Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Help: Jim Crow Rules Were Black Folks Blues

American Version: Birds on a Wire
Overseas Version: Still birds on a wire

Forgive the title of this post but if they can reduce our history during that time period to simply two words then surely my 7 won't be considered too dismissive, right?!  To all the white people involved in the making of this book and the movie: You all never seem to disappoint us poor and hapless black people with the level of your prolific ignorance in the constant telling of black people's stories in a completely unrealistic and insensitive manner.   But then, you wouldn't be you if you did, now would you? As evidenced by these covers American white people are just so deceitful considerate of black people's sensibility.

The shallow white lens strikes again and continues to plague the telling of black stories on film and in print by irresponsibly (as usual) lessening white people's negative impact on black lives in America.  White people continue to be cowards in acknowledging that truth with the respect that it deserves. White people want to preserve a redacted history in order to preserve a false sense of good will and superiority.  But they are not alone in this because black people don't want to acknowledge and accept the truth of our negative assault by them either.  Black people that allow this kind of garbage to be seen as harmless entertainment are motivated out of shame and a fear of truly accepting having been abused under that false good will and superiority.  Those black people believe that to do otherwise means that we believe that we were less than white people rather than the fact that we were treated inexcusably as less than by white people.

I have not read this book or seen the film and I never will.  For those that say that I can't make a fair assessment until I do then all I can say to that is that I don't have to step in sh*t to know it's there.  I can smell it.

The Help reinforces everything that is still wrong in this world today.  Black people are expected to accept and allow white people to walk around feeling better or unencumbered about the truth of there horrendous history in this country.  Hell No.  Not on my watch.  I think it is cowardly and deplorable to expect that white people should be allowed to walk around as if everything that they have done and continue to do to black people in this country is not to be seen as being as bad as it actually was and still is. Being President of the United States doesn't make a difference in this negative treatment either!  In every area of society today there are black people that continue to go against their own best interest in deference to white people's best interest under the guise of the "we are all one now" premise.  It is a lie.

Black people continue to attach themselves in a destructive manner to a corrupt social structure and community of people that continue to see them as the "the help"--to embolden and further their careers, their families, their financial security-- while "the help" allows their lives to languish.  These type of white people go on to live lives "the help" could have had as well if only they had know they were slaves "the help"!  When will black folks proceed to get out of our own damn way?

The Help makes light of black suffering by lightening the reality of our struggles in this country.

Black people's thought process even today is scarred by a shame that we do not own and a fear of our past in America that we can't seem to shake.  We will continually make excuses (hiding our heads in the sand) to support endeavors that monetarily capitalize on a our inequitable treatment in a way that homogenizes or completely erases our true voice.  All to lessen white people's deserved shame, responsibility and accountability for the very real damage done to a community of people at their hands.  White men and white women terrorized black people in the South during the era that was depicted in The Help and continue to do so until this very day.  The Help diminishes that truth and disrespects all black people that suffered under the heinous laws that were instituted to keep black people in fear and at a disadvantage.

The Help and movies like it will in no way ever absolve or lessen America's horrible history and ineptitude with race in this country.  It will only serve to show that white people still don't get it.

Black people's lives both personally and professionally were horrifically tied to white people's lives, by laws not choice, who neither condemned or felt remorse for the laws that were instituted solely to keep black people fearful, disadvantaged and dependent.  Black lives during this era were not even half a step above being owned as we were during slavery.  As long as black people continue to contribute our dollars to watching these duplicitous versions of that time period then we are condoning it and completely complicit in the travesties that will befall black generations to follow because they will repeat it.  Because the way that The Help tells it, it wasn't so bad for all of us grinning, happy-go-lucky, free-to-move-work and live wherever we wanted black folks!  The Help and movies like it will become the history of the uninformed.

Just in case I wasn't clear with my opinion of The Help

This movie is just the newest offering of Hollywood's obsession with "they need to saved by the more superior white folks" black suffering porn.  This movie is a feel good movie for white folks and unfortunately black folks that obviously don't realize that we are the punchline in this movie just like all the others.  In these movies we serve the purpose of helping white folks at all costs to further their agenda even if that means a disservice to ourselves. Let me repeat...  This is a feel good movie for white folks, those that truly want to cling for dear life to the lie that they did no harm.


  1. Boycotting is a time-honored tradition. Lately it's been getting a bit of a revival, but I think we need to upgrade that status to full-blown.

    Fuck "The Help." I hope it flops worse than "Airbender."

  2. So many people think that boycotting is old school and that we are hurting more than we are helping when we do it. Ummm... How do they think we achieved civil rights victories?!

  3. Hi,

    I'm new here. I heard about your blog from Ankhesen. Everything you've said was on point. I won't be seeing this pile of film either. I ask myself, why should I go to a movie to make white people feel warm and fuzzy while making us feel helpless and less than human?

  4. @BrothaWolf

    Thanks. It is past time for white people to get over themselves and stop thinking that they should get their warm and fuzzy at our expense.

  5. You know I heard a lot of negativity about the movie and I believed it until I spoke with my mother, she saw it and so did my father, I didn't want to see it, but she took me to see it. I didn't really see any of the things you were talking about in the movie. FIrst of all it wasn't a feel good movie for white folks, not at all. It seemed to me that it was the truth. that's all they showed. My grandmother was a domesticate which is what they were called back then, I didn't know that. But my mother gave me a history lesson. ANother is thing is this, Cicely Tyson rarely does movies that go against what she believes in, Hence this article

    I guess you can boycott something that you've never seen or read, it's your choice. I've seen a lot of elderly Black women in the theater and they liked the movie, and they said it was the truth. I'm just saying.

  6. @Saalik

    You are more than entitled to your opinion. I still stand by everything that I said because it is the truth. Kathryn Stockett did not do ANY research (google it) when she decided to write her book that is now movie, about this time period. For example, Medgar Evers was not bludgeoned to death!

    Also I think you meant the maids were known a domestics. Like you I have family members that were domestics, my grandmother and my mother when she was a teen. I heard many stories as well and they were nothing nice! For example, my mother having to run away from the white household that she was working at because the husband was making unwanted advances towards her. My grandmother being expected to work ridiculous hours that would leave her having to make the choice of leaving her own children unattended for those hours.

    As to my boycotting the book and the movie... I consider my preference to stay away from a book and a movie that does nothing but horribly distort the truth of that era, a good one. Because as I said in my post, "I don't have to step in sh*t to know it's there. I can smell it."

  7. I agree with everything you've said. This movie is completely ignorant to the truths of those women's lives in that time period, and a horribly misrepresentation of black history. It's sad, and misleading, and because of films like these the world will never know or own up to its past, making it extremely difficult to seriously improve race relations. The film mimics the tone that race topics are commonly received in today, gay and mocking. Capitalism is sad.