Saturday, August 20, 2011

You have got to see “The Help”

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Today’s Blog Post

You have got to see “The Help”

We arrived early at the Theatre for our Date Night. Alida and I were off to see a show together.

Our selection was “The Help”.

At the end of the night I can tell you that this was an amazing movie! Maybe one that will stand out for a long time in my memory. It is actually unforgettable!

The Web Site that I read states… quote…
“Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter (Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives -- and a Mississippi town -- upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen (Davis), Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up -- to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community. Despite Skeeter's life-long friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their collaboration and soon more women come forward to tell their stories -- and as it turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become unwittingly -- and unwillingly -- caught up in the changing times. Written by Walt Disney Pictures - End quote.

I was almost 20 years old when this story was taking place, over and over again in the South. So in many ways the story is about my time and my generation.

Watching this movie made me embarrassed to be White at times. In fact that happens more than enough times when the real truth of the life that was lived by these Whites – actually is told. It was shameful what “we” did to “them”.

In ny city of Regina, Saskatchewan, in the 1960s, there were hardly any Blacks of any kind. I think in the entire High School system there was one Black Family. The one Black guy was my friend and his family attended the same church.

I am sure that they knew about how Blacks were treated at that time… and perhaps had chosen the City of Regina to live in… because it could not be any further from the troubled South.

I remember the day that President Kennedy was shot. I kind of remember the reports that it had something to do with his political stance on some Black issues… but there was more. At that age, 19 going on 20, their issues in the States were not really my issues in Canada.

I was in my early 20s when I personally felt the first really horrible racial hatred of one people against another.

With my friend Ken I traveled over to Detroit, Michigan for the afternoon from his home in Windsor, Ontario, he drove us to the Bobolink Park in Detroit. We had fun that day.

I stepped into a Washroom in the park. After doing my business I was washing my hands and face to cool down. I looked up to see another man step out of the toilet area and approach the sinks to wash as well. He stopped, hesitated as he approached the empty sink space near me…. as he looked carefully at me.

There was a definite feeling of hatred as he glared at me steadily. I was puzzled with what was happening.

I spoke to him in a friendly tone. I said something like, “Wow is it ever hot out there today!? This is a great park to help cool down. Are you from Detroit?”

Remember I am less than six months out of Saskatchewan. I am about as rednecked as any one can be. I have no idea of the South or of Detroit… or what was happening just over a few blocks from the Bobolink Park. Or what was about to happen in the few months to come.

The Black man didn’t answer but rather swaggered up to the sink beside me and turned the water on. His big arms were covered with scars and marks that showed dark spots on his dark skin. He had been in fights before from my guess.

I didn’t like his silence and decided it was time to go.

Outside the washroom I met Ken standing beside his small red sports car. He saw the funny look on my face and asked what happened. I told him quickly of the Black man and what I said to the man… and the man’s reaction.

Ken’s reaction to that was even more strange. He said quickly, “Jump in the car – we are out of here NOW! This could be dangerous for us! Let’s go NOW!”

No sooner did I slam the door than Ken was booting us out of the Bobolink Park.

“You could have got us both killed by speaking to that guy. You don’t talk to Black people in this city. Even being in the same Washroom is not a good idea. Don’t you know about this stuff?” he said/asked incredulously.

Nope I didn’t know nothing! I was a bumpkin from southern Saskatchewan which was at least 700 miles north of Detroit and way far to the West. And it was about 1965! We didn’t know about it at all.

It was in 1967 that Detroit finally erupted in the horrific riots. Read the Link below.

That day I stepped into a Washroom as a dumb Saskatchewan boy… I faced what “The Help” Movie was all about.

I can honestly say that I am ashamed of what “my kind” did to these people.

My how the world has changed… and most importantly – how my kind have changed as well… at least most of us.

I wonder if the audience in Mississippi will see the movie the way that I saw it last night?

The one thing I did notice last night was... there were no black people in the audience at that theatre… not one. But then the University Students are not back yet…

And Peterborough is still pretty White. A local person told me of the old days when Black People were not allowed to own property in Peterborough and before the sun went down, any Black person that was in the city – had to be out. They could not sleep any where in the city limits.

That law was changed in the late 1960s or early 1970s from what I was told.

“The Help” is a fantastic movie! You just have to see it!

~ Murray Lincoln ~ 


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