Monday, September 5, 2011

The Help, Part 1

People have been talking about the picture “The Help” sharing different views on it. I did not go to see the film and probably will not because I am not a movie theater person. Besides which, I do not think that I want to sit through a movie full of stereotypes and denigration. Nor do I want to watch a whitewashed, sterile versions of what it was like to be a domestic worker back then.  I hear and see enough of that in daily living.

Earlier on, I made up my mind that I would finish reading the book before I make a comment on it. Nevertheless, the author of “The Help” painted a portrait of  bigoted racism illustrating the destructiveness and control it has over people’s lives. BTW, I will have to do more than one segment on “The Help” because what I have to say is longer than the space and design this blog will allow, so this is
Part I.

Truthfully speaking, I did not get any warm, uplifting feelings of hope from it as some professed they did. Nor did I get the white heroine coming to the rescue of blacks. However, I admit that a few parts in it were humorous. In addition, there are some succinct, minuscule mentions of historic Civil Rights Movements, racial tensions, and murder of a Civil Rights figure. Nevertheless, the story illustrated and highlighted the attitudes of whites towards their black “help” while parading out many of the Southern elitist, whites stereotypical images of blacks: their beloved Mammy and Sapphire; alcoholic woman abusers, child deserters, single unwed mothers; blacks steal and are diseased ridden, etc.  Not only that, it pointed out the disdain influential whites have towards poor whites.

The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi and was about a white woman name Skeeter exploiting black women for her self-seeking and self-serving interest. Skeeter’s ambition is to become an editor of a leading publisher company. In pursuit of her goal, she lies and tells the head of a publishing company where she put in an application at that she is writing a story about Negro maids telling their side of what it is like working for white people. However, the help (domestic workers) are unaware of this because she never asked them, at least not before she told that lie. Clearly, it demonstrated how easily whites seem to take blacks for granted thinking they should be willing to cater to their every whim or command.

No doubt, Skeeter is aware of the dangers and backlashes the help would face in that era by telling their story. After all, they live in a town that is the center of racial oppression and where Medgar Evers was assassinated. Moreover, it is a place where violent crimes against blacks happened frequently, regardless of gender or age. It's easy to see, Skeeter was looking out for Skeeter and trying to advance her career. It was not about helping the black women because if Skeeter had been sincere in wanting to help she would have stood up to her racist bigot, friend Hilly.

Nevertheless, birds of a feather flock together. The only risk Skeeter was taking was being ostracized by a bunch of racist bigots. Evidently, that was more than she wanted to bear. Being ostracized by their own in real life is something that many whites do not have the courage to face, so they just go along with the program, which inadvertently makes them an accomplice and enabler. Racist bigots exercise control over them with threat of ostracizing them. Therefore, they give racist bigots controlling power over them.

On the other hand, the help could suffer lost of their jobs that they, desperately, needed to feed their family, and their meager existence totally destroyed. In addition, the risk of being sent to prison on false trumped up charges, smeared, slandered, and denied employment ever again in Jackson. Moreover, the help risk their houses being shot up, burned down, and violence. In the same way, racist bigots exercised control over blacks’ lives with threats of cutting off their livelihood and destroying their meager existence. The majority of blacks did not have their own businesses, only a few were self-supporting, so those that did not had to swallow their pride and do what they had to do to survive.

The only person I felt like Skeeter was trying to save was a female’s image (her mother) in her own household. Her mother gave Constantine the maid who raised Skeeter an ultimatum. That she could no longer see her own flesh and blood ever again if she wanted to keep working for her. She even went so far as to tell her not to even allow her daughter to live with her. Mind you, Skeeter’s mother was not referring to her not seeing Skeeter, but Constantine’s own daughter, which illustrated how much control over blacks’ lives whites seem to think they should have over them. Consequently, Constantine quit working for Skeeter's mother, left with her daughter, and refused to let Skeeter's mother have that much control over her.  Here is a subtle instance  in which the attitude of whites is that blacks are docile children who must yield to whites authority.
To be continued

16 comments:

ŤOUŖMΛLINΣ & ΛMBΣŖ said...

Now Granny baby, this is what I like to hear. Hollywood is always trying to lessen the blow of everything. But then again, it wouldnt be hollywood if we always saw the truth. Smoke and Mirrors is their specialty and when it comes to race films like these, they will not dare take it to the uncomfortable side....aka the truth.

Redeye said...

You hit the nail on it's head.

Being ostracized by their own in real life is something that many whites do not have the courage to face, so they just go along with the program, which inadvertently makes them an accomplice and enabler. Racist bigots exercise control over them with threat of ostracizing them. Therefore, they give racist bigots controlling power over them.

We are always The Help, never an Equal
http://redeyesfrontpage.blogspot.com/2011/09/always-help-never-equal.html

Francis L. Holland said...

I wouldn't pay to see "The Help" for two reasons:

(1) It won't show up in Brazilian movie theatres anytime soon;

(2) Brazilian television is full of all-white 70-member casts in which one of the only two Black people is a maid. I'm tired of seeing Black women as maids and Black men "Driving Miss Daisy (sp?)," and I'm not going to encourage Hollywood or Brazilian television by watching that crap.

As you know, I don't use the word "racist" because it comes from the word "race," which doesn't exist as a matter of science. I prefer "color-aroused antagonism" or "color-aroused marginalization" because these terms are based on the scientific existence of skin color, which we all know DOES exist and which unfortunately arouses people to do all sorts of nasty and sometimes kind things, as when we take in a Black student who is studying in our city.

That's color-aroused behavior as well, but it's not negative or harmful. It's positive. Harmful and antagonistic is denying a room to a Black person on the basis of their skin color.

The word "racist" is too facile, too easy, too general. "Color-aroused forces you to think about what negative behavior is based on the color arousal, such as "discrimination" or "humiliation," or both. This teaches our readers the various forms that color-arousal takes and the harms that color-arousal creates, like color-aroused "red-lining" in the housing market, and color-aroused loan denials and/or higher interest rates.

Whites are right to be sick of hearing the word "racism," because it is so general and ambiguous as to be meaningless.

Socialism is the belief in and propagation of socialized property and other relationships, right? So, logically "racism" is the belief in "race" and the propagation of arrangements based on that belief.

If YOU or I say that two people are of different "races," then doesn't that make us "racists?" Of course it does, because we are implicitly saying explicitly implying that we believe in the existence of "races." Do we believe there are separate biological "races"? If so, let's just acknowledge that, like the Stormfront white supremacist blog, we, too, are "racists," who believe that skin color (race) is and should be the determinant in all decisions large and small.

Now, someone will stand up indignantly and insist that "racism" exists, and it does. Racism is a compendium of beliefs and behaviors based on the belief in the existence of "race."

"Racism" also has another meaning, which is "color-aroused subjugation and marginalization." Why not say what we mean, instead of using the same word that white supremacists use and then hoping that our readers, Black and white, can tell the difference?

Because Stormfront uses the word "race" in a way that predates our usage by about 400 years, it too easy to confuse our readers when we use the same word to mean something entirely different. It's like using the word "sugar" to mean both and "sugar" and "salt."

That would cause confusion, chaos and ruined food in the kitchen and it presently causes confusion, chaos and ruined interactions in our society, as is to be expected.

Anonymous said...

" I'm tired of seeing Black women as maids and Black men "Driving Miss Daisy (sp?)," and I'm not going to encourage Hollywood or Brazilian television by watching that crap."

I hear ya. It's tough being Black in the Americas. Nobody particularly like Blacks and they look down on us. It gets pretty tiring trying to navigate in a world where Black is bad and the lowest on the human chain.

Anonymous said...

this has to be the slowest blog in the blogosphere. It's difficult to get a conversation going on this blog. I don't know why Granny even bothers. It takes her days, even weeks to reply.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Anonymous 8:07:

You need to quit. I believe you and I have been down this road once before. Smh!

Frances:

Thank you.

TOURMALINE and ΛMBΣŖ said...

Granny your blog is just fine. Do not let these trolls even start their shit!

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Tourmaline:

Thanks Tourmaline! They don't faze me. I get too many emails from people that understand and disagree with anonymous. Anonymous is mislead by the comment section and is unaware of how many and who all read my blog. However, that's really not for them to know. Besides which, mine is not one of those blogs that's in competition with other blogs for any awards for the most comments. A lot of comments means a lot of confusion, bs, and a plague of the trolls. Y'all know granny ain't having that!

Anonymous said...

Granny, why are you and Tourmaline so mean to me? All I have ever done during my entire life as a black man is to fit in with my people. See, this is why we can't unify. Some of you folks need to go to church and pray for your souls. Never mind. I'll do it for you-- My prayers will be more effective.

Anonymous said...

And I resent being called a troll. I have been with you on this blog since you started. I even tried to invite you out for a bite to eat but you never answered. I am beginning to think you don't like brothers-that you are racist and only interested in old white men with scales falling off their skin.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Anonymous, have you ever thought about a career in acting? You miss your calling if you haven't. Smh!

Redeye said...

Anonymous, I'm beginning to think you are not a black man, but a racist white man pretending to be a black man.

Granny, you know you're on the right (pun intended) track when Anonymous trolls pretending to be black try and tell you what to say and how to say it on your own damn blog. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, I'm beginning to think you are not a black man, but a racist white man pretending to be a black man."

First you call me a troll, now you call me a racist wm. I am a brother with his own opinions and experiences in life. There is nothing I have said that is racist or White.

I happen to live in the Bay Area and some of us Blacks in this part of the country think differently than some of the folks from your neck of the woods.

Sage said...

"You need to quit. I believe you and I have been down this road once before. Smh!"

"...Besides which, mine is not one of those blogs that's in competition with other blogs for any awards for the most comments. A lot of comments means a lot of confusion, bs, and a plague of the trolls. Y'all know granny ain't having that!"

Perfect...
And a good blog too to boot!

Hathor said...

I don't know why the controversy over the book, everything you have said about the book rings true to me. Blacks may not like it but at that time most of the jobs for us was domestic. It put food on the table, bought houses and help create the sensibility of the middle class. It really bothers me when we try to run away from our past.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

You and I are on the same page Hathor.

The book went into more detail, but that is usually the case. I plan to write Part 11, but I just haven't had to a chance to sit down and do it yet. Nevertheless, I am still going to do it.