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Controversy!

The appearance of the movie version of The Help has stirred up the discussion of both book and film.

Here are some links to articles and other resources about The Help (the book and the film) from Prof. Cristina Accomando of HSU:

Open Statement to Fans of The Help from the Association of Black Women Historians (includes a suggested reading list):
http://www.abwh.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2:open-statement-the-help&catid=1:latest-news

 

More details about one of the recommended readings:

http://www.beaconbroadside.com/broadside/2011/08/like-one-of-the-family.html?cid=6a00e54ed2b7aa8833014e8ac78aa3970d

 

NY Times op-ed piece about The Help from Patricia Turner (who is one of the scholars in the documentary Ethnic Notions):

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/opinion/dangerous-white-stereotypes.html?ref=opinion
NYT article by Nelson George (which addresses the larger issue of Hollywood films on Black struggle):

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/movies/black-and-white-struggle-through-hollywoods-rosy-glow.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

 

Tulane professor Melissa Harris-Perry commenting on the film on msnbc:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44098555#44098555
http://feministing.com/2011/08/11/professor-melissa-harris-perry-calls-the-help-movie-ahistorical-and-deeply-troubling/

 

Jennifer Williams on the Ms. Blog:
http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2011/08/10/why-im-not-looking-forward-to-the-help/

 

Here’s an engaging piece by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan on The Feminist Wire: “Second (and Third, and Fourth…) Helpings: A Big Black Woman’s Thoughts on The Help

http://www.thefeministwire.com/2011/08/19/second-and-third-and-fourth%E2%80%A6-helpings-a-big-black-woman%E2%80%99s-thoughts-on-the-help/
The Feminist Wire has several other pieces posted on The Help, including one by Duchess Harris:

 

http://www.thefeministwire.com/2011/08/12/kathryn-stockett-is-not-my-sister-and-i-am-not-her-help/

 

From Alice Walker’s website:

http://alicewalkersgarden.com/2011/09/the-help/

 

A piece in the Ithaca post reporting on what bell hooks said about The Help and other popular contemporary novels:

http://theithacapost.com/2010/10/11/start-where-you-are/

Here’s an interesting radio conversation on NPR with Karla Holloway:
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/24/134031233/Former-Maid-Sues-Author-For-False-Portrayal

Whatever we think of the book, the film, or the incredible popularity of both, as educators I hope we can seize the opportunity to offer some context and some useful lenses.  A lot of us show the Marlon Riggs documentary Ethnic Notions, and it has useful analysis of the Mammy stereotype.  There are many other resources that don’t directly address The Help but can offer a framework for discussing the issues that it raises.

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