Two years ago, after my life took many unexpected turns I found myself back to the basics with books, my Bible, and my journal. Whenever life strips you, it seems only a few things matter and those things are usually the things that give you life when it seems yours has gone away. One of my best friends and favorite human beings, Katy, was relentless in recommending The Help by Kathryn Stockett to me. What I was leery about what the context of race in the book. But, I decided that if the book was getting praise I should read it and establish a firm conviction either way.
Fast forward to the present and I’m still referring The Help to all the readers I know! It’s clear, I did in fact love the book. What was interesting, to me, was how Kathryn Stockett wrote about black culture entangled in the racism that drowned the southern states during the 60s. This book pulls back to the band-aid on the racial tensions of America to reveal the scar. But the beauty in Ms. Stockett’s writing is she tells us the story of the wound without wounding us again. For me, as a black woman with roots to south and roots to women who in MY family have been maids, I’m thankful for her tactics. I’m thankful for the bold Skeeter and the courageous and dignified Aibileen who embodies the change we all have been born to make.
I’ve never had to clean a toilet other than the ones I use. I’ve never worked as a waitress and never will. I ‘ve never gone to the home of someone who down right hated me. But I am humbled by the women in my family, specifically my grandmother, who worked as a maid so that I can have the freedom (socially and financially) to make my own choices. I’m humbled by the women all over the world that endure unfavorable situations like racism and gender biases to unite with fellow believers of freedom to make a CHANGE. In short, that is the essence of Stockett’s The Help and I’m glad she chose this topic to illuminate.
If you haven’t read this book, get a copy. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it after you read the book. And, while you flip through these pages consider yourself and what or who you’re willing to HELP.