I watched the hit movie The Help last night. Well,to be honest, I only watched the first minute or two. I have a standing rule which stipulates that I will not continue watching a movie past the point at which it sinks to utter, ax grinding stupidity.
With The Help, the stupidity started right off-the-bat. The Help, I have read, depicts the lives of black maids somewhere in the South during the days of Jim Crow. I assumed that it was going to be a tear-jerking guilt trip which would reward modern, white liberal viewers with a self-congratulatory boost to their already enormous sense of moral superiority over their benighted parents and grandparents.
But of course I had to watch it. How could I not when so many of my liberal friends and relatives had asked in earnest piety: Have you seen The Help?, in much the same tone in which people asked, “Have you seen Schindler’s List?” (A politically correct morality test parodied hilariously on an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry is caught “making out” with his girlfriend during the movie.)
But why couldn’t I get past the first minute of The Help? The film opens with a writer, a white woman I guess, interviewing an elderly black woman. The writer asks something like, How did it feel to spend your life raising white children when someone else was looking after your own children? which caused the elderly maid to become emotional over, I assume, all that she had missed while she was raising “white people’s children.”
That’s when I stopped watching. I know I’m a heartless old fart, but I just could not rise to this emotionally contrived bait.
The scene raised a question that has been on my mind a lot these days, as opposed to the horrible dark ages of the recent past: How does it feel today for millions of women of all races to be working 15 hour days sucking up to customers, clients, and/or their bosses while someone else raises their children? And how do these women feel about the many organizations and self-appointed individuals who claim to represent and speak for “women” when they pressure women to abandon their children to others and pressure the taxpayers to subsidize and enable the outsourcing of child care?
Yes, I know that many women have to work to support their families, but so did the black maids who earned money raising white children.
The only difference seems to be race. Black people working for white people when they might have been with their own children is unjust. But remove the racial angle and, voila, women working long hours and neglecting their children is called progress and liberation.