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The Help



TheHelp Film Review

Racismis a major social problem that is embedded in the American culture.“” depicts discrimination of the white people towardstheir black employees. The existence of racial disparity in thesociety calls for mass awareness of the practice and how it can beeradicated. Skeeter a college graduate, writes about the Americanculture that values intolerance while dehumanizing the colored races.The story is beautifully written to highlight class and racerelations. The black women had few labor opportunities and had towork as domestic workers for the wealthy white families. The filmhighlights dehumanization associated with racial prejudice supportedby government regulations however, we have the ability to movebeyond the partial social structures.

“TheHelp” is an American film depicting the social issues affectingwomen during the 1960s. During this time, many African American womenare employed as maids and servants in white homes. Commonly refer toas “the help,” the colored workers’ receive low salaries andare not supposed to use same facilities with their white employers(Taylor,2011).Skeeter a young writer, discovers the racial prejudiceand mistreatments experienced by the black workers and strive toexpose them through her book.

“TheHelp” is an American drama directed by Tate Taylor. The film wasadapted from a Kathryn Stockett’s novel of similar name andreleased on DVD on August 10, 2011. The story revolves around threewomen who work and live in Jackson, and are united by a common needto improve the working condition of black domestic employees. Thefilm highlights racial prejudice by the whites towards their blackfemale employees. Skeeter seeks the assistance of her friends inwriting a book about the treatment they receive from their employers(Taylor,2011). The film is interesting because it highlights racismfrom the victims’ point of view of how black women suffered becausethey were considered to be inferior to the whites and subordinates tomen.

Themovie depicts both institutional and personal racism. Individualsexpress physical and verbal assaults to those deemed inferior to themin the society. Ms. Walters refers to Aibileen as a “Negro”because the white people never called the black people with respect,and found fun in humiliated them (Dai, 2013). On the other hand, thecolored employees have to call their masters with courtesy titles.Similarly, Ms. Hilly treats Aibileen differently when she refuses touse Ms. Leefolt’s bathroom suspecting that the employee might haveused it too. Ms. Hilly argues that workers should never use the samefacilities with their employers because they are not of the samesocial status. She persuades Ms. Leefolt to build a separate washroomfor Aibileen because the black people harbor diseases that are moredangerous than those of the white people are. The conversationbetween Ms. Hilly and Ms., Leefolt indicate that racial prejudiceentails the use of deprecating language and abuse to belittle otherpeople in the society. In the end, a new separate bathroom is builtfor Aibileen and Ms. Leefolt warns her daughter never to use it.

Aibileenand another passenger are forced out the vehicle before they reachedtheir destination when they encountered a protest where a black manhad been killed. The driver discriminates against the blacks when hekicks them out and takes the white people as close to theirdestination as he can (Dai, 2013). Similarly, Minny Jackson who worksfor Ms. Hilly was fired when she used her master’s bathroom duringthe hurricane. Her employee feels superior and uses her power to getrid of her employees at the slightest provocation. Minny experiencesboth racial and gender prejudice when she is humiliated both at homeand at work. When her employment was terminated, her daughter Sugar,had to stop her education and work because Ms. Hilly told all herfriends that she was a thief, making it hard to get work. Sheexperiences institutional racism when all people look down upon herbecause her previous employer accused her of stealing (Taylor, 2011).The scene shows that social attitudes contributed to the escalatinglevels of racism in the society.

Thesociety protects the white females from the black males as thoughthey are beasts. Aibileen reads out a section of the Mississippi lawson the conduct of the white and other races

“Noperson shall require any white female to nurse in wards or rooms inwhich Negro men are placed. Books shall not be interchangeablebetween the white and colored schools but shall continue to be usedby the race first using them. No colored barber shall serve as abarber to white women or girls. Any person printing, publishing, orcirculating written matter urging for public acceptance of socialequality between Whites and Negros is subject to imprisonment”(Taylor, 2011).

Thequotation highlights how the government advances the ideologies ofthe white supremacy. The minority groups suffer because of theinequality and discrimination legalized by the ruling regime. At thebeginning of the film, the depiction of colored people using separatepublic facilities highlights the intensity of racial intolerance inthe society. Moreover, the existence of taxis for the white onlymanifested on huge signage shows that racism was prominent in Jackson(Dai, 2013). Aibileen narrates how she lost her son who could not getquality medical care in a colored hospital. “Aftermy boy died, a bitter seed was planted inside of me. And I justdidn`t feel so accepting any more” (Taylor, 2013). The conversationhighlights how the black people feel rejected by the white despitetheir contributions to the society.

Thevisual details of the film was impeccable and depict how Jacksonlooked like during the 1960s.The middle class has a lot ofsimilarities where they all have African helpers who handle alldomestic chores and the white ladies do not have to work. As aresult, they have plenty of time for chats with friends whilehumiliating their servants. The subject matter is fascinating, butthe film fails to highlight the mass struggles of the colored peopleunder the Jim Crow rules. The director highlights the importance ofracial tolerance and the effects of white supremacy. However, it alsopromotes pity towards the colored people and leaves the audiencefeeling frustrated.

Inconclusion, “” highlights the magnitude of racialintolerance in the American society at both personal andinstitutional levels. The colored people endure derogatory remarksfrom the white employers yet they have to treat their masters withrespect. The government regulations enhance the racist propagandas,leaving the minority groups defenseless (Laurier, 2011).Afterenduring the cruel treatment from the whites, the black peoplerealize that it is time they fought for their rights. Most employeessubmit to their employers because, they now they are different butprotest in streets against racism.


Dai,M.A. (2013).An analysis of racial discrimination in . SatyaWacana Christian University. Retrieved fromhttp://repository.uksw.edu/bitstream/123456789/3391/2/T1_112006188_Full%20text.pdf

Taylor,T. (Director), Columbus, C., Barnathan, M. &amp Green, B.(Director). (2011). Thehelp[Motion picture].United States of America: Walt Disney Studios.

Laurier,J. (2011, August 27). The help: A civil rights era film that ignoresthe civil rights movement. WorldSocialist Web Site.Retrieved from http://catholicculture.org/