Thanks for Your Help with THE HELP, and a Panel in Lincoln

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Many thanks to those of you who've sent (via Twitter & Facebook) these links to other pieces about the book and film The Help.  I'm grateful for the chance to expand my initial compilation of key online commentaries

From Emily Hammerl, these links:

Multiple takes on the problematic aspects of The Help, including the difference between the UK and US versions, plus an announcement of a Twitter discussion on August 28th, #100voicesrespondtothehelp.

"Reading the Help," by Susannah Bartlow, a white feminist whose "goal is to step into necessary solidarity with black feminists."

Claire Potter's "For Colored Only?  Understanding The Help Through the Lens of White Womanhood" in the Chronicle of Higher Ed.'s critique of the way popular magazines' takes on The Help have appealed to readers' taste buds/nostalgia, "Recipes for Shit Pie as Inspired by The Help."

From Julie Holden, these two:  David Denby's review in the New Yorker, and Helena Andrews' piece, "I Was 'The Help,' or Why Cicely Tyson Freaks Me the Hell Out."

From Ashley Lawson, "Eudora Welty's Jackson:  'The Help' in Context" by W. Ralph Edwards on NPR Books.

And from Christin Geall, "On 'The Help,'" at Feministe, about the disturbing "nostalgia for ugly times."

Thanks to Ada Vilageliu Diaz for linking to a piece by Marybeth Gasman, a professor of higher ed at Penn, in The Chronicle of Higher Ed yesterday, "The Strength of African-American Women and American Racism," in which Gasman writes,

We both enjoyed the film in spite of how difficult it was to watch at times.  Although it wasn't entirely historically accurate, many of the the themes in the movie were important and could be used to foster interesting discussions among people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds.
Thanks, everyone!  The "foster interesting discussions" part is what we're hoping to work with here in Lincoln, where the Ethnic Studies faculty is planning a panel.  Something like, "Why The Help Isn't Helping." 

Or maybe, by provoking discussion, it is.  We'll see. 

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, September 14th, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Bailey Library in Andrews Hall at UNL, where Professors Jeannette Eileen Jones (History & African American Studies), Kwakiutl Dreher (English & African American Studies), Patrick Jones (History & African American Studies), and Anna Williams Shavers, the Cline Williams Professor of Citizenship Law at UNL's Law College, will speak. 

More later on that. 

For the moment, I'm done--so done--with The Help.  Off to see Colombiana.


sweet pea said:

Of interest here, too, is Barbara Neely's wonderful detective series set in Farleigh, North Carolina with a black maid as the protagonist, Blanche White.
"In Blanche White, Neely has...a unique literary creation:
an independent black woman who doesn't feel incomplete without a man; a maid unapologetic about her profession; and a deeply spiritual woman who finds solace speaking
to the Ancestors." � The Boston Globe

Check out Neely and her books at

September 4, 2011 6:39 PM

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