Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fun Monday - Movies that Make You Think

I didn't post a fun monday challenge before now...  Wasn't sure we would keep going - at least every week.  I think perhaps a once a month Fun Monday might be the ticket now - but if you want to play this week, join in!

This week's Fun Monday was inspired by going to see a movie on Sunday.  You know I don't go to very many.  It's expensive and I generally only go to ones that NEED to be seen on the big screen (Harry Potter, Transformers, big disaster films and the like), but this movie that I saw today would be just as powerful on a smaller screen. The big screen just brought you in closer and made you a part of the story.

These two women were wonderful!

The movie I saw today was "The Help" and I went with someone who's lived it.  She knew someone like everybody in that movie.  And assured me that there are still places in the US where it is still the same.. today.  It is, in some ways, unbelieveable that people could still be living these lives in this day and age.  We are enlightened now, aren't we?  Isn't that sense of being entitled just because we are white a thing of the past?  Apparently not.  Maybe that's why this movie is striking so many chords in so many people.
My friend's reminescences triggers memories of my own...  My maternal grandmother was a divorced woman who never remarried at a time when women like that were highly suspect.  Never mind the circumstances, she was a woman to be concerned about.  She also had two young children and went to work full-time to support them and keep a roof over everyone's head.  And she had a maid.  Loujetta kept Grandma's house, cooked, watched after her children - and helped her stay sane.  Grandma would have had a much harder time without Loujetta's help.  She was a part of the family, but had one of her own to go home to at night.  She helped out with my first wedding, which shows that she stayed around for a long, long time.  But I can't say what her relationship with my grandmother was like.  I was too young to see it at the time.  I hope theirs was a good and mutually beneficial one though.
My other grandmother's experience was more dramatic.  She actually managed to have a cross burned on her front yard.  She had come over here with her two sons to live in America.  They were staying at her cousin's farm, which hired local black people to work.  Understand that she never really fit in.  She was also a suspect woman.  She was a foreigner.  She wore shorts.  A divorcee.  And she had the nerve to give one of the workers a ride home in the back of the truck one evening.  For that, she was paid a visit by a group of men in white sheets who planted a cross in the yard and set fire to it as a warning.  One she didn't heed.  But they never burned another cross on her yard.

It was sad, watching that movie and realizing that that was how things were.  And in some places, still is.  But I also know that having skin of a different color doesn't make someone a better person or a worse person than me.  I have no upper hand, no dominion over them.  They are people... just like me.  They feel.  They work hard.  They love their families.  They worship and sing and go grocery shopping.  They are us.  And we are them.
One of the things I love about my son and many kids of his generation is that they don't see the difference.  He describes someone as having brown skin the same way he describes someone with blue eyes or curly hair.  It's just a physical attribute.  It has nothing to do with ability or humanity.  He went with us to see the movie today and while he knows this kind of thing took place commonly in the past, he has a hard time seeing it... understanding how it could have been that way. 
I sincerely hope that more people than not are like him.  That a movie like "The Help" can truly become a period piece and not continue to be a part of current history.

If you'd like to participate in Fun Monday, sign up in the comments.  I'll add you to the future list at the bottom of this post.  Write about a movie that made you think.


Sandy said...

I also loved this movie and it made me think, too!

I am going to play this week, Sayre, but it won't be up till sometime tomorrow.

Thanks for keeping the candle lit.

Jill said...

I love that your son doesn't see the difference. I know my own family makes 'jokes' about other races, which we don't appreciate. it annoys us, really, and I think it sets a bad example for the kids. they are getting mixed messages, even if they are technically 'old' enough to understand, they really don't get it. I dread the day when Keeley says something about color. We live in a small town that is white, but where we shop has a good mix, and we LOVE it! (is that weird?) It feels odd to be in a place that is completely white, after college and all of that. I am already prepared to say something if she EVER pipes up with a comment. I brace for it every time. She's such a spunky kid, not REALLy shy even though she pretends, so it's just a matter of time before she notices. We NEVER say anything so its going to be of her own little brain when it happens. I hope she's as open minded as your son is.

Jill said...

umm I will try to post.. now while I have about 5 minutes

Faye said...

Where I grew up in the Appalachian mountains there were only a few black families. The desegregation order came down when I was in the 7th grade. One lone little boy came into our class. Often think about him when race rears its ugly head. He must have been a lonely little boy. As an adult I had the experience of living in a country where I was the minority. That has shaped my attitudes about the value of diversity in all its forms--race, religion, culture.

After watching "The Help" I came away thinking that southern whites of the priviledged class behaved very badly with their superior attitudes and exclusion of all but their own "class."

Karmyn R said...

I have the book sitting on my dresser. I need to start it - I told my mom I'd give it to her when I was done and I'm seeing her in 2 weeks.

And thinking of Fun Monday - I was going through my posts from 2007 and came across the very first Fun Monday...(but we just called it a "grand idea" then). I guess I should have participated this week.

joanygee said...

Add me too please...I'll need a while to think

Pamela said...

Looking forward to reading it.
I don't recall much problem with racism growing up -- maybe because our family was kind of isolated and I was very naive.

Daddy did tell me about their farm in Missouri -- and how the help had to eat in the kitchen. He didn't agree with that. Thats the only mention i rememnber. He was born in 1900, so he really did live through the era.

chrisb said...

I haven't seen this film or read the book but reading this makes me think I should.

I rarely go to the cinema and the last film I saw was not thought provoking (or was it!) so don't think I can join in this week. If I come up with anything I'll let you know.