Although it didn’t win the Best Motion Picture Oscar, The Help was a permanent fixture this awards season. Nevertheless, the film wasn’t without controversy–namely for masquerading as the story of the Black “help,” when it was really a coming-of-age tale of the young, White woman who served as the savior by telling their story in a book.
In the movie, which tells the story of household servants and their masters, Aibileen Clark (played by Viola Davis) is the mammy character and maid for the young white child of a racist family. The young girl, Mae Mobley, was neglected by her parents, who had little patience for a child of her age and needs. Consequently, the nanny’s unconditional love and continuous boosts of self-esteem via her regular pep talks serves to inspire the child. At what is supposed to be the most compelling moment of the film, Aibileen tells young Mae Mobley, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” one the final time before walking out of her life forever.
We know that people from that time period eventually became today’s leaders of the Republican Party. Ironically, it is motivational speeches just like the one Aibileen delivered to Mae Mobley that instilled self-esteem in those who would eventually turn their backs on people like those whom they had loved in times gone by. So now we’re left to experience the byproduct of those esteem-boosters through the memorable quotes prominent elites utter today.
We’ve already told you how a vote for any of the GOP candidates is a vote for a racist, but let’s take a look at how the “You is kind. You is smart. You is important” mantra can backfire when it comes to the fostering of wealthy elite children.
At a campaign stop in Sioux City, Iowa in January 2012, Rick Santorum was questioned about the foreign influence on the United States, and the GOP presidential candidate responded by talking about Black people on public assistance. He said, “I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money, and provide for themselves and their families.”
What on earth do Black people have to do with foreign influence on the U.S.? The implication here is that Blacks, like illegal immigrants, are somehow foreign. And, of course the next leap Santorum makes is to public assistance, because of the perception that subsidies are largely a Black problem–more evidence that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, because we all know that there are more whites receiving welfare than Blacks.
GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, exposed his lack of concern for poor people in a CNN interview with Soledad O’Brien. He said, “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.”
After O’Brien challenged his original remarks, Romney clarified his statement by saying, “I said ‘I’m not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them.” Poor people have a safety net? Well, somebody ought to let the “poor people” know… That’s why they call them “poor.” If a safety net was really in place, they wouldn’t be poor and struggling.
In his “South Was Right” Civil War speech at the Southern Historical Conference in Schertz, Texas in September of 2003, GOP presidential candidate, Ron Paul, makes the case that Southern slave owners should have been paid for their slaves before freeing them as compensation for the loss of their “property.” And yes, he said it in all seriousness, and with a straight face, whilst standing in front of a Confederate flag.
Newt Gingrich, the man who called President Obama the “food stamp President,” has made a number of racist remarks, including one where he alludes to the notion that food stamps are largely a Black problem. He said, “I’m prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I’ll go to their convention to talk about why the African American community should demand pay checks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” Again, Newt is using the same ridiculous Rick Santorum argument by insinuating that Blacks are taking white people’s money.
As a result of confidence-building rhetoric, people like Newt Gingrich can wind up overestimating their abilities, especially when it comes to intelligence. In one of his more outrageous statements, the GOP presidential candidate said, concerning his natural leadership qualities, “I am not a natural leader. I’m too intellectual; I’m too abstract; I think too much.” Let’s be serious Newt!
The Bottom Line
To bring it back to The Help, there’s a lot that we can glean from the perpetuation of those types of racially charged characters and dynamics.
Use your imagination and think of Mae Mobley, who received all of this positive reinforcement from “the help,” whom her parents fired abruptly. What became of Mae Mobley and those like her? She could very well have become a Michelle Bachmann when you consider the perpetuation of the ideologies held by her parents.
Here’s how it happens… They use their esteem, along with their white privilege and class advantage, to finagle their way into the seats of power and influence over those very people responsible for building them up.
So we must be very careful when it comes to giving advantaged people of twisted ideologies the tools necessary to push their agendas, perverted through their generational influences. This positive reinforcement also serves to underscore the notion that they are even better than you because of your lowly class status and race.
The moral of this story is to let the elites help themselves, and you go and help your own children who have been left unattended while you care for the master’s offspring. Consequently, we should be celebrating a movie that glorifies the weak, the poor, the downtrodden, and the oppressed as a stepping stone for achieving the goal of maintaining them in this circumstance–the one that the GOP is heavily pushing today.
Rick Santorum – “I don’t want to make Black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
Mitt Romney – “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”
Ron Paul – “South Was Right” Speech
Ron Paul – “Ron Paul Says Buy Slaves To End Slavery. Is That Constitutional?”
Newt Gingrich – “Food Stamp President”
Newt Gingrich – “African American community should demand pay checks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”
Newt Gingrich – “I’m too intellectual!”