Professor Melissa Harris Perry Nails “The Help” | Miss Ann Really Had It MADE, The Help, Not so much…

INCOHERENTLY ANGRY”  Is how Prof.  Harris-Perry described her feelings after veiwing this movie.  I haven’t seen the movie, and don’t plan to see it.

If anyone is interested, here’s another story to check out:

Professors writing book on history of black maids

By Pat Kinney- March 5, 2011

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Three local researchers are collaborating on a book documenting the history of African-American women who worked as domestic help in the South and in Iowa during the 20th century.

Katherine van Wormer, David Jackson and Charletta Williams-Sudduth hope to recount a long-overlooked part of African-American history through oral histories from those women and their families.


“For me, these interviews have added to my own personal resilience,” Williams-Sudduth said. “I thought I knew from reading text and all these different things about civil rights. But to hear these African-American maids, these women, in their own voices, talk about their personal struggles, their triumphs, how they endured, how they made it with limited money, with limited education, just gave me a new respect for the resilience of, really, my people, African Americans. It really has.”

Individuals interested in participating in the oral history project may contact Jackson at (319) 415-9501.  Read the entire article here. 

Also, you might want to peruse Professor Harris-Perry’s new book titled:

Sister Citizen:  Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

How about you; do you plan to see it?  What are your thoughts?

This entry was posted in Ametia's Rant, Books, History, Racism, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Professor Melissa Harris Perry Nails “The Help” | Miss Ann Really Had It MADE, The Help, Not so much…

  1. If you liked the movie, The Help, you’ll love The Maid Narratives. If you disliked The Help, you’ll love The Maid Narratives even more. Our book by LSU Press won’t be out until September, 2012. These true stories are tales of courage and fortitude, mostly devoid of rancor or bitterness.
    Katherine van Wormer

  2. I’ve not seen the movie but have recently read the book. My synopsis: How Skeeter overcomes her hair, her mother, her repressive upbringing in the racist south by exploiting the black women who raised her and her friends and stands on their shoulders to take her grab at the brass ring. They were the help all right. They helped her get her ass out of Jackson…where they remain to see what happens if (when) the shit hits the fan. (I guess their “reward” comes in the “sweet by and by” as usual.) Margaret Mitchell was less conflicted than Kathryn Stockett. She felt no need to pretend to speak of the personal lives or from an assumed perspective of those with whom she was incapable of identifying. She felt no need to couch her story in the assumed and approving voices of the people who they were exploiting. (The Mammy character notwithstanding. She wasn’t given a potentially true “voice of her own” until Alice Randall’s “The Wind Done Gone.”) Which basically proves the point: Stockett presumes to narrate from the first person perspectives of three women. But only one of them shares the perspective of the author.
    The presentation of Stockett’s story as if it truly came from Minnie and Aibileen as much as it did from Skeeter is disingenuous and dishonest. Stockett’s story becomes the headline: “White woman escapes racist, sexist environment to go on to do who knows what great things!” Meanwhile, back in Jackson, Mississippi…..

    • Ametia says:

      Hello, Lauren, and welcome to 3 Chics. Appreciate your synopis. I finally saw the movie last month. I went by myself, although several white friends wanted to accompany me. I wanted to see it without their analyzing it during the movie, then come back and discuss my take on it. I concur. The movie was all about “Miss Ann” and her ake on the lives of the black maids, And the movie definitely did make sure Miss Ann got the hell out of dodge after she made her money off selling white-washed versions of black folks’ story. They’ve yet to see the moive, so I haven’t heard their take on the Help. It should prove interesting. LOL

      Like Dannie said in the comments here, shit if folks wanted to know what the lives were like for black maids, give me $10, and I’ll give them the TRUTH. But some white folks don’t want the ugly truth of systematic racism, inequality, discrimination,

  3. eshowoman says:

    I have no desire to see this film. I am of West Indian ancestry and my folks are still doing this back breaking work for very little money. Just walk down the streets of Manhattan and you will see Jamaican women with their blonde haired, blue eyed charges. None of these women have glowing things to say about their employers, they do the job so that their kids get an education. My aunt’s best friend worked a a domestic and health care worker for 25 years and all her children went to college. Funny, I don’t see anyone making a movie about that.

  4. Marilyn says:

    Yes, I plan to see it. I think if you know history at all, you already know alot of what transpired when black people worked as domestics for white people durring that time period. I’m sure this movie will get alot of people talking. But I’m basically looking for something that is entertaining with a factual twist in it. Entertainment. If you are looking for something you can rip apart because it’s not gritty enough for you, than don’t see it.

  5. Lea Frey says:

    I am an 84 year old white woman, retired teacher, married to a white retired doctor. I was brought up in a town just outside Pittsburgh, PA, which didn’t have a single person of color in it. The “negro neighborhood” was on the other side of the city. I learned early to fight for their civil rights any way I could. But, I also lived for a short time in the south, and conditions for black women in the 50’s early 60’s were much like I perceived them in “The Help.”. I fought racism subtly, wherever we were, by teaching my sons, my students, and my neighbors the evils of racism, by my actions, by respecting people of all colors. We lived in a defacto segregated world then, but my sons called the lady who cleaned for us, “Miss Reed”, since it was disrespectful to call her by a first name. I helped organize a local organization in California, where we live, called “Open Doors”, the idea being to try to change the town of Los Gatos from all white to mixed. I have always had black women friends; it’s easier in California where defacto segregation isn’t as prevalent as in the south or the eastern U. S. .
    My point is there are more ways to fight for human rights than NAACP (which I also support). I have watched positive changes occur through the years, in slow but positive steps moving to conditions that are vastly better than in the 60’s when I was Prof. Harris-Perry’s age. I suggest she is just too young to realize how things have changed since then. “The Help” was not ahistorical; it showed a slice of the subtle racism of white women, and the limited way bright black woman fought back the only ways they could- and survive. With all respect, Ms Harris-Perry (who is under 40) just didn’t get the subtle depiction of the spoiled, racist white women (north and south) and in contrast, the resourceful, strong, courageous black women who managed to survive under impossible conditions. Viola Harris should be nominated for the academy award for her portrayal of one of these women. I loved the book and the film, because it depicted the subtle- but maddening- racism of the 60’s without needing to hit you over the head with a sledge hammer. Perhaps Prof Harris-Perry’s finding the movie “maddening” says more about the subtle racism depicted in the movie than she realized.

    • Marilyn says:

      Thanks for your input. People like you have done alot to further racial equality.

    • Ametia says:

      Hi Lea, appreciate your comment and your efforts. Again, this is your perspective as a white woman.

    • Ametia says:

      Interesting, that you would persume to think Melissa Harris Perry doesn’t GET it about racism. Once again, no matter the age, White women think they know what is in Black women’s hearts and minds.

    • creolechild says:

      You said: “I have watched positive changes occur through the years, in slow but positive steps moving to conditions that are vastly better than in the 60′s when I was Prof. Harris-Perry’s age. I suggest she is just too young to realize how things have changed since then.”

      Perhaps Professor Harris-Perry’s belief stems from the fact that for a substantial number of blacks in this country there are significant areas where inequality remains present. It’s just gone underground, so to speak, since the Civil Rights Act and other laws of a similar nature were passed in the 1960s. Positive change is slow indeed…since abnormally high levels of discrimination continue to be documented in housing, access to health care, education, and employment. And it’s almost as bad now as it was back then. Furthermore, there’s a disproportionate number of black and brown men who are “routinely” incarcerated for non-violent offenses–while their white counterparts who are guilty of the same offenses– do not receive jail time. (For some perspective, read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.)

      So, with all due respect and admiration for your efforts on behalf of equality for all, I would suggest to you that Professor Harris-Perry doesn’t need the benefit of age in order to understand the issue of racism…because she, and WE, continue to live with it…both subtle and blatant…day in and day out~

      • Ametia says:

        Tell the TRUTH, CC. *sigh* Creolechild, here we are in teh 21st century still having to deal with this messy subject of racism. It’s comments like the above that proves MHP’s point. White women/folks know better than we do in well, just about everything, including racism.

        Most of the women or men back in the day didn’t get jobs that allowed them to pay into SS, so now you got folks screaming about entitlements, lazy blacks, welfare, etc.

        No wonder Prof. Harris Perry said she was incoherently angry.

  6. Amhara says:

    if you feel conflicted about supporting the movie with your money, buy a ticket for a different movie that u support that’s showing around the same time and watch what u want.

  7. RAB123 says:

    See the movie before you judge it. As a black women with an extensive knowledge of Black Women’s History, this movie is not as bad as the typical “mammy” movies. There are instances and performances that will pleasantly surprise you. I understand and agree with some of Professor Harris points, however I didn’t feel it deserved such a harsh critique. See it and make up your own minds.

  8. dannie22 says:

    Hello everyone. I will not be seeing this movie. I believe it is criminal that in 2011, white folks can’t let go of the damn 50’s!!!! I saw the author of The Help on a morning show and the director of the film is a childhood friend friend of hers. It seems to me that these 2 white folks are making it rain on the misery of black women!! I’ve also read that the author’s maid has filed a lawsuit against her. So I’m guessing there was no love there in spite of what the author says. My grandmother was a maid and if she were alive today she would say, “Give me the $10, I’ll tell you exactly what it was like to be a maid!!”
    White women need to be checking themselves over wanting to go back to the 50’s cause it wasnt exactly a perfect era for them either.

  9. Shady_Grady says:

    One of my grandmothers and a great aunt worked as a maid. They didn’t have anything good to say about it and neither did their children. They did what they had to do so that their children could do better things. I have zero interest in this movie.

    • Ametia says:

      Hi Brother Shady. I’m one of eleven children in my family. My mother and father were fromt he Jim Crow era and had an 8th grade education. My dad was a farmer, butcher, a butler for the county judge and other white folks of means. I remember a few years ago, I went to visit my dad, before he died.

      He had a framed photo of him dressed in a white jacket standing in front of a credenza at one of the party he’d served. Initially I was irritated by seeing the photo, but then when we talked about it, dad told me that he gained a better understanding of who he was as a man, and felt no shame in what he had to do to survive. I told him I understood. I couldn’t say another word.

      My mother was a housekeeper, for numerous white women in our rural community. She used to bring home hand me downs from the women. I didn’t like it, and moma said the white women would tell her she could take leftover food home to us, like we were animals. Mama would throw it away before she got home.

      I can say with great CLARITY, that they both did everything within their power to raise and take care of ALL of us.

      So yes they did what they had to do, and I’m grateful. Even after I got pregnant the summer before my senior year in high school, my dad stilll gave me my college tuition for nursing school after I got married and got a job. And my mom helped care for my daughter while I attended nursing school.

      Dad said he saved for us, because he wanted us to get it “upstairs”(education/knowledge) so we ddin’t have to do hard labor. My parents gave us choices.

    • Hi Shady Grady,

      I can imagine. And I don’t blame your grandmother & great aunt one single bit.

  10. GGail says:

    Sure, Ametia, but I’m still debating whether to go see it or not. I have an Aunt in Georgia who is 95 years old. She was a domestic and the white family (now adult children and their children) stops by to see “Miss Tina” and when I go to visit her, they come by and still tell us how much she means to them. But because she was a domestic back then, she has no Social Security benefits to live off of except for her late husband’s benefits – which is very low. That ain’t right! So you see my conflict. Do I support the black actors with my dollars or do I protest by withholding my dollars?

    • Ametia says:

      Here’s the thing, GGail. For me, everyone is free to make choices now. Some of us are more conscious of the fact that we can make choices and be completely RESPONSIBLE for each and every one we make. Not holding anyone else accountable for these choices or the consequences of said choices.

      The black actors/actresses are making their choice and reaping the benefits.

      For me, my family will always come first. I’d take the money for the cost of that movie ticket and give it to my Auntie!

    • Hi GGail! I hear you. Many others that were domestics back then are suffering the same consequences of having no Social Security benefits to live off of in their late years. I am sure the family cares for Miss Tina deeply, but it sure isn’t right that she spent so many of her years working hard for them and then once in old age, not having enough money to make ends meet. It’s down right wrong to me!

      • Ametia says:

        And the unfortunate thing today is seeing the very folks who can now receive SS benefits, face a threat of not receiving them if the majority tea party-influenced congress we have now remains in power and tries to eliminate it. The irony is the white folks are going to suffer right along with the rest of us.

      • GGail says:

        And I have a hard time smiling and being nice when they stop by when I’m visiting her.

      • Dropping by for a visit is a drop in the bucket of humanity. If they truly honor this woman, they should be helping her financially and in any other way they can. I know, through a friend, a really rich women who had a live-in nanny who raised her two white kids. As soon as the kids left home–out on the street so to speak. Oh, but her kids still adore the woman. They see her once a year when they are home on vacation.

        People like this super rich, white bitch fill me with rage. It makes me ashamed of being white.

  11. Saving my money also! MHP just nailed it! Forgive me for being a total CT person and asking why is this piece of Caca book and BS movie being brought out right now? Are we all now supposed to get all gooey nostalgic for the ’50’s? They can Bite me!

    You all were too young but my memory has not failed me yet!

  12. Melissa Nailed it to the wall! Hell to the No, I will NOT be watching this BS!

    • GGail says:

      I’m so conflicted. If we don’t see the movie, we’re not showing(by our dollars) that these great black actresses deserve more and better acting roles. Perhaps we could view the movie and then leave comments on a movie review site about the subject matter.

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