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More on Why “The Help” Is Whitewashing The Past [FB/YCQMOT]
August 15th, 2011 by Dan

There was no real-life book similar to Skeeter’s magnum opus; it’s a fictional flourish that feels like a college-educated white liberal’s wish-fulfillment fantasy of how she would have conducted herself had she been time-warped back to the civil rights era. I wouldn’t have just stood by and let it happen. I would have done something! Something brave! This silliness reminded me, perversely enough, of an old Eddie Murphy routine tweaking macho black males’ fantasies of how they would have behaved if they’d lived in the pre-Civil War South: “Brothers act like they couldn’t have been slaves back 200 years ago … ‘I wish I was a slave! I would f— somebody up!'”

-Matt Zoller Seitz. “Why Hollywood keeps whitewashing the past

This article on Slate more eloquently expresses what I was trying to say about why The Help is so troubling to me as an exercise in absolving white guilt. I knew it was prevalent in media, but I forgot about To Kill a Mockingbird until today.

Again, I’ve neither read this book nor seen this movie, but it does appear to be another in a long line of movies that treats segregation and racism so safely and flippantly.


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