Civic Imagination

The Help

I have chosen my story to be the movie “The Help”, which is a real story set during the 60s in the town of Jackson, Mississippi. The story portrays the racism and discrimination aimed towards the domestic workers during that time and the abuse as well as the harassment they go through by their employers: “the perfect housewives”. In the age of the siege and the random arrests based on color, one woman was courageous enough to interview all the domestic workers of Jackson and write their stories into a book. This woman through her determination and courage was able to give the domestic workers their voice and make them feel how important their roles were in raising “the white babies”. The main character is the girl who does not want to get married like the rest of the housewives but instead she wants to be a writer. The other characters are the domestic workers and the housewives. It is inspiring because I have always felt extremely passionate towards people who were not born privileged because I was not and my parents were not. I understand what it feels like to not be able to speak up. My dad has been working at his dead end job for 23 years now, I don’t think he likes what he does but I have never once heard him complain. Whether it is color or finances having privilege is privilege.

The first time I watched this movie was through a random DVD that I picked up from a random store. Before watching this movie I had no idea what it was like to be a black domestic worker in a white society. “The Help” along with other movies such as “Woodlawn” and “42” changed my views drastically and made me want to become an advocate for all those suppressed voices out there. I do talk about these movies as some of the movies that have touched me the most in my life.

This story can inspire people to take action and try to be more aware towards racism and also towards the little things that they do every single day where they hurt others' feelings without even realizing it. This story touches themes of racism, color, inequality, privilege, discrimination, human rights, the importance of writing about things, insensitivty towards others and advocacy. This story was 60 years ago in the States, however we still have this exact relationship with our domestic workers in Lebanon and in Lebanon it is actually much worse than what this movie portrays to the extent that we have "employers" who have burnt their migrant domestic workers with an iron. The Nepalese domestic workers' suicide rates were 15 suicides in just 4 months.

Racism, discrimination, inequality, privilege, human rights, poverty and advocacy.

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