maybe ashamed of some of the things they have done. They may even be still dealing with the fallout of being an alcoholic and don't want everyone to know their business. I also think that is a personal journey that you go on to cure yourself and never look back again. I also think those are some hard stories to tell once you realize they aren't as funny as you thought they were. I understand why people don't necessarily want to tell their stories but I think it would help the next person dealing with it so they know they are not alone. That someone else out there went through it too and they made it out.


message 33: by Natalia (new)

Natalia (hotkiss0707) The Taste of Salt

First of all, I really enjoyed this book. It was one of those stories that rubs away at your inner conflicts, so you can shed the fake covers you paint over yourself, and take another look at your flaws, hopefully allowing you to grow. The writing was raw and honest and refreshing. Now for the question:

1. Josie struggles with the family she came from for many reasons; not just shame over her father's and brother's addictions, but also her inner conflict with being black, raised in a home that encouraged her to be less so. As she grows into a young black woman in a predominantly white school and work environment, she struggles to distance herself from her family even more so, although in the end, it backfires on her, as it would on anyone. Running away from your home and past in order to "fit in better" does not work. By avoiding her inner struggles and trying to ignore her roots, she floats through life unsatisfied, unable to understand why she can't settle down. Her issues with a lack of a good father figure lead her into a marriage that symbolizes comfort and safety, but not true love. Josie fools her husband into thinking she wants the same things he does, and ultimately hurts both of them.


message 34: by Vincent (new)

Vincent Speaks (VCspeaks) | 3 comments There are so many reasons one may try to leave their past and family behind, but you can never forget where you come from. Its a part of you it whats makes you, you and unique. Let's take Josie for instance. Her family has has within it what a lot of issues in what society would look down upon. This reminds me of the movie "Imitation of Life". Many people feel that you have to leave part of your life behind to make it in the world.


message 35: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Leidy wrote: "Shayquana wrote: "Juxa wrote: "Hi everyone,
I will be answering number four.
Personally, I believe there are a few reasons as to why few memoirs or novels have been published about alcoholism. The..."


Good Day Leidy,

I do hope you’re enjoying the summer as I have just returned back from vacation. More importantly, someone once told me, “Sometimes silence is best and you can’t help those who don’t see that they need help”. Just think about it, if one thought everything was okay in his/her life, than he/she are more likely to reject any adjustments others may try to alter even with positive criticism. Just as you stated, they “laughed when I commented on their alcoholism”. They don’t recognize alcoholism as something that needs to be taken seriously, and automatically dismisses the importance of it with laughter. But the fact that you notice things that need to be fixed shows how outstanding you truly are Leidy.

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 36: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Francesca wrote: "Julie wrote: "The Taste of Salt, by Martha Southgate, shines a light on the various roles we place ourselves and others into; woman, man, black, white, minority, a majority, educated, not educated,..."

Hi Francesca,

You have a lot of great points and your stands should be venerated.

Life can in fact be messy and hard. And you’re right; there are so many people, things, and rules that can hinder who we are. Yet, there are also so many people, things, and rules that can be beneficial to us, preventing harm to the point where an addiction becomes an opportunity. As well as, an addiction of an addict ruling over the choices they make. When there is so much hurt, tension, grief, loneliness and so many other things that may provoke one to do the unthinkable and leading them to having an addiction, people can become conflicted with the choices they make. The family and friends can also be affected as well. Thus your advice for them to move forward is something I can agree with. On the other hand, Josie did just that, she moved on with her life, with the burden of her father’s and brother’s addiction. Although, it still affected her in a major way. The great thing is that we get to read books such as this and try to use it to an advantage so that lessons are learned and things are handle better in the future of the readers ,allowing them to cope with things in a better way. Just as you did, you stated “As I continue to read this book, I find myself reflecting on the choices I have made, who I am, and how do I react to the life I have created for myself”. This is the point of it all. Astonishing post Francesca

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 37: by Shayquana (new)

Shayquana (shayquanaa) | 37 comments Mod
Tashawna wrote: "Hello Everyone
I am Tashawna,

1. Josie struggles with both the family she came from and her conflicting feelings about being one of the only black scientists in her field. Why might people try to..."



Hello Tashawna,

It makes sense as to why people are prone to leaving their past behind not wanting anything toxic to stand in their way of a brighter tomorrow. There are just some people that have negative energy, which can influence others, provoking them to have that same negative energy as well. Some people can in fact begin missing their past, which is when confliction begins to take lead making it hard to distinguish between logic versus illogic. However, coming in terms with what ignited that moment to move backwards should be the focus. Keep in mind things can’t be brought into the future if you’re constantly moving backwards- it would be like Déjà Vu.

Good luck,
Shayquana Elliott
Berkeley College Alumni, 2018


message 38: by Leidy (new)

Leidy | 6 comments Shayquana,
Thank you for the quote! I shall be stealing it as it truly defines so many individuals I know. You are right, some people think that everything in their life is okay when in reality it is not. Thank you again, for the kind words on my observation of my family members.


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