Racism In America: The Movie "THE HELP" and "12 YEARS A SLAVE": Discrimination in America

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"THE HELP" Makes You Reflect

I JUST FINISHED WATCHING THE NEW MOVIE "THE HELP", (which was 2 1/2 years ago now that I just got back from see 12 Years a Slave, see below) starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Viola Davis in a 1942 Productions and Dreamworks project based on a novel by the same name written by Katheryn Stockett. For those few who may not be aware, it is about the real life black maids and nannies set in racist Jackson, MS around the period 1960 to 1964; just before the beginning of the civil rights movement. The plot has the daughter of one well-off family gets back from college intent on becoming a journalist. Seeing the plight of the black servants; having been raised by one who, mysteriously is no longer there, being very sympathetic to their dire plight she decides to write about their life as servants; from their perspectives; using their words. This is not an easy chore given the maids reticence to talk for fear of losing their jobs.

As it turns out, in Mississippi at that time, it was illegal for the heroine to attempt to write such a book; that was reality then folks, not storyline! In any case, events happen, such as a servant being fired for using the bathroom inside the master's house (this is 1960, mind you), instead of using ones undies if you couldn't make it to the toilet provided outside the house, in this wonderfully told and presented story (which all should go see by the way) that lead these black women to open up to our heroine. All of these scenes I just alluded to are in the trailers, so I didn't give anything away, lol.

By the time the movie was over, I was thoroughly entertained, very happy I came to see "The Help", and thinking about this Hub; it had me in a very reflective mood about racism in America, what our history has been regarding this pus-filled abscess in our heritage, where we stand now in healing it, and whether it can ever be contained. I am not naïve enough to believe it can be eliminated, humans simply aren't built not to be racist when the cancer of racism is left alone to fester.

WHITES-ONLY DRINKING FOUNTAIN and HANG 'EM HIGH

June 5,, 2014 - Discrimination is Alive And Well in the USA

THIS JUST HIT THE WIRES YESTERDAY, another example to disprove the notion that many Americans, generally of one political persuasion, claim that racism and discrimination doesn't exist anymore in America. This idea is used to argue that minorities, especially Blacks, don't need the protections of the 1964 Civil Rights and the 1965 Voting Rights Acts, both of which have been under assault. Unfortunately, since President Reagan established the Rehnquist Supreme Court and gaining strength with the Roberts Court, those trying to roll back these Acts have found a friendly ear, the same kind of sympathetic ear their kindred spirits found in the 1880s as the laws implementing the 13th through 15th Amendments were vacated; which led to the necessity of the 1964 and 1965 laws to reinstate them.

What you hear on this YouTube video is typical of what I hear all around me here in rural Florida.

SLAVERY, WHETHER BY WHIPS AND CHAINS OR BY SUBTLE DISCRIMINATION ALLOWED BY A NEGLECTFUL PEOPLE ARE BOTH EQUALLY WRONG

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12 DAYS A SLAVE

WHERE THE HELP WAS SET IN THE EARLY 1950s, 12 Years a Slave began with a kidnapping of a free black man in Washington D.C. in 1841 (just short 173 years ago) and sold into slavery in Louisiana. What is ironic, in terms of how they were treated by Southern whites, the black help in the 1950s weren't treated much better than black maids in the households of "good" master's in the 1800s; of course the "bad" masters were another story altogether and in a league of their own.

The storyline of this heartrending movie is based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, a free black in upstate New York. The movie won an Oscar for Best Picture, Lupita Nyong'o won Best Supporting Actress, and John Ridley for Best Adapted Screenplay. Unusual for movies of this type is they stayed very close to historical facts, using actual names, like Edwin Epps, the brutal plantation owner who owned Northup for 10 years, and places.

The story itself was a horrific tale from a very long slice of American history which still lives with us today, just not in such a violent form. It brings once again to the bright light of day the horrors of a recent past that we as a People of closed our eyes and minds and kidding themselves by saying "that was then, this is now". Well, I am here to tell you, looking around my vantage point from the rural South, the whips may be gone and chains long removed, but the "attitude" of Edwin Epps is still here. Because it is no longer legal to assert white supremacy openly, it has just moved underground and found more subtle outlets and use the false argument of "individual rights" to justify old time discrimination.

I won't describe the scenes for you, they are not nice and I don't want to destroy their impact. I do encourage you to take your teenagers who play those violent video games, this is less violent than those, but there is brief nudity, but with a point ... degrading another human being; they need to understand what lies just below the surface of American history and remind them this is not the road we want to go down again.

However, I will leave this section with the following quote from Solomon's memoirs:

My narrative is at an end. I have no comments to make upon the subject of Slavery. Those who read this book may form their own opinions of the "peculiar institution." What it may be in other States, I do not profess to know; what it is in the region of Red River, is truly and faithfully delineated in these pages. This is no fiction, no exaggeration. If I have failed in anything, it has been in presenting to the reader too prominently the bright side of the picture. I doubt not hundreds have been as unfortunate as myself; that hundreds of free citizens have been kidnapped and sold into slavery, and are at this moment wearing out their lives on plantations in Texas and Louisiana. But I forbear. Chastened and subdued in spirit by the sufferings I have borne, and thankful to that good Being through whose mercy I have been restored to happiness and liberty, I hope henceforward to lead an upright though lowly life, and rest at last in the church yard where my father sleeps.

—Solomon Northup[9]

Racism is a Core Value of all Humans - Can You Control It?

JUST BY SIMPLE observation, you can see throughout history numerous examples that lead enevitably to the conclusion that racism is core to the make-up of all humans, to one degree or another. Before going on, I need to define racism, for me Wikipedia does just fine:

Racism is the belief that there are inherent differences in people's traits and capacities that are entirely due to their race, however defined, and that, as a consequence, racial discrimination (i.e. different treatment of those people, both socially and legally) is justified.

I defy anyone to find any sustained period of history among any culture where racism at some point in time didn't finally exhibit its ugly head; I just don't think it can be done; I have looked at a lot of history over my years and it is ubequitous. On the other hand, I can also find many, many periods thoughout history, in many, many cultures at different and sometimes cyclical times where coexisting races got along famously; for a while. But, in time, it didn't last.

Nevertheless, what that tells me is that racism can be contained, IF YOU TRY; it can be done but, you have to work at it. If you don't work at it hard and continuously, you will fail and nature will take its course; the latent racism that is in all of us will rise up and consume us once again.

Protesting Quotas

NOT JUST IN AMERICA
NOT JUST IN AMERICA | Source

Racism and Bigotry in America

AMERICA HAS BEEN A VIOLENTLY RACIST COUNTRY for most of its existence, some 345 of the last 395 years since white man and black man shared the same soil on the East coast (the first slaves arrived in Virginia in 1619, a year earlier than when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, MA); that is a very long time, y'all. Then, from 1619, until 1964, the non-progressive conservative side of America, abetted by classical liberals who, while not actually supporting the enslavement of another human nevertheless doesn't believe the federal government should interceded to prevent it, has fought to keep the Black American an oppressed people. The oppression is either in absolute servitude through the mechanism of legal slavery or, after losing the Civil War they forced America in to over the question, effective servitude such as that depicted in "The Help", through such legal subterfuge as "Jim Crow" and "Separate but Equal." laws passed by a conservative-leaning Supreme Courts.

I draw the line at 1964, because that was the year in which the Civil Rights Act was passed by a Progressive Congress. With it came, what are today such dirty words as, "Equal Opportunity", "anti-discrimination", "fair housing", "affirmative action", and the like. Before continuing though, I want to expand my scope a bit to include the "father" of racism ... Bigotry. Racism is, after all, just Bigotry applied to race. Trusty 'ole Wikipedia defines a Bigot as:

"a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs. The predominant usage in modern English refers to persons hostile to those of differing sex, race, ethnicity, religion or spirituality, nationality, language, inter-regional prejudice, gender and sexual orientation, homelessness, various medical disorders particularly behavioral disorders and addictive disorders. Forms of bigotry may have a related ideology or world views."

When one speaks of racism in America, one must speak of bigotry in America, which is a much larger issue but speaks of the same problem with the landing the Puritans at what today is today, Plymouth, MA.

So, back to 1964. The Civil Rights Act was the first major act by the federal government since the Emancipation Proclamation and,beginning in 1865, the ensuing XIII, XIV, and XV Amendments to the Constitution designed to harness the rampant,, endemic, race-based bigotry in America. There was a plethora of programs put in place to do several things 1) try to correct the institutional and cultural imbalances created by three centuries of purposeful, concerted individual and governmental active and coordinated policies designed to dehumanize and subjugate a race, 2) try to undo the impacts of individual, corporate, and state governmental discrimination, as depicted in "The Help" and in defiance of the U.S. Constitution, in order to maintain the status quo without slavery, 3) try to level the playing field and keep it level from here on out, and 4) try to prevent discrimination in the future. In the following 47 years, the religious and secular conservatives in America have, in a largely successful effort, attempted to roll back each and every one of these initiatives on, of all things, Constitutional grounds.

I'm Not Picking On Conservatives, Really!

REALLY, I AM NOT! I am not trying to be mean, either. Or, unfair. Let me digress a moment in order do some consolidation. A few times now, I have made reference to religious and secular conservatives. For the purpose of this of this hub, they can be considered one in the same. When I speak of religious conservatives, I include all religious fundamentalist from each of the "Great" religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Also, although in America it is rare, when I speak of secular Conservatives, I don't just mean the political right, but would also include the politically very far left, Communists, as it were. Generally speaking though, I am talking about the Social Conservatives that control the Republican Party today.

As I have already made note of, America started out as a violent and lethally bigoted society; in 1619 we began importing and abusing Africans as slaves; the Protestant Puritans ostrasized and punished Catholics and hung, in 1692, 14 women and 5 men because they weren't good Christians. These God-fearing Protestant, pre-Americans also crushed one man to death beneath heavy stones attempting to get him to confess to his sins; these famous atrocities, the Salem Witch Trials, were not isolated, just the only one that made its way down the annals of history. This bigoted conduct, although dimished, continues to this day in the good Christian people of Rutherford County, TN in 2011, are carring on the good fight using the courts, protests, and yes, some terrorism of their own.trying to stop the construction of a mosque for the people from that "non-religion" (that is what they tried to prove, unsuccessfully, in court) Islam, to pray in; their sole reason ... the same as for the Puritans 409 years earlier, wrong religion, or in this case, non-religion; in other words, pure bigotry.

If you are a careful observer, it will occur to you that the political and philosophical of all of those I just described would clearly not be described as "moderate" or, heaven forbid, "liberal"; either from a secular point of view or a religious one. The one thing in common is the social conservatism, again whether it be secular or religious, behind the philosophy that drives these behaviors that have been such an embarrasing part of American history.

WHAT DOES HISTORY REALLY TELL US?

IT IS QUITE revealing, actually, and "The Help" got me thinking about it; it just so happens I wrote of this in another hub regarding President Obama's accomplishments so I thought I would add it here; it is very hard to refute.

Be they Democrats, Whigs, anti-Federalists, Republicans, or Republican-Democrats, all large political parties at one time or another in the history of American politics, social conservatives have been consistent, very consistent in their philosophies regarding social, economic, political, and government issues. What has that record been by social conservatives, evangelical and fundelmentalist Christians? To name just a very few, they fought tooth and nail, often violently, over the years against

  1. making slavery illegal
  2. allowing blacks and whites marry
  3. social security
  4. Medicare
  5. the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  6. homosexuals fighting for America
  7. allowing homosexuals who love each other to marry each other (stll being fought out)

"The Help" brought all of this sadly to mind again and, frankly, made me angry which is why I am wrote this hub for I hope it makes you angry as well.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RACISM IN AMERICA TODAY?

Since the time period depicted in "The Help", do you feel racism in America as generally gotten -

  • Gotten a Lot Better
  • Gotten Somewhat Better
  • Gotten a Little Better
  • Not Changed at All
  • Gotten a Little Worse
  • Gotten a Somewhat Worse
  • Gotten a Lot Worse
  • Unsure
See results without voting

N = 36

Lot Better - 7

Somewhat Better - 8

Little Better - 13

No Change - 4

Little Worse - 0

Somewhat Worse - 1

Lot Worse - 2

Unsure - 1


UNDERSTANDING THE RESULTS

WITH SUCH A LOW RESPONSE RATE, 33 SO FAR (I need 40, please), which surprises me given the number of views this hub has had, 6166, for a participation rate of 0.5% which is an extremely low rate, even for my surveys. Any ideas as to why readers are so hesitant to express anonymous views on this subject?

In any case, it makes it very hard to discern much from the above survey and the Demographic surveys below; but, I will take a generalized stab at it although I would like have about 40 results of this survey as a minimum. GIVEN, the question asks for a comparison between the 1950s and today, it would seem sensible to me to take responses of "Not Changed At All" and "Gotten a Little Better" as Negative responses. Even "Gotten Somewhat Better" would be a neutral response if one assumes race relations in the 1950s were only "somewhat better" than they were just after emancipation. If you buy into this assumption then only 30% of respondents believe there has been significant improvement since the 1950s while 47% disagree ... and that is very sad, very sad indeed.

Add in the results from Demographic Survey #2 below and I can make an initial educated guess. I can do this if I make one crucial assumption ... that Whites are more optimistic than Blacks about the improvement in conditions for Blacks in America. (Since the other groups are so small at the moment, I only have to worry about Whites and Blacks.)

This isn't a WAG (wild-assed guess) but one based on observation of comments among my White relatives and peers and Black friends and peers. There is a bright divide in perceptions, it would seem. Based on the above assumption then, to derive meaning from the survey results is like putting a puzzle together using the assumption to constrain how the numbers fit together, just like the shapes of puzzle pieces constrain how they fit together.

Therefore, based on my assumption and the 20 responses to my ethnicity survey (which I scaled to 23 to match the number of main survey responses), the table below displays my initial estimate of who believes what regarding the status how things have or have not improved vis à vis racism in America. Keep in mind, with only 20 responses the margin of error is huge.

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #2

Are you of -

  • African American Ethnicity
  • Asian Ethnicity
  • Caucasion Ethnicity
  • Middle East Ethnicity
  • Mexican American or Latino Ethnicity
  • Native American Ethnicity
  • Other
See results without voting

IN NUMBERS

N = 25: African American - 5; Asian - 2; Caucasian - 10; Middle Eastern - 2, Other - 6

[Demographic Surveys 1 (political leanings) and 3 (gender) are at the bottom of the Hub.]

RECENT PERSONAL OBSERVATION

THIS SECTION MAY GET ME INTO a lot of trouble if my family reads it but what I have to say is nevertheless what I see and it needs reporting for it bears directly on the on-going problem with racism in America. My wife and step-kids will tell you they are not bigoted toward blacks, and I am sure they absolutely believe that to be true. But, when you listen to their rhetoric and the defense of various statements they make, you get the distinct feeling their belief in not being bigoted is misplaced.

With some exceptions, they believe that blacks, in general, are now bringing their own problems on their own heads, they just don't "try hard enough", "they have a real bad attitude toward life", " all they want is a hand-out" is what I hear. Unfortunately, I am now starting to hear a little of that from my step-grandson.

At one time, he thought his mother was going to give him a Hispanic sister, he really, really wanted a sister, and didn't care what ethnicity it was at the time, until he saw his brother for the first time. Then the sister idea wasn't such a good one any more. Anyway, the point is the thought of a Hispanic sister didn't upset him in the slightest then, I think this was Kindergarten. He met his brother the next year.

In between that time, I heard my first indication of an "attitude" against other races. I don't remember what it was. And in the ensuing three years, I have heard a few more, not very many for sure, but enough to catch my attention. To the credit of his mom and Grammie, they corrected him immediately and I was happy for that. But so often in other families, this behavior is not correct, in fact it is encouraged and a new generation of bigots is born.

I don't know if hatred of others of a different skin color is visceral, in other words in-bred, part of a persons make-up or not. But, I do know that if it is, it can be controlled. Personally, I get a very physical negative reaction when I see two men kissing. It is so bad, it is even hard for me to even type the words; I get this gut-wrenching feeling doing it. Nevertheless, I know intellectually what it is, and know it will pass, I know this is my problem and not that of those two men.

For me, this reaction is keep me heterosexual, I was simply wired this way. I am also very aware that those men were wired differently such that they are not repulsed by homosexual attraction, in fact just the opposite. So long as they don't try to force their lifestyle on me, I have no right to make a judgement of any kind about them. Why is it that heterosexuals find a compelling need to make the immoral and, therefore, unGodly choice to force our lifestyle on them?

I would put forth the same argument regarding Blacks or Hispanics or Jews or Catholics or any other minority in this country. Why is it the majority finds itself compelled to make the rest of us like them?

AN ESTIMATE OF WHO THINKS ATTITUDES ABOUT RACE IN AMERICA HAVE OR HAVE NOT IMPROVED OVER TIME.

ETHNIC GROUP
A LOT BETTER
SOME BETTER
A LITTLE BETTER
ABOUT THE SAME
A LITTLE WORSE
SOME WORSE
A LOT WORSE
WHITE
5
2
3
0
0
0
0
BLACK
0
0
1
1
0
1
2
ASIAN
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
OTHER
2
2
3
0
0
0
0
NOTE: The entries into this Table are estimates. They are, however, not "guestimates" but are based on a very limited number of combinations that solve the restraints from the above Poll and Demographic Poll #2 along with some common sense regarding

THOMAS JEFFERSON, A VERY PARADOXICAL PERSON

I JUST ADDED THIS SECTION FROM a biography by Alf J. Mapp Jr., Thomas Jefferson, America''s Paradoxical Patriot. I include it to offer a quote from the book by Jefferson regarding slavery and slaves. Socially, Thomas Jefferson as a progressive beyond his times, in spite of the fact that he was a slave owner. He fought hard for the eventual emancipation of all slaves and for the prohibition of importation of slaves into Virginia. On the other hand, he apparently did not believe blacks were the intellectual equals of caucasians (a believe that did not carry over to Native Americans, however) and he did not believe in the mixing of the two races; after emancipation, Jefferson had a plan for the humane transport and settlement to a new country.

Nevertheless, I thought it important to share his thoughts on the matter with the reader, especially those regarding how bigotry is passed down father to son. In his "Notes on the State of Virginia" Jefferson states the following:

The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submission on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it, for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his sel-love, for restraining intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circles of smaller slaves, fives a loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities.

The man mus be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another; in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. [here, Jefferson's perception regarding how slaves felt about America itself, ended up being wrong]t

With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him. THis is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that is justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only a revolution of the wheel fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that t may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.

But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they sill force their way into every one's mind. I think a change is already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of th e slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation. (T. Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia)

What caught my attention when first reading this passage was Jefferson's initial observation of how racial hatred is passed from father to son and mother to daughter over time. It is as true today as it was when Jefferson observed it and then put words to the idea. All one has to do is live in rural America to see living proof of this insidious mechanism brought on largely by intolerance combined with ignorance set in a backdrop of fear. Take away any one of those three components, and the incidents of racism decrease. Take away intolerance and fear, racism barely exists. The proof in the pudding of this is how well young children of all races get along until such time as adults finally teach them to fear, distrust, then hatre those who are different from them.

In later quotes, Mapp shows, through other quotes from the Notes that Jefferson believes that after emancipation, Blacks should be moved to their own country. One of many reasons Jefferson offers is his initial belief that Blacks are, on the whole, mentally inferior to Whiles and goes on to prove it. He was not alone in this belief at the time, probably 99% of other Whites and many Blacks went along with this idiocy. But, to his credit, Jefferson did allow that his study into this area had just begun and his conclusions could be very wrong, which. as we all know, they are.

Another reason that you can see in the quote above is he didn't believe Blacks would want to live in America, a place that made their lives so miserable. That would be a natural conclusion, but as it turned out, very wrong as well. As one could glimpse in their willing participation in American Revolution and Civil War, Blacks, as a group, loved America, they wanted become a part of it, just a free part of it, to live their lives according to its Principles laid out in the Declaration Jefferson helped write. Even the last legal building block was put into place in 1964, long, long after Jefferson thought it might happen, judging from his last paragraph, Blacks, as a group, are still awaiting full emancipation into American society, at least to the level they are in English society today.

BEING BLACK IN WHITE AMERICA IN THE MID-1800s; JUST A MERE 150 YEARS AGO

WHO SAID WHITES DIDN'T GIVE BLACKS ANYTHING; ACCOUTREMENTS USED TO SHACKLE BLACKS DURING TRANSPORT TO MARKET.
WHO SAID WHITES DIDN'T GIVE BLACKS ANYTHING; ACCOUTREMENTS USED TO SHACKLE BLACKS DURING TRANSPORT TO MARKET. | Source
Source

THIS KIND OF ABUSE STOPPED AFTER THE CIVIL WAR (the hangings continued through the 1950s, however), although much of the South was plenty upset they lost control of their human property. Nevertheless, within 20 years, with the help of the Conservative Supreme Court, the oppression of Blacks in the South resumed in all respects except for legal slavery. Instead, other legal means were found to accomplish the same thing. As I have said earlier, it wasn't until 1964 and 1965 were the final laws put in place to make illegal the tactics used by Conservatives to suppress Black Americans.

Starting with the Rehnquist, and now with the Robert's Supreme Court, those laws are slowly being reversed.

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #1

Do you consider yourself more closely aligned with -

  • Progressives?
  • Moderates?
  • Conservatives?
  • None of the Above.
See results without voting

DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #3

Are you -

  • Male
  • Female
See results without voting

© 2011 My Esoteric

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Comments 14 comments

PETER LUMETTA profile image

PETER LUMETTA 5 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

I have not seen the movie but it sounds like something everyone should at least read about. It always seems as times get tougher, like they are now, bigotry gets stronger. I imagine it makes the people with nothing to lose a little prideful because they are not as bad off as those... I suspect it will get worse before the pendulum swings the other way, I just hope we don't all kill each other in the meantime. A good food for thought article, Thanks,

Peter


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thanks Peter, my wife read the book as well as see the movie with me and found it as engrossing as the movie. There wasn't too much left out in the movie which was in the book, which is nice.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 5 years ago from Tennessee

The Help has been a very popular book (and now movie)among many of my acquaintances here in TN. Many of them see it, though, as about things that happened a long time ago. I live very near Rutherford County, and I suspect some of those fond of this book would also support the people opposing the mosque.

I lived through this period here in the South in the '60s and I heard the same type of language used about blacks then as are used about homosexuals, Muslims, and immigrants today.

Good Hub!


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thank you Jo. Unfortunately, it isn't that long ago, and, while it isn't as overt, it hasn't really stopped, either. However, that said, sometimes I get wound up writing my hubs and manage to go "over-the-top" a bit in my rhetoric; hopefully, always backed by facts though.


HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Excellent analysis My Esoteric. I saw the movie "The Help" a few wekks ago and I thought it was wonderful and quite funny also. You are correct that racism is inherent in all societies, groups, and persons to one degree or another. The key, as I have written before, is to engage with other groups and confront these latent bigotries. Too often we avoid these issues because they are incomfortable to us. That is exactly the wrong way to go. We must continually debate the causes and nature of bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance. Otherwise the problem festers and grows. We all should interact with others before casting dispersions upon them. You will develop empathy with other groups and people. Once you have done this, bigotry will slowly fade away. When walking a mile in another person's shoes, the ability of fear and ignorance to grow is dashed. Suddenly you have understanding and tolerance.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 5 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Thank you HScheider. The thing that amazes me the most that history shows, as I try to point out, that as ingrained as bigotry is in humans, we seem to find a way to get along with each other when our leaders are busy off doing other things. But once leaders turn their attention to being bigoted, then groups tend to follow the leader than what is moral; go figure.


michememe profile image

michememe 4 years ago

Thanks for the hub, the first time I viewed the movie I walked out. Because of the toilet scene. The second time was easier. Thanks for the Informative information.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

I appreciate you stopping in and reading as well as leaving your thoughts, Michememe. I agree, the movie made me angry, obviously from a different perspective, which is what motivated my writing this hub.

I remain angry because, while things have certainly improved in terms of many government rules and regulations, but private attitudes are very slow to move.

I just added a new section regarding that last part from my recent observations from watching my grandchild grow up.


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

The history of the south is very interesting, thanks for some updates during 1964, and on the movie The Help, I have just read the book. Great history insights, thanks.


My Esoteric profile image

My Esoteric 4 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

Your quite welcome Ruby. When I started the hub, it was just a critique of a really good flick, but then I got angry and on a roll, lol.


abbykorinnelee profile image

abbykorinnelee 3 years ago from Ripon Wisconsin

Simply because she was so determined to write that book when it was illegal shows the courage some people had to do what is right, to seek out the truth through the words of the help themselves. She had a passion in her that is inspiring for me because you don't see a lot of people risking their necks anymore, or at least I don't.

I too watched the movie and by the end really felt that racism was embedded in humanity and that it was a hard road for someone to overcome it. We grow up with the ideals of our parents and if they are racist we have had to break away from that and almost retrain our brain in how we think of them. I remember when I was eight years old and I was truly horrified at what my grandmother was telling me. She was raised in Ohio and she had even been in the Navy during WW2 so you know when she was growing up she had bigoted views. She didn't think she was racist but she saw me walking with my best friend at the time. She started yelling at me to get to the car. I was in a state of panic as she is yelling at me for walking hand in hand with a little black girl...well she said negro girl but I hate saying that...so I was confused at first...asked her what she meant. That was the day I saw for the first time really saw that we all had really different skin colors. I swear that I didn't see that. I seriously didn't notice we all had different colored skin and I was crying asking what was wrong with my friend because I couldn't touch her...and she said the skin is oily. Yeah...even at 8 I knew this was really dumb.

Point is it was ingrained in me for 8 years we are all the same, grandma ruined that visually but I never lost the basis of my teachings. So, we have to credit the people that can change the way they are taught to think and formulate these new ideas and ways to think and that people have always known on some level what was write or not.

I might offend some people here and I really am not meaning to because I am a christian but I am not one that follows organized religion and I don't have someone telling me how to interpret the teachings. I just seem to have noticed throughout a lot of discussions that there is a lot of racism in religion. I feel they are prejudice against gay marriage because of the gender, I believe that many branchs of Christianity value men over women so that is sexism. You see my point. Plus American is still racist. I was blown over when I heard a white man complain they weren't the majority anymore and discuss a "white advantage" and that the black man is the antichrist and he was going on an on about black men. Others have said the same thing...white men have been very angry about not being the majority in this country and they are really not happy that they dropped to below fifty percent and no longer half or more for religion being important.

I think that my reaction by the end was a bit of a heart wrenching feeling. I was wondering if I would have had that courage. I have that courage now but I don't have anyone telling me its illegal to interview anyone. I also thought of the holocaust. I was thinking about how hatred instead of acceptance and tolerance, really burns out the soul of a society. That a person like her that would risk being caught to write that brings in the humanity side. I guess I was torn between anger and awe.


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My Esoteric 3 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

You described my reaction to her courage very well. I can't remember if I talked about it in the hub but in lectures I have listened to not too long ago, suggested that active racism results from the leadership of groups, and not the masses themselves. The seeds of racisms are always there in the masses simply because of the "birds-of-a-feather" force. But, extant an outside impetus, that force is dormant. It is almost always leadership that provides that impetus to active racism. Examples are Hitler, KKK, Serb leaders, historic Popes, etc. Without their instigation of hatred of Jews, Blacks, Catholics, Muslims, they all would have kept getting along fine.


do ur homework 1st 2 years ago

THE "tactics used by conservatives" is a laugh. Noone understands history anymore? The southern DEMOCRATS were the biggest proponents of slavery in the south, not the "conservatives." Lincoln (a Repub.) freed the slaves for Pete's sake. The left tries to whitewash this fact and make it seem like they are the defenders of black America when in fact, the southern dem's persisted even after Lincoln was assasinated with trying to keep blacks oppressed. Nice try at spin, and with the education our country is providing you will probably slip this past quite a few folks. The truth is it had nothing to do with conservative and liberal, repub or democrat, only with racist views of people of the times. The Dem's have done more to oppress people of color through programs such as affirmative action designed to convince people of other races of their inferiority.


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My Esoteric 2 years ago from Keystone Heights, FL Author

You need to do your homework. Southern Democrats were conservatives. In fact, by that time, the whole Democratic Party from Andrew Jackson on was conservative. The liberal/progressive wing (northern Democrats) along with some conservatives left to form the Whigs. Later, the Whigs broke apart with the anti-slavery group forming the Republican Party and the pro-slavery group rejoining the conservative Democrats. It was this Republican Party which elected Lincoln in 1860. In 1864, in order to draw progressive, pro-war Democratic votes for Lincoln, a new National Union Party was formed for Lincoln to run under which gave him the votes he needed. It merged back with the Republican Party after the election.

The Republican Party remained progressive through 1920 but turned conservative prior to the Great Depression. At the same time the Democratic Party turned liberal first with Woodrow Wilson and then with FDR. Conservative Democrats have been joining the Republican ranks ever since and Republicans have been gaining strength in the conservative South since Nixon.

As I have said many times before, conservative and progressive believes do not change with time. Edmund Burke was a conservative in 1720 and Kirk was the same kind of conservative in the mid-1900s as was George Wallace as was every southern owner who fought in the civil war in the 1800s. Lincoln was a progressive, as was John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton, and Obama. Each group held similar philosophical views over the 300 year time span although they belonged to different Parties.

The bottom line is just the opposite of what you believe; Parties are the ones who change their color at the drop of a hat, not philosophies such as conservatism and progressivism. I am sorry, but conservative ideals are what is holding up the progress toward civility in this country.

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