Archive for November, 2010

The Race Card

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Yes, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve added to this blog.  Let’s say I’ve had health issues and leave it at that.

I recently read a book that was on the best sellers’ list for eons in 2009 called “The Help” about maids in deep south pre-civil rights era.  Now I like to review items that I have bought on Amazon because I tend to use the buyers’ reviews in determining my own purchases and I feel that I need to contribute in kind.

I was rather surprised to find that most of the negative (1 star) reviews were Blacks because this was supposed to be a book that gave the Black point of view.  As one of the main characters note in her proposal for her book: “we already have the White prospective in Gone With The Wind” in how Whites feel about their “mammy” and she wanted people to know how the “mammy” feels about cleaning up and raising White children, only to have them treated like servants when the children become adults.

It was a story of Black maids in the deep south when segregation and racism was at its ugly worst.  It showed them as thinking, loving women who literally raised generations of White children to be “kind, smart, confident, worthwhile”.

And if it had stopped there.  If it had been another sensationalist book about the evils of racism and the White folk, it would no doubt be on Oprah and the 94 out of 2700 plus reviews would have never been negative.

But it was a story of women–and how difficult it was for a woman, White or Black, to live in a pre-women’s rights era when her one goal in life was supposed to be to get a man and please him.

And more, it did the unthinkable…it portrayed a White woman helping the Black maids…of risking HER life, her social standing, her senator’s son possible husband. 

This book, interesting and captivating, even for someone like me so far away from the entire Black/White issue, reminded the reader of an unspoken truth:

Without Whites, risking it all…to march side by side…to refuse to allow slaves and inequality…there would NEVER have been a Black man in the White House…as Secretary of State…as CEO…as the top t.v. host…or the highest paid jock, movie star, musician.

This little book that despite being turned down 47 times, made it to the Best Seller’s list for months and will be a movie next year…primarily because it tells the story of courageous people at a time and place that should have sucked the hope out of everyone but instead turned out to be a small point of light.

I hope when people go see it they understand that the time has come for Blacks to retire that race card…

And Whites to stop apologizing for the past.