Association of Black Women Historians Blasts ‘The Help’
In its formal statement to moviegoers, the ABWH admonishes the film for “widespread stereotyping” of African American culture during the Civil Rights era. Their concerns range from inaccurate “representations of black life,” including an apathy-inducing “Mammy” portrayal of all African American women, an “over-exaggerated” style of speech, and an ubiquitous lack of faith in black men’s integrity, to direct contradictions of history, such as failing to adequately depict Civil Rights activism or the sexual abuse many African American female domestic servants received from their employers.
Ultimately, the ABWH confutes the historical relevance of the film and novel, arguing that “The Help” is nothing more than a “coming-of-age story of a white protagonist, who uses myths about the lives of black women to make sense of her own.”
Celebitchy, the popular star-oriented blog, sympathizes with the views of ABWH, but clearly takes a less critical stance towards the film. In its eyes, the film “doesn’t even slightly pretend to be a cumulative historical presentation of the Civil Rights Era by any stretch,” viewing its chief purpose as the opening of people’s eyes and hearts to life, courage, and relationships, but the author hedges, declaring, “my opinion in this matter doesn’t hold much credence for the simple fact that I’m not black.”
David Bisson is a New York college student, and a lover and champion of the truth.
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