The Help

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Late to the party as per usual. But I read the book.

It is easily one of the best books I have ever read.

I was stunned that this happened so recently in history. I mean, I know about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King etc, and I am cerebrally aware of the dates related to such, but reading about characters and lives made it much more personal to me.

Additionally, given the time period, if we had lived in the south my family easily could have been one of the families employing a maid. My sister and brother could have been raised one one. It is purely an accident of latitude that we were not such a family.

It is shocking that people could be so mean and cruel to another person, and that the very person-hood of African American people was called into question. It really showed me how little I understand of it. How little I know. It is easy for a white person like me to sit there and say that racism is no longer such an issue. It is easy for me to say "It was so long ago" but its not. It was the 1960's way too recent. It showed me a glimpse of 'white privilege'.

I understand that many critics took issue with the stories told in the book, that it glosses over some of the truly horrendous things that these people endured. Maybe so. Probably so. But it is a first step to opening a dialog and reminding people that this is still a huge issue. That it is not 'so long ago'.

In my opinion the heroine in the story isn't mainly, or only, Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny, the women who called attention to the circumstances, who literally risked their lives to tell their stories.

I would love to learn more about the topic. Most of all I am so proud to look at how far our country has come since the 1960s, yet there is still more work to be done.


Trip Snyder said...

I agree, this is still a huge ongoing issue. Living in Illinois, for the most part, I didn't see the issues so much. I had friends of many colors, and didn't think twice about it. The only racist I knew in IL was my boss. Now living in Nebraska, I see it a little more overall, but not so much here in blue Lincoln.
In the south where my dad lives, he has cried for hours over the racism he hears and sees.
Racism is everywhere, and only through people like you having the guts to talk and blog about it, will we ever put an end to racism.
In one of my classes on war and peace, we have talked about how racism is not born, but taught. Your kids do not care about race, or sexual preference, they only see another person. That is how we all should be, and that is good parenting. Keep on blogging girl!

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Laila said...

I read parts of the book and saw the movie.

As a Black woman...I would say that racism is alive and well. I experience microagressions on almost a daily basis. I have grown up in Illinois and lived in the south so I don't think it's limited by geography.

As a mom, I want my son to be aware of all of his identities. I'm also raising him to love humanity in all of the it's forms. I think the more we know about each other, the better of this world will be.

Just Me said...

Laila- thank you for your perspective, do you feel like the microaggressions you are experiencing are intentional (meaning if someone were to be called out on them would the transgressor not realize how they were behaving?)

Laila said...

I think they are a mixture of both unfortunately. Education is definitely needed around this topic. I really think that when people have genuine interactions with those who aren't like them (not just race but that's a start!) it'll open up the doors for more conversation around these topics.

Caren with a "C" said...

Haven't read it. But on the topic of history. I do love reading books that incorporate history into them. It makes learning it so much better. Plus we can get all the views/opinions and results that you just can't when it is in the present. What is the next book you are going to read?

Just Me said...

I just finished a biography of Mary Boleyn, No idea what i am going to read now though, something simple and fast!

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