Friday, June 24, 2011

Movie: The Help

My mom, sister and I all read The Help and to me, the trailer is a bit of a disconnect from the book. While there were some humorous parts in the books, the trailer comes off as upbeat and sassy. I take it that this was because they were trying to market it to a mass audience without being weighed down by the subject matter: the segregated south of the past. 

I came across a couple posts from a black and white woman who both had help in their homes. In the post by the black woman she commented on how growing up comfortably middle class with both parents, they had hired help, but that they treated them with dignity and respect. The white woman's post described essentially the same but that she currently employs help and was dismayed to find that her help eats lunch in a closet in her home. 

Regarding my own thoughts on help, while my parents didn't have hired help growing up, I've employed cleaning services here in NYC and have had white and Hispanic help. Of course, I've treated all with respect. Additionally, while going to school at Wellesley I would babysit in between classes to make money. The community of Wellesley is extremely affluent and at times I felt conflicted about being a black woman taking care of white children, but many of my student peers of all races did the same. However, when I moved to NYC I was so shocked to see the prevalence of white children being cared for my middle aged black women mostly from the Caribbean. Compared to my student experience, it definitely brought back images of mammy from the U.S. slavery period. Of course these women chose to hold these jobs, just as I did, but at times it can be so glaring to see masses of white babies in strollers pushed by older black women while I'm out and about with Nia. I even get asked by some of these women if Nia is mine!

I'm not here to pass a judgement, but just state what I see in NYC and how The Help brought this observation to mind. 

I definitely plan on seeing the movie. Will you?

1 comment:

  1. I think I'll see it. I get what you are saying about the tone of the trailer. I noticed that with "The Secret Life of Bees" too. That wasn't really a funny story but it was all warm music and good times in the trailer.

    I was "the help" around my house growing up so no memories about that. Kids don't clean anymore these days?!? I don't have help now except for the occasional groupon for a cleaning service.

    I haven't run into the nanny thing out here. I've heard of that being more of a thing in the ritzier part of town. Out here in the regular old middle-class 'burbs it isn't common.

    I find the Carribbean nanny thing fascinating. I saw it on that Bethanny show and then read this book about a black woman who was a nanny for a white family while she was in-between jobs. Can't remember the name but the book was interesting!