ONTD Political

Harris-Perry: 'The Help' doesn't help domestic workers

8:23 pm - 02/27/2012

Melissa Harris-Perry shares her grievances with the Oscar-nominated film 'The Help' and its portrayal of domestic workers. Author Micki McElya and Barbara Young of the National Domestic Workers Alliance join the panel in reviewing the topics covered in the film.


Preceding this: Do state labor laws protect domestic workers?
sweetwaterpink 28th-Feb-2012 02:13 am (UTC)
Love Melissa Harris-Perry! She always have good conversation topics.

Even though I enjoyed the movie, The Help, I also had a problem with it being more about Emma's character coming of age and less about the domestic workers. She was like a “savior” figure. The domestic workers struggles and fears were lightly brush over. I never felt like they were in real danger. If there was a boogie-man, the viewer never saw his face.

Edited at 2012-02-28 02:19 am (UTC)
milleniumrex 28th-Feb-2012 02:37 am (UTC)
I've used the term "Disney Racism" to describe this movie a few times.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
bnmc2005 28th-Feb-2012 02:31 am (UTC)
Yup. Pretty much. I've had reservations about this story since the book came out.
hammersxstrings 28th-Feb-2012 02:36 am (UTC)
lolz. i've seen this floating around tumblr, and I laugh everytime
lovedforaday 28th-Feb-2012 03:12 am (UTC)
i still can't over the help playing a black woman giving a white woman a shit pie for the lulz. can't find shit funny that would have got someone beat or killed in real life.
milleniumrex 28th-Feb-2012 03:25 am (UTC)
That was the one scene I couldn't get past. Everything else was meh, but that? Ugh.
ms_maree 28th-Feb-2012 03:22 am (UTC)
It was interesting to listen to the domestic worker's views on the movie.
mdemvizi 28th-Feb-2012 03:38 am (UTC)
Ugh this movie. Ugh it being nominated for Best Picture.

Saw Melissa Harris-Perry on The Daily Show awhile ago and have loved her since. Haven't seen her MSNBC thing but she is always on point.
etherealtsuki 28th-Feb-2012 03:40 am (UTC)
Yup, I don't feel bad that Viola Davis didn't win an Oscar for it yesterday although I just can't with Spencer winning hers.

I don't care what bullshit those two tried to sell me (although I side-eye Davis with her comment that all Black scriptwriters and/or directors only have her crackhead mother roles), it is not worth it. It's pretty telling that most of the recent Black winners won with roles that play to Black stereotypes. It's high time to say that this shit is no long acceptable.

I mean look at Crystal's Blackface skit. That's what happen when we go backwards.
rufinia 28th-Feb-2012 05:04 am (UTC)
I don't blame actors for taking roles. There are very few that have the power to make any substantive changes in scripts (Streep, Pitt, Clooney, Jolie), and Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are not in that league. Even if she had won the Oscar, Davis isn't there and most likely never will be. You have to work, and for minority actors, especially, if they turned down roles that they had reservations with, they'd never work. Even the roles that were good wouldn't be offered to them because they'd get a reputation for being difficult.

Davis did a fantastic interview on Fresh Air a couple weeks ago where she talked about how she worked to make her character more than a stereotype. She knows the world she works in, and all the awards in the world isn't going to change the fact that if she wants to work as an actress, she's gotta eat some form of a shit sandwich.

I really hope that her day comes where Davis does take home an Oscar, but for a much better role in a less UGH movie. I hope that day comes soon.
evilgmbethy 28th-Feb-2012 05:32 am (UTC)
I watched this segment when it aired. I believe Elon James White was in the panel, too, and he has a tag here.

Anyway, I'm loving her show. I thought it was wonderful that she brought an actual domestic worker on as an expert. There are so many people who talk about the plight of workers and not enough to people who talk with actual workers.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
romp 28th-Feb-2012 07:46 am (UTC)
This is my first chance to see MHP's new show! Thanks.
mentalguru 28th-Feb-2012 10:18 am (UTC)
A part of me wants to see this goddamned film because I have a morbid curiosity. But then, I don't want to pay/give money to the people who made it.
crysania4 28th-Feb-2012 11:59 am (UTC)
See if your local library has it maybe?
keeni84 28th-Feb-2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
The movie is offensive, but the more I think about the book, the more it makes me sick.

The white author says little to nothing positive about black women, their hair (unless it is "good"), their skin (unless it is pale/white) or the way they look.

It sickens me!
eyetosky 28th-Feb-2012 09:30 pm (UTC)
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