People Really Do Get Their Civil Rights History From Movies Like The Help. The Problem With That Is Clear

My latest publication, “People Really Do Get Their Civil Rights History From Movies Like The Help. The Problem With That Is Clear,” is live in Time. You can read it here. Please read, like, and share. Comments always welcome, too. 

Thanks! Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda

Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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6 replies

  1. Great article. I never saw the movie or read the book. Didn’t want to read the book because I’ve got enough history books that tell me that whatever was going on was still gonna be through white eyes. And then the movie (sanitization was gonna be par for the course if it was a Walt Disney Company movie, which I suspected), just no.

    I just finished Dr. King’s book Stride Toward Freedom about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and am gonna read his other two autobios pretty soon. I’m sure the moments in that book–the pressures by civil authorities to end the boycott, arrests, bombings, general discourtesy and beatings of blacks who resisted, Klan rides–are far more interesting anyway than the fictional story of a clueless white ally out for her own name and fame. Sure seems that way, anyway.

    Glad I read this–definitely wasn’t planning on getting the book before, still not now. I was also debating–with the hole statues and Daughters of the Confederacy thing going on–whether or not to get Mitchell’s book Gone With The Wind, even though I’ve seen the movie dozens of times and my inner historian cringes because of the insult to the intelligence it is. I’m sure I wouldn’t get very far without throwing it against the wall in frustration of the overly-glamorous happy happy joy joy time of belles and beaus and slaves that never knew a whip or starvation walking around with smiles. Maybe when I’m old and gray(er) I’ll get it and grade it like a history thesis with red ink in the margins about what bulls*** is in it (hee hee).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Help was uncomfortable to watch, especially the ending. We all know what would happen to a black woman who dared to tamper with food in that way, and then admit to it. She would’ve been lynched. My teen daughter watched this movie in a history class, and your point is spot on about people assuming this is an accurate depiction of life in the Jim Crow South, and mistaking it for history.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your first commenter is someone I know. LOL
    I plan to reblog this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I watch a film, right up front I see a panel from the Motion Picture Association that tells me what the film is rated and why. At that point I can decide if I still want to watch it, and if I do, I can prepare myself to process what I’m about to see. Things like nudity, violence, and language are flagged. Never a mention of things like promoting racial stereotypes or offensive behaviors towards women, people of color, or the LBGT community. Has there ever been any discussion about upgrading the rating system to flag behaviors that are truly unacceptable by today’s standards? I watch a lot of old movies, and I see a lot of scenes that range from cringe-worthy to upsetting. A lot of material that used to be considered funny should only be watched with a “viewer discretion” warning.


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