Opinion: The maid and the mammy: Why I’ll grin and bear it
Hattie McDaniel was the first black actress to win an Academy Award for her role as "Mammy" in Gone With the Wind. Seven decades later Octavia Spencer is nominated for her role as a maid.
February 25th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Opinion: The maid and the mammy: Why I’ll grin and bear it

Editor’s Note: Sheryl Lee Ralph is a Tony nominated actress and Independent Spirit Award winner for best supporting actress. Her new book "Redefining DIVA" is published by Simon & Schuster will be available March 13.

By Sheryl Lee Ralph, Special to CNN

(CNN) – This year, the Academy Awards had my attention because of the 1960s coming of age film "The Help."

As thrilled as I am about Octavia Spencer winning an Oscar, and Viola Davis being nominated for best actress, I am not thrilled about the roles they played.

That’s right:  I am sick and tired of the maid, mammy, and big mama on the couch.

The movie upset me. It wasn’t about 'the help", it was a young white woman’s coming of age story and “the help” helped her get out of the south leaving the women who risked everything for her “freedom,” in the bondage of racism, sexism and exploitation.

My nerves were worked! I’d seen this story before. White girl makes good and leaves her mammy behind.

Seventy-two years ago, Miss Hattie McDaniel graced the Oscar stage and became the first Negro, as we were called back then, to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress with her portrayal of Mammy, Scarlett O' Hara's house slave and second mother in “Gone with the Wind.” Mammy was another wonderful character; a woman who knew what was right and refused to let her white charge do wrong.

Hollywood loves a good black maid.

See Octavia Spencer's acceptance speech

I cannot tell you how happy I am to see the talent of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer celebrated.

I remember when Octavia did one of her first TV performances with us on the set of "Moesha." She was wonderful then with that trademark sassy, and just watching Viola come into her own fashion self has been delightful.

Viola Davis: I've really stepped into who I am

Sunday night, Oscar night, the maid once again went home with the gold.

I will float on the cloud of her win knowing that I am more than a maid, and with this victory, maybe I am  closer to showing all the different sides of me as a black woman and actress.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Editor's Note: This piece has been updated to reflect Oscar news.

Posted by
Filed under: Black in America • Discrimination • History • Pop culture • Race • What we think • Women
soundoff (456 Responses)
  1. Stickinwithit

    I saw the movie at the suggestion of someone telling me "how great it was" and the only thing I learned was that some white people were really ignorant. I mean you allow a person to handle the food you eat and touch and wash your kids, but they were not allowed to use the toilet. I had no idea people were that ignorant and people of colour had to endure this type of treatment. It made me sad because I feel we have not gone too far from this era of treatment – rather than go to an outdoor toilet – YOU NOW JUST DON'T HAVE A HOME OR JOB – hence you are already outside.

    February 26, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wayne

    Agree with Ms. Ralph . . . loved Moesha

    February 26, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. terri

    I'm confused. It seems like the writer of this article wants to forget history and pretend that slavery never existed. Imagine telling that to the Jews. I.e. Let's forget the holocaust ever happened because it unpleasant and not reflective of our current reality. My conclusion is – No matter what you do in life, someone will be unhappy about it.

    February 26, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      Imagine, 70 years after the genocide of the Jews–insisting on ONLY seeing them as victims or cariacatured con men as they were depicted years ago–and imagine that after insisting on them only playing those roles–imagine other roles being minimal and only giving out awards when they played to the stereotypes–then imagine needing to malign them for anything other than being victims to keep them in their place–NOW you begin to get the picture.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
      • tx educator

        Isn't all of Hollywood a caricature of reality? I mean, come on...you really think Hollywood is reality? I'm so tired of people criticizing the success of others simply because it doesn't fit T H E I R definition of success. This article speaks to so much more emotional baggage than the actual movie itself. I love how bl@ck people say "success by one of us is a success for all of us" but the reverse doesn't apply: "that killing, that inm@te, those pants around the ankles, those gold teeth, that unemployment, that vi0lence, those dr-gs...well, that's not us and we're distancing ourselves from it as much as possible". That's some screwed up mental perspective, which I S a reality of the bl@ck community and why an otherwise intelligent journalist would write stup1d articles like this one

        February 26, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  4. xrk9854

    I guess the author of the article has forgotten about Sidney Poitier, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington and others who have also won Oscars?


    February 26, 2012 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
    • ltvirginia

      sidney poitier won for going to dinner with a white woman, halle berry got freaky with a racist white man, and denzel washington was a crooked cop. other than being a maid, this is what wins a black actor an oscar. talk about stereo-types!!!!!!!! boooooooooooooo...

      February 26, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Turtledove67

    I believe that many of the hard feelings around a movie such as The Help stem from shame about the place of Black women in history. I believe that Ms. Ralph’s article demonstrates this feeling of shame. Yes Black women were mistreated as maids (no other choice) and sometimes were beaten and raped. Yet that is our history and we would not be here if not for those women who came before us. I can relate to the book and movie because my parents grew up in the Jim Crow south but my wealthy and Black aunt and uncle employed a Black live-in maid in uniform thru the 80’s.
    A few things came to mind from reading the book and seeing the movie that I believe are important. First, Viola Davis deserves the Oscar because she gave the character Abilene, who might otherwise been part of the wallpaper, depth, dignity, and spirit that was palpable. Second, if Blacks do not want to see our stories from a White perspective then we have to take initiative to write the stories (the ugly ones too) ourselves and then bang on Hollywood doors until the films get made. Many of us have living relatives who faced and lived thru a racist history and some of us have experienced racism/discrimination first hand too. Third, white folks must stop asking Blacks to forget the past so that Whites can feel better. Black history is your history too and you have to own your place (or that of your ancestors in it). My mother who grew up in the Jim Crow south recounts the story of her being a new mother heading from the Carolinas to Maine to meet my Dad who was in the Air force. She had to wait in the filthy bug infested basement of the station with a new born in tow while whites got to wait in a cool clean waiting room with snack bar and amenities. This is a small injustice but I can only imagine the other injustices she faced. Movies like the Help illuminate a time and place from which we have transcended. I gather strength from knowing that we have come a long way since those times but also know we have more work to do as a people and a society around issues of race, class, and gender.

    February 26, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • tx educator

      If past conditions for bl@ck women were good, would they be working so hard to improve their status and change their futures? No, they'd belong to one of the traditionally privileged classes who didn't have to struggle as hard and pick themselves up by their boot straps. Can't have it both ways: either you are who are "in spite" of conditions or "because of" conditions. Can't be stronger as a a result of adversity and try to ignore that adversity ever happened.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kpolar

    Take notice, people that even though Viola and Octavia stand a good chance of winning for their roles as maids, the movie itself won't see the light reflecting off of an Oscar. The reason: Hollywood and the Academies love to reward roles that are complete stereotypes with Black actors and actresses in them (and not just the maid/mammy roles of The Help, but Halle's Monster Ball, Denzel's Training Day, Monique's Precious & Cuba's Jerry Maguire), just not the movies themselves that they were in. And unless a change is made in Hollywood and something is done about this farce and travesty, things will never get better for anyone, regardless of whether they're already famous or trying to break in.

    February 26, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Turtledove67

      I have to disagree with some of your comments. Sydney Poitier won an Oscar way back in the day for playing a positive role (1963 Lilies of the Field). Morgan Freeman won too for a positive role. But I think that people of color ( Black, Asian, Latin, Native American) have to own their histories and write about the good and the bad things that happened.WE should be allowed to do that with out being condemned. The Color Purple is a great example. Whoopi Goldberg and Alice Walker were given a public flogging for that work by the Black community. Yet it was a reasonable but harsh portrayal of how black women were treated back then. The newer genre of Black cinema seems to revolve around Tyler Perry. I have to say I have not gotten thru a single movie of his. The portrayal of older black men as shiftless and perverted. The main character of Madea as a mustache wearing loud-mouthed angry black woman with sacks of potatoes in her rump. Ugh. makes my stomach turn. The elders in my family are dignified and refined and sources of great knowledge. so I can not relate or appreciate his work. He has great resources and a movie studio to boot why not produce a more even/intelligent view of the black experience?

      I believe there are many great stories to be told about the black experience in America. I hope we see a wider variety in the future.

      February 26, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Stickinwithit

      Kpolar you are 100% right – however, people are happy that people of colour are getting recognition that they remove themselves from the cause and efforts and ignorance continues to dominate.

      February 26, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
    • tx educator

      whatever happened to "there are no small roles, only small actors"? They're not winning awards for their R O L E S but their acting abilities, regardless of the role itself. I think it speaks to the amazing talent of Spencer to be able to climb into a role, regardless of what it is, and own it, make it genuine, make the audience feel her position and passion. Again, the author of this CNN blurb obviously likes criticizing other women of color simply because their success doesn't match her definition of success and reeks of "angry" "bl@ck" "woman" mentality

      February 26, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. TJ Gibson

    Apparently, Miss Ralph, you didn't read the book. This book was not solely about the coming of age of a young, white woman, but had a point of view of three different voices. You just have to stretch your mind and imagination more and get past the fact that there are African American women in the role of maids. Should history just be ignored? This is what happened back in the time frame and setting this book was set it. Frankly, you should praise the author for shining a bright and luminous light on the fact that African American women worked hard, had morals and were intelligent in a time and place that wasn't very kind to them. I personally see it as that and am surprised that you, as an African American woman yourself, don't.

    February 26, 2012 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Stickinwithit

      TJGibson, Ms. Ralph is way past your thinking – it's been done and redone we already knew the role and we already know that BLACK AMERICANS are intelligent and have morals – however, the role or "maid" is still largely the same. It has another name and it been 60+ years. Ms. Ralph brings up a lot of good points "why this movie" and why does it take this book to bring awareness to something that happened and still is. – read between her lines – very little has changed even if you work in an office "majority of minority still have their place" – luckily they can use the toilets.

      February 26, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. avaxcontrol

    This seems to be a typical African American reaction to The Help and I'm not quite sure why. Every opinion piece I've read is "I hate that they're nominated for playing maids/mammies!" It's an unfortunate fact that for more than half of the 20th century, a positions as maids were some of the few job opportunities available to women of color. Both of these actresses portrayed strong, nuanced women, not caricatures, and decrying the fact that they're nominated for playing maids downplays their incredible artistic achievements. These characters could have been stereotypes, but thanks to strong performances, they weren't. That's worth honoring.

    February 26, 2012 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    It must be hard for the author to go through life with a perpetual chip on her shoulder.

    February 26, 2012 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Carolinelew

    Loved it! The book and the movie were excellent. As far as race is concerned I think it was a "draw" between the black and the white race in the book and the movie.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Angie

    What has this world come too?? Thats how things were back then. She couldn't take them even if she wanted too!! Wake up child, you weren't even alive to comment about such things. Shame on you for parading yourself around like some proud black woman with no one to thank. It was women like that who helped get you where you are today. Hard working women, who knew the value of a dollar and how to treat people. I bet you never cleaned a toilet your whole life. Shame on you for devaluing those women. Being a maid and care provider is a noble job and they were happy doing it most of the time. My mother and my grandmother cleaned houses so are they worth less?? I hope you have trouble sleeping at night....shame...

    February 26, 2012 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Ces


      February 26, 2012 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
    • tx educator


      February 26, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. chris

    Pathetic! another 'victim' of race dynamics in the US! Some people simply can't hide their disdain towards other races and project their own racist thoughts onto people and situations where race is not much of an issue. When I – a white dude – see a black person, I admit that I do stereotype..... I immediately think of people like you, who only view themselves from a racial point-of-view, as a victim of white society. You know, à la Bill Cosby, who wins the prize in that regard. I don't read articles like yours about 'black films' where the black dude is hip and the white man is a shop-at-the-Gap moron with the mean 'politician-type' father! Get over it! you are black, I am white, that's where our differences should stop! you are no more a victim of slavery and racism than I am a plantation owner. Your dwelling on an issue like this is what keeps us apart! Celebrate the men and women who did a great job in film and triumphed! There is no room for negativity like yours here!

    February 26, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Maddie

    The writer's attempt at inflicting "white guilt" is not working.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kiki

    It's obvious that the writer didn't read the book. Her "leaving" the black folk behind was not a decision she made easily-or alone. Blaming black/white relations is kinda what the whole movie was about. Were they supposed to hire white people to fill the roles? To say you're only getting an Oscar for playing a lowly measly maid is beyond insulting. 1. Maids are people too. 2. If they win the Oscar, it will be because they played it really well. As a Native/Canadian if you want to see some racist stereotypes...how many Natives are portrayed as drunks? How many Chinese are bad drivers. How many Jewish mothers are controlling? The entire industry YOU signed up for is racist.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Tired White Dude

    Thank you Ms. ralph,
    As a white person, I am offended as constantly being portrayed as the arrogant, guilt struck white do-gooder who assumes no black person could ever uplift themselves on their own terms. We see it in period films like THE HELP, we see it in the inner city school genre "Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, Music of the Heart". It is tiresome. I do not assume anyone;s life is disadvantaged simply because they are black and sure as shinola don't assume I have some divine blessing to fix it all for you.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  16. henrysmithz

    Expand your mind and expand your knowledge. There are still jobs out there. Go after a degree in the field of your choice and on demand. Find your field at High Speed Universities websites to know which are on demand and suitable for you.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  17. boog

    This is why this country is crashing.......lets fight each other while the politicians rob us blind. a house divided cannot stand, and this house is crumbling.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  18. wherefore

    White women have won for all sorts of roles, and black women have won for all sorts of roles. It's getting to the point where if a minority plays, or god forbids, WINS, for anything other than portraying a counter-stereotypical wealthy scientist, the whole community will get up in arms. It's acting fols, and movies imitate all sorts of different realities – in some realities, maids are black, and in some realities, maids are white.

    February 26, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  19. Mercyme

    You sure do seem out of sorts over a role your "sisters decided to take. No one held a gun to their heads and "made" them take that role.

    February 26, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  20. Alright already

    Sheryl Lee Ralph - could your editorial simply amount to sour grapes? The film's presentation of 1960s America was on target. History is never pretty.

    February 26, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Gee

      Mrs. Ralph I was hurt a little by your comments. You were once a favorite actress of mind until I witnessed an event you started. "DIVA" your 25th celebration. You attended our church to sell tickets to your show but ran across the lady that perform at the very first show. You appeared to be excited about seeing her and extened an invitation of participation. She andd the congregation was excited we purchased tickets and came in her support. Ny friends was humiliated because she was overlooked, her feelings were very hurt. I sent several messages by people too you and thought I saw a note passed to you on stage. Anyway when the piantist came out who played on that first night, she started to get up but sat down immediately after the wonderful introduction you gave did not include her. My friend open the show because no one wanted to be the first. She brought the house down. I hope you see this....ine more thing never got the information about the one woman show, I gave you the lap or prayer scarf for the little church lady for your show. People play the roles offered, your role on Designing Women did not lift the black women into the light. Go back in history, see how loud, head rolling and crazy talking you did. So I'm sure we will see you again when you need support from the community. Yes we just love those 15/20 minutes trips actress, actors, and politicians made in their rounds too the churches. Bless you. P.S. I was a maid! I thought it was your body of work not one particular role.

      February 26, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  21. Yvonne

    IIt is simplistic to use the "race" card here. Clearly Ms. Ralph's memory is faulty.....Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg and Jenifer Hudsonwon Oscars and they did not play the part of maids. Playing the part of a maid does not make you a maid...further, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are actresses, the parts may have been challenging, what better way to prove your mettle. If these parts were given to white actresses, made to look black, there would have been an uproar about not using black actress. The story is about a period in the history of the country,you cannot negate that it did not happen. Ms. Ralph, if you were given the opportunity to play one of these parts, would you have declined?

    February 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  22. NIta

    Regardless of why they should win, and I hope they will, I congratulate and thank these wonderful actresses. You may not like this movie and may believe it's really a white woman's story, but at least for me it was an eye opener to some of the little indignities that these women faced with such grace and humor. I was born in 1962 as a late in life baby to a 48 year old Alabama Southern Belle Mother who lived the exact life of the white women in this film with the bridge parties and women's clubs. Our "help" until we moved to the country when I was 8 was "Willie Mae". She was a wonderful woman of tiny stature, endless strength, firm morals and impish humor much like a melding of the best characteristics of the "Help" portrayed in the film. Until I saw this movie, my eyes never saw any racism against her and my ears never heard any. My Daddy shared the fish he caught and the vegetables he grew with her and her family. He gave her a ride home when the weather was bad or the bus was late. My Mother never spoke in any way crossly toward Willie Mae or forced her into another bathroom or separate dishes or the like. Yet the one thing that struck me when I watched this movie was the realization that I didn't have the first clue what Willie Mae's last name was and now that everyone who might know is dead, I will never know. Not only that, but there was absolutely no adult female I was acquainted with that I would dare call by her given name alone aside from my two adult sisters-in-law in their early 20's. Everyone else was Mrs. Smith or at least Miss Elizabeth or Mrs. Anne. My Mother would have tanned my hide if I as a child had called any white woman of Willie Mae's age (I'm guessing around 50 at the time) by her first name. Why was Willie Mae not afforded the courtesy of a child calling her Mrs. ???. It's how it was but she deserved the honor and respect none the less and I hope wherever she is now that she knows I would call her by it today if I could.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shayna

      Thank you for your insight. The women in this film taught you a lesson, well learned at any age. For that alone, and hopefully many more people just like you, they deserve the Oscar.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marge

      One thing different here with Willie Mae was the intimancy. She was close to the family so she was called by her first name. When I was growing up in the 40's and 50's (and my family came from Virginia) we called an adult white or black Mr. or Mrs. if they were unknown. Those who we knew we called by their first name. My aunt was the cook for her husband who was the supervisor of a farm. When lunch was prepared and the men came in to eat. They sat down to the table all together no one even noticed or made a comment about the seating. I know this because my mother was a young girl and she helped serve. I think a lot of farms and people were like that. I think those that discriminate against a person of another race is are just that way and nothing will change them. They think of themselves as inferior and have to have someone to "pick on" to bolster that feeling of being inferior. that's why we have bullies. they really think other people are better than they are so they have to bully smaller people around to pretend they are somebody.

      February 26, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Marva

        The family did not call Willie Mae by her first name because of intimacy. If you believe that, you are very naive. If that were the case, Willie Mae would have called the white adults by their christian name. The fact that a white girl, including her parents, didn't know the maid's last time was very typical. The maid was the family's servant. There was no equality between employer and employee.

        February 26, 2012 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  23. VoiceOfReason

    The Help will win Oscars galore...
    and none of the black folks will know because they're all rioting at Foot Locker waiting for the newest pair of Nikes

    February 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • VoiceOfReason

      Oh yeah, I forgot...that's the whie man's fault too!

      February 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevleeman

      HOw long are you going to hold an entire race of people responsible for the actions of a few. I guess you have never been to or seen a black Friday sale. lucky for you that most Black's don't believe that all Whites are as stupid as you are.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • tx educator

        Isn't that what the author of this article is doing: holding the entire race accountable for the actions of the few? I mean, she clearly states that successes for bl@cks, and especially bl@ck women, she claims as her own and for the whole bl@ck body of people.....but then the opposite isn't true? the failings of the few can't be claimed by the entirety? irrational logic.....

        February 26, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Suzy258

      Yes because the media has shown footage of people buying shoes your ignorant self assumes that's all black people do right? Real 1960's of you to say.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  24. KC

    Hattie McDaniel, the first black Oscar winner, once said she would rather play a maid than be one - she got paid better for acting.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Jackie Rawlings

    Sad how many don't realize the history of life. Hattie was not allowed at the Oscars because of discrimination. Clark Gable used his guest pass and took Hattie and shocked Hollywood and the USA. Octavia just brought to like how far we came in 1960. The real person who showed change was Emma Stone and she should have been nominated. With so much hurtful comments few realize today in Virginia 300 people marched to celebrite the Civil War and want the South Confederate to rise again. The movie the Help is a story many baby boomers lived and still forgave.

    February 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sylmay

      With respect, if you are going to refer to history you need to get it right. Hattie was able to attend the awards although she had to sit in segregated seating. She gave a hart felt and gracious acceptance speech that can be viewed on You Tube.
      However, she was not allowed to go to the premier of Gone With The Wind at the Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta Georgia because of segregation laws in the south at the time in 1939. She was not allowed despite the efforts of the movie's producer, David O. Selznick. Clark Gable threatened to boycott the premier unless Hattie was allowed to attend. Hattie herself convinced Clark Gable to attend anyway. She was truly a classy woman. In her acceptance speech, she expressed her hope that she would always be a credit to her race. You were a credit to your race Hattie, the human race!

      February 26, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • C J

      Hey...cut Virginia a break. There are 8,096,604 people there...statistically there should be more than 300 who are completely braindead. Don't hold it against the rest of the state.

      February 26, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  26. Anita B.

    Thank you ladies for reminding America....both black and white...Good job...Best of Luck..

    February 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Let's Be Politically Correct Losers, Its Better than Winning

    I always had a soft spot for Rochester on the Jack Benny Show. The way he was always complaining about how cheap "Mista Benny" was.

    February 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neil

      Sheryl, I think you need to come down off your high horse. These two women took roles that were offered to them and as actresses that wanted to work they took them... Didn't you play a waitress when you started..a form of "help"? How dare you do that, you bring blacks down doing that

      February 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tasha

      Let me preface this by saying that I am a young educated Black woman. It doesn't matter what your skin color is or what your occupation is, none of that should define who you are as a person. It is true, I feel that sometimes as a race, we use racism and slavery as a crutch, in order not try as hard as we should. There was a time that we were not afforded the same oppurtunities as whites but that time is gone, We need to take a deep breath and let it go. We can't forget our past but we SHOULD not let it dictate our futures. View it with a sense of pride in how far we have come in a relative short time. Let us not take ourselves SO seriously but remember that the only race that matters is the human race. We all bleed, we all love, we all love to watch a good movie. If you liked the movie great, but if you didn't that's okay too. But there is no need to start a race war because two talented actresses chose to portray a role that they felt spoke to them. Life is ugly sometimes..it's up to us to find the beauty in it.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • lori

        Your response is one of the most well written statements I have ever read. I was born in Jackson, raised a Mississippian, and feel blessed to have felt the love of the "help" my parents hired and paid. We protected each other just like family. The script has a lot deeper meaning than initially is seen. Southerners did not create discrimination, but the South was certainly the hot bed of it for years in our American history. Shameful, yes, but more shameful for those who continually point to the past without participating in writing a better today and tomorrow. Thank you again for your insightful comments.

        February 26, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  28. VoiceOfReason

    Sam Jackson should have gotten an Oscar in "Juice".
    Now THATS historical reality!!

    February 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  29. kristyc3

    Maybe the government should create an affirmative action board for the Oscars

    February 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • gabbykitty


      February 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kris


        February 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevleeman

      If they created one for being stupid you would be the winner, hands down.

      February 26, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Binky

        Guess you just don't recognize sarcasm.

        February 26, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Jammaster

        Good point. His stupidity was confirmed when he tried to pass it off as sarcasm. Internet dictionaries are free.

        February 26, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  30. Let's Be Politically Correct Losers, Its Better than Winning

    Remember the black cook / rail car steward / butler in the Three Stooges episodes who would get that wide-eyed, terrified look on his face and his hair would stick straight out when he thought he saw a ghost (bird flying around with a sheet over it). I think he should have got an oscar too!

    February 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Linda

    It is history...and reality...do we approve? No....but no one alive on earth now, had anything to do with slavery etc...I am sooo tired of African Americans whining about this. It happened...it's OVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • rjthomas

      Linda, ill bet the "N" word comes out of your mouth a lot , doesn't it?

      February 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        I'm willing to wager it comes out of your mouth more.

        But at the same time, it is just a word. How someone says the word, or any word for that matter, changes the context of the word.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Eroissyfr

        i love it when the truth is spoken but since it doesn't fit a blacks definition of 'truth' you label it racist...Cracks me up dude.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • abtime

        Sharky, there's only one way the N- word can ever come out of anybody's mouth and that is "wrong."

        February 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Norkio

        I hear it more from blacks than I do whites. What does that say? I'm sorry but when portraying a moment in history, you can't have a black play Abraham Lincoln any more than a white play Mammy. I'm pretty sure Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique weren't a maid or a mammy in Precious and both were Oscar nominated and Mo'Nique won. But I guess that is so 2010 now everyone wants to forget it.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        Incorrect. Let me put it this way, I am female, I have heard the term b**ch and c**t said in two different ways. How the words are said defines the context.

        Even terming it the "N word" I mean really, it is still giving it too much power.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jammaster

        Snarky, you still don't get it.I have seen people of several races scramble to try to find and acceptable reason to use this word This word is NEVER acceptable. I have never, ever heard this word used by someone who was not ignorant. Blacks who use this word hate them selves.others who use this word also hate themselves but are turning their self hate outward.

        Not a week passes when I don't read someone whining "Blacks use this word all the time. Why can't I use it too? It's a double standard!"

        I simply shake my head. Simply amazed that someone so stupid could obtain Internet access.

        The hatred that many in America have for Blacks runs deep.very deep. It runs so deep that it is difficult to have a rational discussion about it. Members of other ethnic groups often observe that they too encounter bigotry but that the racism against Blacks runs much deeper. Some are quick to justify their racism by pointing out Black criminals. This is as silly as discriminating against Italians because you watched an episode of "The Sopranos". Or worse yet, referring to Italians by the phrases you hear on "Jersey Shore" (I know that some genius wiliest to refute this by claiming "Ah don't watch tee vee". But my point is still valid).

        Why can't we just love one another?

        Not a week passes when I don't hear the argument "Blacks use this would why can't we?it's a double stqndard

        February 26, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay B

      Linda, no one is telling Jewish people to get over the Holocaust. You are probably one of the White Americans that starts conversations about raciscm with "I have black friends" Get a life, it's not over Black people are still living lives taht directly result from slavery and the oppression of you and your great great grandfather.

      February 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Eroissyfr

        You are only oppressed if you allow it to happen. Stop whining about stuff and depending on the government to provide you with extras...Get the education, get the jobs, make something of yourself and thinking you are owed. THAT Is what a lot of Americans, of ALL colors, are sick and tired of.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • abtime

        Eroissyfr you have a racist mentality and that's what all people hate; even the racist, bigotted thinkers themselves. Sad thing is it's so natural to them they don't even know how offensive they really are. Take you, for example, you had no dream that you fit that mold.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Terri

        It is getting a bit old. Im white and spent my childhood poor and without much opportunity. Should I blame it all on the puritans or perhaps the folks in old england who drove my ansestors to leave way back when...Native Americans had/have it way worse and cry way less...have you ever been to Africa? Maybe its time to stop complaining/blaming the past all OUR ansestors for the mistakes they made and start celebrating the horrible price they paid that led to YOU being in a free society that while not perfect offers a damn site more opportunity than the lands those people came from....you do realize that slavery still happens today and they are not all black. What happened/ happens is a shame but I dont owe anyone for the actions of people who lived then...what I do "owe" is to watch my own actions, what I teach my children and to try hard not to let the behaivors and actions of some persuade me into buying into stupid steriotypes...about anyone.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        So if white people have black friends it is racist, and if white people do not have black friends it is racist. Sheesh cannot win either way.

        Well guess what for you, 1) millions of Jews died in the Holocaust, 2) the Holocaust was during World War II back in the 30's-40's, 3) Slavery has been happening since the BC time period and ALL races have been enslaved, not just black people, and 4) slavery in the US ended in the 1860's.

        Black people do not hold a monopoly on slavery, never did.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        So then taking your comment into consideration, by your defining terms Bill Cosby is racist.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jammaster

        Not just from slavery times. Racism is very alive and well today. The civil war and slavery ended almost 150 years ago yet Blacks only received the right to vote in my lifetime. But they were given these rights in the 1860's.however bigots refused to obey this law. It's not slavery that blacks are upset about, but the fact that they still have to deal with an unreasonable amount of racism everyday.in employment, housing, healthcare, from the cradle to the grave. Even immigrants quickly assume that they are better than Blacks.When whites feel they are discriminated against they. QUICKLY SUE. Yet Blacks are told to "get over it" or " no one can discriminate against you unless you let them" This is BS in it's purest form.

        It's bigots and racists who never got over slavery. They still try to treat Blacks as 2nd class citizens.even Blacks with Phd,s and MBAs encounter racism. They fight it with education,intelligence and hard work. But they don't just tolerate it.

        February 26, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • abtime

      You seem too intense over this. This is not slavery time that's being portrayed here. This is the 1950's and 60's and even 70's America. People fought, burned and died in the streets to get out from under this insanity. So all your exclamations and frustrations over this Author's expressions notwithstanding, people will have their say and you can go somewhere and lie down.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      You had better tell the jewish folks that the Holocaust is over as well so that they can shut up too. Tell Texas to forget about the Alamo. Lets forget about the American Revolution while were at it because no none of those things matter either...

      February 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • xzc

      They good a basketball and being maids. Now they need to work on IQ and they'll have it made.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jammaster

        Xzc, Thank you for your shining example of the bigotry and ignorance Blacks encounter on a daily basis. The Internet has provided low lifes with self esteem issues an opportunity to vent in (falsely) assumed anonymity.

        It also shows that they also get great DSL in trailer parks.

        February 26, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Aja

      Linda - you are correct in the fact that it happened. But you are wrong in thinking that African Americans are going to just get over it. You're obviously not African American because you wouldn't have this view to begin with. You have no idea nor will you ever know what it feels like to be an African American in this world today. We still suffer from slavery, racism and segregation to this day. Yes those things are all over, but the after affects are not. We suffer every day more than you can imagine. We suffer in the work place, out and about shopping, eating etc. No, definitely not to the same degree as before... but albeit... we suffer. So for you say what you said, you are disrespecting and putting down African Americans. You're choosing not to recognize our feeling by saying "It happened.... It's over." I take offense to that. You need to read our history and speak to some African Americans about what it means to be black in American today.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        Excuse me? You still suffer from slavery? EXCUSE ME!!!

        Are black people racist? Do black people segregate themselves? YES and YES.

        And for black people to even use the term African American is actually an insult to people that ARE truly African.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Aja

        Are white people racist? Do white people segrate themselves? YES and YES... So, What's your point?
        You obviously missed my whole stance. Which is why you will NEVER understand what it means to be black in America.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevleeman

      Sure, someone will come by tonight to take and sell your children Linda, oh and will rape your daughter as a teen. Get over it. hey Linda why don't you tell the Jews to get over it?

      February 26, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  32. artfuldodger552

    what about Halle Berry's Oscar?

    February 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • kristyc3

      That's exactly what I was thinking

      February 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Eroissyfr

        Blacks don't think she is black enough so she doesn't count. The biggest racists on the planet are blacks. They are more racist to each other than anyone else could be.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • abtime

      It was for a role that was worst than a maid.

      February 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        And how is it worse than a maid?

        February 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jammaster

        Not sure if I would consider it worst, but it was a very disurbing movie

        On the other hand, many people take great efforts to try to convince others that racism against Blacks, isn't so bad. In college I had many white roommates. They all observed first hand how I was the one who was usually stopped by the police and searched for no reason. When we went to bars I was usually the one who was kicked out. One of my room ate was a graduate assistant in the English department and it was he that told me that my english papers were graded much harsher than white students.

        On many occasions I was told by my roomates, "Don't be offended but I am so glad that I am not Black. People hassle you all the time, for no reason"

        So when you try to convince people of any color or gender to "get over" the discrimination they face,you sound like a fool who is only contributing to the problem. Would you tell a woman who has been repeatedly raped by different men on different days to "get over it"? Or that it was her own fault because someother woman wore a short skirt? She would either be driven crazy or would think that you were an insensitive fool

        February 26, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  33. Get Over Yourself

    Please, Sheryl, stop your whining. Please.

    February 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  34. historybuff

    What about the color purple? Wonder what this author has to say about that? Or has anyone ever heard of it?

    February 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • BearIt&NotGrin

      No Oscars for The Color Purple - no maids or other compromising roles.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        Sophia was made a maid and beaten.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      That is one of my all time favorite dramas ever. The horrible thing about that is the fact the movie was robbed. It received 11 Oscar nominations and not one single win.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • BearIt&NotGrin

      Great movie - still didn't win any Oscars.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • historybuff

        may Oprah shouldn't have taken the roll?

        February 25, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • abtime

      The movie, "The Color Purple" suffered the same fate the real people referenced in the movie "The Help" suffered: racism and bigotry. The author is speaking to all of this as she expresses her frustration, in my opinion. How often has a single movie received so many nominations and failed to win a single one?

      February 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        Your comment really doesn't work.

        The movie The Turning Point form 1977 also received 11 nominations for the Oscars and never won a thing. Just like The Color Purple.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mattmchugh

        "The Color Purple" is actually not a very good movie. It's full of the clunky, overwrought sentimentality characteristic of Steven Spielberg before he matured. There may be elements of it - some themes and performances - that resonate with some audiences, but overall, it's not a great cinematic work. That's my opinion... but it has plenty of support from the filmmaking establishment.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        I beg to differ. Sure, it doe snot live up to the level of the book, no movie does, and sure the movie steered away from certain elements, but given what all the characters went through, of course there is going to be sentimental notions tied in. Impossible not to. It had a richness to it, where time gives strength, where friendships are important, where when you do not have much, you make do with what you have, and you learn to keep your chin up. I thought it was a gorgeous movie that didn't really hold back too much.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Turtledove67

        The Joy Luck Club based on Amy Tan's book was a phenomenal story about Chinese American women and their relationships with their mothers. It was a great story with a great cast. Got overlooked completely. Read the book and see the movie. They both tell a wonderful story about the Asian experience in America.

        February 26, 2012 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  35. SKyle

    Maybe what we need is talented black writers writing amazing roles for black actors. This would fix them problem right up.

    February 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  36. abtime

    This movie is timely and welcomed for its historical value. Many young women today of both races have no knowledge of this time in America's history, though it is an immediate part of their personal histories. The details depict the general conditions under which both Black and White women lived. Today's world of young women cannot phathom such an existence, albeit mildly depicted. There is still a schism between the two races of women and years from now when it is easily written and potrayed on the screen the same will be said and felt then, as is being said and felt now because the more things change the more they remain the same.

    February 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • BearIt&NotGrin

      Timely?! Its Black History Month and this travesty wins Best Oscar everything? Give me a break. Its a slap in the face to every black American woman and it is intentional.

      Stop the lies and inferiority complexes.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        I am willing to bet you never saw the movie.

        You do realize the Oscars are based on ACTING not skin color, right.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • historybuff

        I'm white, 70 years old and we always had a white maid? So what does that make me? I was taught to respect everyone, listen to politely, and then respond. I had a black employee complain about me because I love watermelon and fried chicken??? She said I was a racist? Yet I was always making sure she was sent to any course for work that she said would enhance her chance for advancement? So was I on the side of the black or whites? I hired an African and relly enjoyed his company, oh, he was black also. As today there are many white Africans!! But are they REALLY Africans?????

        February 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • abtime

        The "inferiority complex" is to accept 28/29 days out of a year as being representative of "time to express one's history." Black history, by superior thinkers, is celebrated and expressed 24/7, 365 days a year. That being established negates the "timing" of this award (if it's given) as being done "intentionally to black women" as a "slap in the face." The paradoxical "Black History Month" born out of the times that gave rise to the movie "The Help." The "timing" I reference, is the time of the "Hip Hop Generation" who suffer from lack of knowledge of their history because none has been provided for them through the formal and informal education system. This movie helps fill that void.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        I am actually willing to bet you would complain if the movie did NOT win any Oscars. You would still say it is a slap in the face to black women and intentional.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  37. BearIt&NotGrin

    I am so glad someone took the time to spell it out in concise and straight-forward words.

    Thank you, Sheryl, for stating my position on this travesty so succinctly. It is annoying - very annoying.

    February 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Time period movies are annoying? Weird ok then.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  38. CB40

    I said I'm Black, y'all! I said I'm black, y'all! Said I'm blickity-black-black-black-and-I'm-black-yall!

    February 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  39. historybuff

    At some point in time every race, white, black, and yellow has been enslaved. It's history, GET OVER IT. Just be thankful that your ancestor lived long enough to have children, and be thankful that you live in a free country.
    And remember FREEDOM IS NOT FREE....somebody, somewhere, has paid with their life for your freedom. All our ancestors came to America to escape something. Granted, the slaves didn't come willingly, but if you do your research, black people owned black slaves as well as white people. When slavery ended, the indentured servant did not gain anything. They did not get any freedom!!! So what do you say about the African selling their own people. I believe someone said something about "man's inhumanity to man!"

    I think it would be better to concentrate on humanity, kindness, and how to at least be civil to one another.

    Look at all the gangs and crime we have in America. Gangs are all colors, and they are cruel and mean. There are good people of every color. What color was the good samaritan?

    February 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • abtime


      February 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • historybuff

        Wonder how he got the roll? I believe the original Egyptians were black.....probably most people started out black, "Out of Africa"? just a few thousands of years ago......moved north.....

        February 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • EvilD

        @historybuff. The original Egyptians were NOT black. There was a dynasty of Nubian Pharaohs, which was something like 18 out of the 220+ recorded rulers. Also, the we were "all black" maybe 50-100 thousand years ago. Migration to Northern Europe and admixture with lighter featured Neanderthals (who had already been there) caused a lightening of skin to absorb more Vitamin D.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • gabbykitty

        Total ignorance of anthropology! The first humans did not start out all black. Egyptians and Arabs (countries of North Africa) are one of the Caucasian race types: Mediterranean Caucasian. Greeks, Italians and Spaniards are also Mediterranean Caucasian. Skin color does not determine race.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      You must not be aware that Africans in Africa SOLD Africans to us !!! We didn't run over there and grab them...do all black people want to go back to Africa? Hell no !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  40. American Public

    Racism will never die because black people won't let it.

    February 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • abtime

      Racism is not "talking about it." It's a state of being which allows control and effectual change in the lives of others without their permission. When Blacks attain that status over your life and abuse it then your statement will have validity. For now being on the receiving end of "racism" Blacks can and will continue to talk about it, fight about if, and eradicate it wherever it's found. Wouldn't you, if you encountered "racism?"

      February 25, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        When black people learn the real history of the human species and actually learn that 1) slavery is not their monopoly, and 2) racism is actually a 2 way street, THEN they might stop.

        February 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • multi-racial rainbow

      Every race and ethnicity contributes to racism. I have heard it from all sides. Black people may be more vocal, but Asians are not kind in the least regarding their opinions of white people.

      This is not whining, she is giving her opinion.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Ciel

    She should learn how to spell Shirley's last name. How disrespectful.

    February 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  42. js

    "Play the maid and a black actress is winning the Oscar." I didnt know Halle Berry was the maid in Monsters Ball. Didnt know Whoopi Goldberg was a maid in Ghost. Didnt know Jennifer Hudson was a maid in Dream girls. Didnt know Mo'nique was a maid in Precious. They all won oscars... just sayin

    February 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • js

      by the way to the woman who wrote this article Sheryl Lee Ralph. Your an actress yourself. Played in some movies, done tv, even on some soundtracks. Are you just bitter that you, yourself have never won an oscar, oh wait, you've never even been nominated, thats right!! Stop drinking the hatoraid and move on to something else..

      February 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Let's Be Politically Correct Losers, Its Better than Winning

    I sure wish I had a catch all complaint for everything that does not go the way I want it to in my life. It would be so much easier in life if I did not have to take any responsibility for things not going the way I think they should. I simply say that it is "because I have brown hair", yeah, that's the reason the world does not turn as I think it should...............What BS!

    February 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  44. lizphantom

    I wonder how many people that saw the movie have actually READ the book. The book is far better than the movie. LIKE THIS COMMENT IF YOU ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK FIRST!

    February 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keller

      Most books are far better than the movie done from them.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • JWR1972

        Score for Keller for restating the obvious! That's using your noggin! (Noggin is slang for your head)

        February 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIND

      Ms. Ralph and majority of these comments just goes to show how narrow minded the population of this country is with the infinite amount of information that exist to form a competent analysis of any given subject matter. Why would any thinking person give any credence to a film produced in hollywood purely for entertainment purposes? Majority of people are too lazy to actually research and learn about the relations of different races and how they've coexisted in this nation. Continue to amuse yourselves to death watching the idiot box.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pattysboi

      I've read and loved the book. I'd also LOVE to see "The Help" get Best Picture, as it deserves it.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmb

      that can be said about both books mention in the article the book versions of "the help" and "gone with the wind" are better than the movie versions.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  45. jona

    AL black actors and actresses owe this author something so she will feel better about things. Don't take ANY work unless you pass it by her first. You don't have the right to use your own judgement.. and win Oscars.. you MUST be politically correct at all times and don't take ANY roles that paint black people in a bad light.. the News does that enough.

    February 25, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelsey

      She's just jealous she wasn't offered the role.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  46. jona

    OH God.. .stop your whining. They weren't FORCED into those roles. For crying out loud. Stop the race baiting and the whining and shut up already.

    February 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • JWR1972

      Geez, what a whiner! At least now I know if I see Sheryl Lee Ralph on a billboard or in a movie, I will not see it. She gets categorized with John Travolta and Tom Cruise within my head now.
      These ladies tried out for the role, they were awarded the role and they both were paid (overpaid, as are all actors/ actresses) for their services. Would it have been better if a non-black played the role and had their skin darkened instead? Or would that have given Sheryl more to complain about?

      February 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Keller

        There is something disturbingly incoherent about your comment. Tom Cruise, John Travolta?? Did anything in the movie remind you of the 1978 Volvo you're upset with?

        February 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • JWR1972

        Allow me to slow it down for you, Keller. I forgot to speak as though I am speaking to an 8th grader with an underdeveloped frontal lobe.
        Tom C and John T. are both Scientologists. Look up what that exactly means, because I'm not spelling that one out for you. But let's assume for a moment that you know what Scientology is about and what their goals are. You may, like me, come to a conclusion that they are nutty. Sheryl's article was a bit nutty. So all three of them get categorized as "nutty". With me so far?
        Perhaps I was too abstract for you and for that, I apologize.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Anna

        What would have been better was not making a movie depicting a light hearted version of segregated black maids from the south during that period... Nothing light hearted and witty about it. I wonder if Hollywood would have made a light hearted version of a movie depicting the Holocaust? We all know what would happen then.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kelsey

        What's scary is this girl Anna equating the holocaust to being a black maid! Because systematically wiping out an entire race really is the same thing as having a black maid in the 60s...

        February 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  47. jesse

    yo!! aunt jemima, make me some pancakes or you're fired 🙂

    February 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  48. rinsac

    I understand the concern over stereotyps, but the story of these maids and what people of color had to and still endure needs to be told (and remembered) to a whole new generation. There is no other acceptable way to do it than to have the beautiful amazing actresses who portrayed them in the film play them as they did with honesty and dignity. If some person of another race had done it there would have been an uproar, and it would have been justified. This movie is important as it is in so many ways! Hooray for everyone connected with it\!

    February 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      Unfortunately this watered down version of the realities of Black Women working (a bit closer to slaving) in white homes in the South is not informing anyone of anything. When I watched this movie I was insulted by the laugher from the audience, and wondered how many movies about the Holocaust that I have ever watched in my life that would have generated any degree of humor. There is NOTHING funny about the way Black maids were treated in the American south. As it relates to the women being depicted as maids is very well a historical reality, along with Black women being raped, verbally denigraded, and physically assaulted on a routine basis. If we are going to learn about history via movies lets learn it more accurately. I bet there would be no laughter then.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kelsey

        So according to your point, no movie set during the time of the civil rights movement is allowed to be funny. Alrighty. Also comparing slavery (even though that is not what the movie is about) to the holocaust is offensive and disgusting. Systematically wiping out an entire race is not comparable. Do some research on the horrors of the holocaust, you just may think slaves didn't have it so bad !

        February 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • abtime

      Unfortunately you are 100% correct in your assessment of the need for this movie. There is minimally, one generation here who has no knowledge of what African American women suffered at the hands of white American women just a few decades ago. The fact that current race relations, belie the degradation one woman endured at the hands of another woman, is owing to the degradation all women suffered at the hands of America's disrespect for its woman at that time. The women's movement coupled with the civil right's movement annhilated much of this for all women and brought us to today. The movie speaks the truth, albeit light hearted and tamed.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Deb

    The article raises some good points, but one important fact was glaringly absent. She failed to recognize the Oscar won by Halle Berry last year. And she didn't play a maid in that role.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Let's Be Politically Correct Losers, Its Better than Winning

      Correct! And let's face it, with looks like Halle's, she could not go anywhere and be "ignored". For some, the grass will always seem to be greener on the white side of the fence.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BearIt&NotGrin

      Yeah, but she did play a very compromising role. BillyBob lost Angelina over it it was so graphic and over-the-top.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        *falling over laughing* Seriously?

        So I guess Charlize Theron's win for Monster wasn't playing a compromising role huh.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Read It Saw It

    Wow, I definitely did not look at the ending the way this author did. Yeah, I saw a white girl leave for New York, but I also saw a black maid offered a job she probably would not have dreamed of getting ten years before the story is set.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      Me, too! I saw two women liberated from their own fears and bondage because they told their stories. It was even more apparent in the book (perhaps Ms. Ralph has not read it??) as Minnie leaves her abusive husband to begin a new life. Didn't she see their growth that was so beautifully portrayed in both the novel and the book?

      February 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Wyvern

    Oh for god's sake. All this whining. Poor me. Poor me. What you are saying is Look At Me! Look At Me! We all have our sad stories in our lives. I was born poor white trash. My parents couldn't read or write. We went hungry a lot. My mother was a maid for rich people. I was not popular in school. I grew up and was sent to a war. People spit on me when I came back and hated me. For a long time no one would hire me. My wife divorced me for a long hair and took my kids. My ancestors were indentured servants in another country. I HAVE picked cotton for money in the 50s.

    But I got over it. I'm fine. I don't hate the last three bosses I had just because they were black and I felt I was more qualified than they were. I don't hate my black neighbors or my black relatives.

    Blacks in the USA are 13% of the population. Stop and think. Just 13%. Now divide that again by half for men and women. Now we are down to 6.5% for black women. I am betting there is a higher percentage of black women nominated for an award than 6.5%.

    Yes they played maids. White males play evil white plantation owners beating poor black people. Does that mean I won't go to a movie because I am tired of it always being a white male beating the black person and being depicted as an evil being? Sure I'm tired of seeing it. I wasn't there. I'm not evil. Why are they showing a white male like me doing that!?

    Get over it. If you don't like where you are move. If you don't like the people around you get away from them. If you don't like you....then change. If you can't do that then you are a weak pathetic little person who blames all your problems on other people.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      *Applauding* THANK YOU!!

      February 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • oy

      You don't get it. Even "poor White trash" trumps being Black in America. You tell people to "get over it" when you don't even know what they have been through. Sounds like you have had some tough times in your life...however, you are still White and you are still male...you will never, ever know what it's like to be disenfranchised based solely on the color of your skin.

      The author of the article brings up a good point: stereotypes still exist in America, and particularly for minorities. You can deny that all you want, or tell people to "get over it", but it needs to be brought up and examined. I find it strange that you dis people for "whining" when that is all your post is!

      February 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • rsutter

        Oy, I'm afraid YOU are the one who doesn't get it. You're still living in the past.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wyvern

        Oy, how sad you are. I would feel sorry for you but it would be a waste of my time. Guess you will just have to die blaming white males. You do know what that makes you, don't you? Why don't you try taking control of your own life and stop letting others control it. The black people who work around me are doing that. They don't let the "white male" control them. I guess that makes you a special black person. One who "white males" can control and there is nothing you can do about it. Go on with your pathetic little life. And you can keep hating me because I am a white male. but you can't control me like you think I can you.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        Oh you poor poor whoa as you minority person.

        Cry us all a river why don't you.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • rsutter

      I agree 1000%. Enough whining.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • eg

      a more clearer answer iyve yet to hear


      February 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Like it is

      @Wyvern. Thank you. Thank you. Oh, thank you. What an intelligent pointed realistic statement of the facts with no self serving whine fests. Thank you. Also, if I didn't mention it earlier, thank you.

      February 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Let's Be Politically Correct Losers, Its Better than Winning

    As long as Black males continue to show their racism by having children with anyone, but only marrying women at least two shades lighter than themselves, I'm afraid the calls of racism from the black communmity will go ignored.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      I agree, black men are the most racist and filthiest men on the face of the earth. They go after white wome whoa re stupid enough to sleep with them and create mulatto ape babies. Andrew Jaskson should've deported these blalcks to farica after the civil war and the US would 've been a better place.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • joe

        @Jack, Andrew Jackson was dead long before the Civil War. Try Andrew Johnson instead.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • multi-racial rainbow

      LOL, you are very pathetic. What you have described happens across all racial/ethnic boundaries. Think about how multi-racial people got started in America. Native Americans and Black men had no rights. The men who had the rights were running around sticking it to Native American and Black women and usually left them high and dry to deal with the babies on their own.

      No race or ethnicity is blameless, take your twisted weak agenda elsewhere.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  53. 2chihuahuas

    This movie was wonderful and it IS IMPORTANT. My grand daughter had no clue how things were for these women back then, this is great entertainment but also a great teaching moment. How can we understand the struggle if we try to ignore that it happened.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  54. MK54

    History is usually about the wealthy and powerful exploiting everyone else. Come to think of it, present day life isn't all that much different.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Uh no, that is simply called Capitalism. But if you want communism, please move to North Korea. Enjoy. Now stick to the actual subject here.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        If Capitalism means that the wealthy get to exploit the poor, why are you acting as if communism is a bad thing? You like that the wealthy exploit the poor?
        Oh, and they do, second poster. Most definitely. That is how they get where they are. I, too, know a bunch of wealthy people. One doesn't reach that status without stepping on people, so don't try to act as if they are saints. It's pretty near impossible to be a 1%-er without having screwed someone else over.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        Communism, everyone is poor. LOL.

        Capitalism is simply you have employer and employee nothing more. Not everyone will be equal, but everyone has a chance to be rich, and rich people will be poor, and poor people will be rich. It goes up and down. Capitalism is NOT a bad thing at all, in fact it is really the best way to have a country run.

        Now then getting back ON TOPIC, which is about The movie/book The HELP.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keller

      I know quite a few wealthy people, but haven't met one yet that exploits the poor. Most, if not all, of my wealthy friends pay their employees above average wages and benefits. They contribute regularly to charities and are quick to "help" their employees through tough times. Your generalization is ridiculous and patently false. are you a professional victim?

      February 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        No, he's just a realist. You don't think your wealthy friends PERHAPS always show your their good side? You're their friend...of course you're going to be biased in their favor.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        Btw, I've actually worked w. donations from wealthy people and it's a joke. A few of them are extremely generous with their time and money. The rest are cheap, cheap, cheap. *I* donate more than them and I don't make nearly as much. Not even close.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        Oh jealousy, get back on topic please.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Babs

    Let's be clear: Hattie McDaniel's character was a slave who worked in the big house!

    February 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmb

      she was also generally loved by those who cared for her in the book and not abused.... her thoughts matter to people close to her.... it was just to bad that her real life ordeals did not grant her the same.....

      February 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Let's Be Politically Correct Losers, Its Better than Winning

    Is the writer LZ Granderson's sister?

    February 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • asda

      Well they got basketball and the maid thing mastered. Next maybe work at the IQ tests.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pineal

        Thank you for letting us all know that racism is still alive, healthy, and extant. We still have a long way to go before people like you are relegated to the dark corners society where you can no longer preach nor practice your venom.

        February 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jeff

        Pineal...who cares if they preach it. At least in the light we know who they are. Just because someone says something doesn't mean you have to let it effect you. See you have the power to act or not act on the things that are said around and to you. Racism will never die. We cannot stop people from thinking or speaking. But we can teach people not to be effected by it. The solution to stoping racism is not to try and prevent it from happening. It's teaching people that might be listening that the color of ones skin has zero to do with the content of their character. But people get so caught up in trying to stop racism they don't see they are fighting the wrong battle.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Like it is

        Hey, Jeff, in addition to being a white male, I am also a grammar Nazi and would be remiss were I not to point out your improper use of the word "effect" I am sure you wanted to use "affect" in that context. At any rate, I digress. I agree with you one hundred percent that racism needs to stop and will never die as long as people keep dredging it back up constantly. I am also dead set against it. (I realize that as an (evil) white male, I am breaking stereotype) Racism is, however, a two way street is it not? Thought so. So tell your Malcolm Xs, your Bill Cosbys, your Oprahs and the author of this divisive piece of literary vomit to stop feeding the fire. Oh, and my parents both came here in the great depression from Ireland. i had absolutely not a damn thing to do with the oppressive persecution of "your people". In fact, if you check your history books, at one time in this country, the Irish were considered lower than those of African descent.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Watergirl

    I know the movie is about their work as maids during the 1960s. What I saw was strong women who against all odds wanted to make a difference. To conquer their fear, to get their story out, to find their voice. That was what was amazing about this film. The characters Aibileen and Minny helped Skeeter to find her own inner strength and self worth also. In the end I think this is a story for all women to find their own strength, their own voice. So this movie is way more than a story about a maid.
    I would love to see The Help win best movie Oscar. It is so deserving. Love to see Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer win to because they were excellent in The Help.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  58. magnificentmaurice

    I like Step N. Fetchit alot. He was very funny and he was great with Shirley Temple.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  59. multi-racial rainbow

    I am soooo glad you wrote this article. I too am tired of this tired portrayals for 'black' people. More movies that show the positive that a global community can relate to would be great. This is why I did not go see the help. I cannot identify with that. I am glad Viola is being recognized as a rising talent but this is kind of like Precious, show black women in a wanting light. We are not all overweight, we are not 'the help' we do not all do that neck/head shake thing or snap our fingers and put our hands on our hips and not every 'black' woman with long hair is wearing a weave or wig.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      So basically you are ignoring history.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • multi-racial rainbow

        Are you asking of telling me? It is call active communication. No I am not ignoring history, however, given this is 2012 I cannot do much with the mammy/maid thing ok. Time to share positive models about everyone and stop with all the stereotypes for all races.

        February 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        Like I said, you are ignoring history. Given you have issues with the movie, I am then guessing you pretty much want to not allow period movies to be made anymore, correct.

        Stereotypes cannot be ignored anyway, they are grounded in truth. People of all races and genders are stereotyped in movies.

        February 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • multi-racial rainbow

        Like I said, you do not know how to engage in active communication. I guess everyone on this board must bow to your superior skills of interpretation. You go right ahead with your myopic thoughts.

        February 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        multi-racial rainbow–

        Your post just blatantly failed active communication. When you resort to personal attacks, you fail conversational skills.

        I am willing to bet you actually never even saw the movie or read the book. Instead you simply read this article and got angry because it was a black woman playing a maid in a movie, but you never actually saw the movie to even really know what positive role models the black women actually were.

        Yes, you have failed active communication.

        February 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • jesse

        stereotypes are important to society because they save time and that could be saving a life!! everyone stereotypes and if you say you don't you are the worst humans of all...you are a hypocrite!!! so if i gave you two choices A) you have all the cash you have in the world and wearing all the $$$ jewelry you have, etc, etc, and are guaranteed to have NO SECURITY at all!!! would you choose door #1) walking down a dark street at 11pm with a group of black teens with pants hung low and backwards baseball caps (something I actually dress in at times) or would you chose door #2) the same time time and street with two older white ladies walking towards you??? And don't lie!! of course you choose door #2 and if you don't you are either going to hell for lying or you are just stupid and I feel bad for you. Case closed! I won't say period cause only nicers say that nowadays 🙂

        February 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        "stereotypes are important to society because they save time and that could be saving a life!! "

        Um. No. Stereotypes are ignorant and moronic.
        What's wrong w. your little "story" is that you ASSume that either of the groups (door 1 or door 2) is going to mug the person, when, in fact, most likely neither of them would.
        Saving a life?
        Dude. Get real.
        You probably cross the street, too, huh? I've lived in Baltimore (67% African American), and let me tell you...I was more scared living in the poor WHITE area than the poor Black area. No one ever bothered me in the "ghetto", but some WHITE guy shot at a bunch of cops in the poor WHITE area....right in the middle of my street! You need a reality check. Stereotypes are stupid and useless.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        Uh no, stereotypes are grounded in truth.

        And you are so lying about Baltimore man. LOL.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • multi-racial rainbow

        Sharky I am not angry about the movie in the least nor angry that someone black played a maid. Simple stating my opinion. If it makes you feel better to say I've failed at active communication, so be it.

        February 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • karen

      so you are saying you like the actors, but don't support the work they did? Actors give 110% of themselves into the roles they choose. If viola and octavia are the wonderful actors you say they are then give them some credit for picking roles in a worthy movie. Actually go see their work before you discredit it. To say they only took the role because nothing else was available discredits their intelligence, and their worth, suggesting they could be easily bought to play a role they don't agree with for the right amount of money. If you really are a fan of them as actors, then you should show respect by educating yourself on their work!

      February 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • iamdeadlyserious

        Bad news, Karen. There are probably less than 100 actors in Hollywood who get to pick and choose their projects like that. These actresses are fantastic, but they are not part of that club.

        February 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • karen

      i am deadly serious,

      are these two actors obligated to play roles? They are both famous women, hardly "coming out of the woodwork" I do not think they are hurting for screenplays hitting their desks. After Adrien Brody won the oscar, do you really think he had to do all the crappy movies he did afterwards? Or for that matter Halle Berry? When was the last time she was in a good role? Octavia and Viola CHOSE to do this movie, it was a popular book and had great actors in it. I am simply saying, if you are a true fan of these actors, then respect them enough to see their movie. If you think they would take any role presented to them, then you have no respect for actors or the art.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        "Deadly serious"?
        Bit much, don't you think?

        February 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Karen

        I was replying to iamdeadlyserious right above my post.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keller

      I wouldn't worry about it – racism is trying to die – it just keeps getting pushed along by whites and blacks who have a vested interested in keeping it alive. Racism makes a lot of people a lot of money, but it will die on it's own sooner or later. The vast majority of blacks and whites got on quite well in Africa (excluding south Africa) until African politicians figured out how to get rich playing the race card. Since then – Africa has fallen apart and been set back by decades. Africa's prosperity (before this happened) was created by cooperation between whites and blacks. People, left to their own devices try to get along with each other. Unfortunately, at this point in history, exploitation of race is a big money maker. But I didn't have that take on this movie. I saw it as an historical movie telling a historical story. It doesn't make me see Black women through a stereotype. Actually, I've always noticed and admired the strong mental independence of black women. That's what was reinforced to me from this movie since that is what both of the lead characters portrayed about themselves. This movie showed things to be admired in any woman of any race. That was my take away.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dr. B

        Keller, your understanding of African history is a little off. Africa is falling apart for many reasons, some of which trace back to the artificial divisions of nations by colonizers. Now, the countries are left with tensions that arise in any post-colonial nation and they are exacerbated by the exploitatiion of the vast natural resources available in Africa. These are just some of the issues facing African nations, and it isn't about race. It's about many, many other things (religion, different African ethinicities, inequality in resource distribution, famine/drought cycles exacerbated by poor farming practices, the move of many groups from nomadic to agrarian due to loss of habitats,... I could go on). Educate yourself, please.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dr. B

        *Correction: it isn't about race anymore, although the roots go back to race issues dating from the 17th century or earlier. Skipped a part of my sentence–sorry!

        February 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  60. jesse

    i wish most black women were still my maids. damn civil rights 😦 they ruin everything

    February 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anne Maxson

      you are an idiot, plain and simple

      February 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • jesse

        Anne, don't worry, even if you are white, you are still welcome to serve me. as long as you are cute 🙂 however something tells me you are from from cute 😦

        February 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        Anne...this is the same idiot that said that stereotypes are useful and "save lives". Just ignore him. He's a troll.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      i love these yellow smiley 🙂 faces and yellow frowns 😦 My only question is why are all the heads of asian decent???

      February 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Lexagon

    Newsflash: The Academy is the last great refuge of old white men in American pop culture. Give it a generation, let em die off, and even Hollywood will join us in the 21st century.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      yay, because the 21st century has been so awesome where everyone looks, dresses, and acts acts exactly the same and we are all so PC because who would ever want to have anyone offended about anything, my goodness!! I'm just so happy that everyone wears skinny jeans now and everyone is equal from the start. no more of those bad meany 20th century days when people were actually different from each other and things were interesting! who wants interesting when you can have everyone the same and on the feminine side. i'd take adolf hitler as president and tupac as VP over what society has become now. i'm just glad i just was able to fit my best years in the last slivers of the good world. now everything sucks.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Learnfromlife


        February 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        I'm sure you WOULD take Hitler as your President, you racist ignoramus.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jack

        You are right Jesse, nowadays if one acts classy and speaks well, it is because they are racist and trying to ape the white culture. Everyone now expects people to act like ghetto blacks and to be sympathetic to the black plight and support theri cuases. ALso, it is taboo to be pro american, because that means that you are very unsympathetic to the feelings of foreigners and illegal aliens. So Jesse I fully agree with you, and do not worry about the other idiots calling you a racist.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      *yawn* Yes because acting has nothing to do with it at all.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      learnfromlife is learning from black people. that's why they are so stupid. i have pity for them 😦

      February 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  62. toadears

    Hmmmm Well you seem to be doing pretty good yourself there, Ms Ralph, albeit almost yellow journalism. Was your last job at the National Enquirer? And you have Oprah, hardly a poor black woman representing a mammy, and Obama. Barry Gordy and the Jackson family, Colin Powell, and that hideous Condaleeza Rice woman, all movin on up, so to speak. So this looks like a story to get as many hits as possible. It might have rung a little truer if you weren't so obviously professionally coiffed and gussied up there, miss thang.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  63. rhumba

    The maids in The Help were the smartest, most intelligent, most compassionate characters in the book and the movie. Their plight was a real part of American history. No, it's not pretty, but it's true. I thought it was wonderful to see these strong women take the bull by the horns and literally destroy the worst of the young white women who treated them with suck disrespect and disdain. I believe you need to rethink your opinion of this story.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      She's not saying the characters weren't strong and articulate. She's saying that the only strong, articulate black women we see with any regularity are maids being strong and articulate for the real star: the white girl who needs to learn an important lesson about racial equality. The entire movie (and book), though it has a good message at its heart, is patronizing in its insistence that we need to view these events through the eyes of well-intentioned white people.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kelsey

        Has there never been a movie on a subject told from one view point? Why is this film so out of the ordinary? A movie that comes to mind is JFK. One sided, one story,one view point. Your argument is weak.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dr. B

        @Kelsey: you missed the point that very few mainstream Hollywood films have any viewpoint *but* the one described in iamdeadlyserious's post. This is the issue being raised by the article and the lament there is that this viewpoint simply reinforces the stereotype of the "Great White Hope" being necessary for the emancipation of "black folk". This is a trope still with us from pre-1970's and until it gets balanced out by other viewpoints, it will cause resentment among many people (black and white). I absolutely adore To Kill A Mockingbird, for example, and think it's a beautifully written book and a wonderful movie. But am I blind to the role of Atticus as the White Savior? No. Do I think it diminishes the story? No. It's a product of its time. Do I think there ought to be other types of stories out there now in 2012? You bet. But there are very, very few that reach a mainstream audience in theaters or get lauded at awards shows. The Academy in particular is out of touch with reality in many ways. I don't even watch or care about the Oscars anymore because films that deserve attention don't get it because they are too "edgy" for these old white men.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  64. LMC

    The book and the movie THE HELP both help to educate generations of people who did not grow up in times of segregation on what life was like during that time. There are generations in our country that have no concept of what life was like and the book and then the movie have helped to at least show a little of what life was like. The actresses were marvelous!

    February 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  65. longtooth

    This article was written, I suspect, just to rile up the mobs. If you can't enjoy the success of two excellent actresses, no matter what characters they portray, the problem is yours, not of society. Racism still exists all over the world, unfortunately, but it doesn't exist at the Oscars.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Emmy

    Detest the book and film. Will not be watching the Academy Awards. Don't feel like watching black maids get the nod. Cause I iz good, I iz kind, and I iz tired of this bull from Hollywood.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      What bull from Hollywood?

      February 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Paul

    Five black actresses have won the Oscar for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress. Only one played a maid. Not four, not three.. one. To make the argument that "the rules for Black actresses are different. Play the maid and a black actress is winning the Oscar" is tremendously flawed and myopic.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emmy

      Yes, they didn't get awards, but playing a maid is historically the primary role offered black actresses.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        You really don't watch many movies do you. Nope, just another racist person. Well done.

        February 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Kevin

    I'm so sick of hearing how bad the blacks have it. That its always the white mans fault. The big bad white devils, And how the whites (who weren't even alive back then) should be eternally punished for the wrongs done(by their fathers) to the black race. I'd like to point out that the biggest slave owners were the blacks themselves. They raided their own neighbors villages in Africa(and still do), captured their neighbors men ,women and children and then sold their neighbors to the white slave traders. Sure, slavery is wrong and always was and will be, that is no way to tgreat your neighbor,, but don't blame it all on the whites. It is a human problem and a stain on the human race as a whole. Itis not just one races doing or fault. It was a joint effort by all those involved. Read your history and get your facts straight!

    February 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • PatSJ

      You are correct in that sometimes Africans sold their neighbors into slavery. But that stopped a LONG time ago. Meanwhile, even after the Civil War in the US, the descendents of slaves were treated like non-persons. As recently as the 1960's they were denied jobs, decent education, and access to things the rest of us take for granted. Glad you are sick and tired, but you should be sick and tired that it continued for a hundred years after "freedom" and sick and tired of those who continue to make apologies for that instead of apologizing.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        It is 2012 not the 1960's anymore. Enough with the bloody guilt.

        February 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Babs

        To Sharkey: Just say you're a racist and be done with it!

        February 25, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        I am actually a behaviorist, Babs, but if you want to be the racist between us I won't stop ya.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • CEs

      Thank u!

      February 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • oy

      If you don't think racism still exists, you live under a rock.
      And quit whining. You will ALWAYS have the advantage over someone of color and over women.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        You are the one that is actually whining more. Yes we know it does still exist, but what you fail to understand, or just refuse to acknowledge is the fact it is NOT a one way street. All races harbor racist thoughts. You are a liar if you say otherwise.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Davonroe

    I'm a black man, and I saw this movie with my mother and other members of my family. I know from listening to my mother, my aunts and uncles that THE HELP could have easily been her story. If my grandmother had not come to NYC to take sewing jobs to support her family, this wold have been my mother's fate. The primary employer in her town did not hire blacks in the late fifties to early sixties. Her only option for employment would have been as a domestic in a white family's home. I look at the movie, and the roles the actresses played, as an imperfect history lesson. Having said that, understand the dual nature of Ms Ralph's opinion piece. I'm STILL waiting for the first good black science fiction/ fantasy movie.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oscar

      An all black sci-fi movie? Why not just good black actors in leading roles in sci-fi?
      I always look at Avery Brooks and his rolls in Star Trek:Deep Space Nine not just for being a black actor in a lead role,
      but raising the bar on performance for any series sci-fi or otherwise.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      That all depends, how into Sci-Fi are black people really. If the majority of the black community are not into sci-fi there is no point in making any sort of black Sci-Fi movie.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • multi-racial rainbow

      My mother is from the south and multi-racial to boot. Her mother was a nurse, her great aunt who played a large part in her early eduacation was a school teacher and my mom was told to go to school and get an education. My point is everyone has a different story.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Elaine

    I find this complaining and discussion about casting a black woman as a maid interesting, and I wonder how many viewers actually read the book. I read the book before it was even advertised that a movie was coming. There are many, many people who probably would not have read the book, but have seen the movie. The book portrayed life as it commonly was in the south. The movie brought the book "to life", showing me things I hadn't noticed in the book. In reading the book, it didn't occur to me how recently African American women were so widely employed as maids. But in seeing the movie, with modern-type conveniences in the kitchen(s) and other not-so-distant styles of furniture and clothing, it strikes me that the civil-rights movement really wasn't that long ago. With the exception of some of the profane language, I thought it was a beautiful movie. And yes, white people were involved in helping in the Civil Rights Movement.

    John F. Kennedy called for a Civil Rights act. Emanuel Celler was involved in drafting the Act. Lyndon Johnson continued John Kennedy's campaign. If white people hadn't helped, the law would likely not have been passed.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      True, white people helped pass the Civil Rights act, however, your history as to who really called up for an act and what not are a bit off.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Elaine

        I'm not saying that Kennedy, Johnson, and others were the MAIN reason for the Civil Rights movement. I agree that the main force was not by white people.

        However, not all whites were/are prejudicial and/or racist, and there were white people who helped.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        Oh no no sorry I was simply meaning that Kennedy and Johnson actually were not originally for the Civil Rights Act and fought against passing it.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Jack

    Shameful and disgraceful. Comparing Viola and Octavia to Hattie McDaniel is like comparing a rose (McDaniel ) to two peices of crap (Viola and Octavia). Shame on these oscar nominators for nominating these two worthless talentless actresses becuase of affirmative action. Hattie McDaniel was a great actress and none of the black actresses we have today can compare to her. McDaniel was nominated because of her talent and charm and these two are only nominated because of skin color. So no comparion here. Another worthless article based on race by CNN. When is CNN going to show some class and have good articles and stories. I guess never.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • multi-racial rainbow

      I have no problem with their nomination considering the quality of Gwyneth paltrow/s acting and her awards. Fair is fair, across the board.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • oy

      Affirmative Action? Where is your proof? Should they have cast a White actress in a Black role, then? Your post makes no sense.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Old White Girl

    Funny, how people go to a movie and see different things. I saw a movie about women maturing through emotionally charged experiences surrounding race relations in the 60s. The actors in this film where phenomenal and the script plays out in truly existential form. Each character realizes they are "solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation, and boredom. It's a lovely film chock full of incredible talent. Get over all your petty baggage and enjoy life a little....including distilling what you can learn from a film and put to practical use.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • multi-racial rainbow

      You have some excellent points. I believe part of the reason this article was written is because there is always fallout from these types of films. Enough people get the wrong perception of black people and act out accordingly and usually it is not positive. For myopic people, they will take what they saw in this film and apply it to all black people regardless of their culture. Black American culture is different than Black African culture than West Indies and Aboriginal Australia.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  73. kate

    While the maids did stay in the South, the book they helped Skeeter write also freed them from economic bondage. If you pay attention to the amount of money they start recieving from the books, it's quite a bit compare to the $182 they make a month slaving away for those snotty white women.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Boris

    Considering that the author of this piece placed Ms. McDaniel so centrally, I am surprised that Ralph didn't actually quote her: "I'd rather play a maid than be one."

    February 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  75. ann west

    🔴 i refuse to watch any movie showing a fat black woman as a maid. They are trying to manufacture a false stereotype and some people believe it.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • fred

      ... I believe what you're sayin' ... GWTW 1939 and now THIS ... smh

      February 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heh


      February 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • multi-racial rainbow

      Don't forget Precious. However, to be fair I have heard from enough people in the black community that black people who are thin with certain types of hair aren't a fair representation and that 'black people are "healthy"'....I am glad these girls had a chance in a field that seems obsesses with lookes. Better them to receive the award than Angelina Jolie. Tired of looking at bags of bones with implants and collegan filled lips.

      February 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Arthur

    I just saw THE HELP this week and I judged it as showing the audience of glimpse of life in those times. My only judgement with the film would be whether it was completely true or not, my point being is where else would you see such a story, would you read about it ?, would you listen to people talk about such things ? This movie was what movies can do – show us something we didn't know or never comprehended because we have never seen this story before, especially the young people of today. And definitely the two actors deserve to win their awards – their acting earned it.

    At the end of the day you really have to look at the film studio bosses' and the writers, they are respectively the ones who green light movies and write them. It all starts with them, but unfortunately it also seems to end with them too....... Occupy Hollywood....

    February 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Jake

    This Mammy should have won an award every year. She was great. Loved the movie and watch it every time it is on TV. Also enjoyed the HELP movie. But not as great as Gone with the Wind.

    February 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Da Truth

      That's because you were raised and breast feed by a Black Women

      February 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Janet

    Sheryl Lee Ralph, I have 2 questions for you:

    1) Who cleans your house? (Probably a Hispanic)

    2) Who are you, really? Have we seen you on tv or in a movie lately?

    I know that's 3 questions. But the last one made me think of your importance and why you are writing for CNN.com.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • What your Mammy would tell YOU

      "Importance" should guide who writes on CNN? C'mon... you wrote something on CNN.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fan of Ns. Ralph

      She was on Broadway in the original "Dreamgirls", many tv series, movies, etc. look her up on IMDB. her credit list is longer than yours.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Ann

    so....should we just forget Halle Berry's Oscar?

    February 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest from Dallas

      I second the question.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • ohsnap

        I 'third' the question.

        February 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Brandi

        I do...she received hers for playing a black women who needed a white man. Read between the lines. Why can't black women win playing roles where they are powerful or just a regular person.

        February 25, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        Yeah because Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls was such a weak character. And Mo'Nique in Precious was such a weak character too.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Good question.

      I could argue it was an Affirmative Action win. *shrugs*

      February 25, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • oy

        Of course you would. You've pretty much shown that you might wear a white hood for fun on the weekends.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        And you are a Black Panther screaming in the streets to k*ll all white people. LOL. Good grief man. LOL You don't even know what color I am anyway.

        Do us a favor, look up the meaning of COULD. I mean can you actually point out and say I specifically said Berry only won because of Affirmative Action? Nope. I said I could argue....Personally i do not think Halle Berry is that good of an actress as in ACTING compared to other black women I have seen in movies. See unlike you, whiney person, I do not pay attention to skin color.

        February 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • David


      February 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • brother jake's brutha

      Okay, but Halle's going to be ticked off when she finds out...just sayen

      February 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Dr. G

    Hmmm... As a Black man, should I be angry that Denzel Washington won a Best Supporting Oscar for carrying a US Flag up a hill after being beaten by White officers for insubordination in a segregated military? Or, should I be upset that Denzel won a Best Actor Oscar for being a corrupted Black LA Police officer and was completely ignored for playing a desperate father who saved his son’s life? The article seems to suggest that there is a sense of shame in a Black women being acknowledged and honor for her outstanding cinematic performance.

    The Hollywood Cinematic “machine” has an unquestionable history of rewarding stereotypical caricatures of Black Diaspora. However, is that any different from Tyler Perry’s products of generalized buffoonery of black actors or feminization of the Black male’s image?

    The country does not reward positive images of Black Americans in cinema venues unless it is a genre that caters to “main stream” audiences. It will patronize Will Smith/Denzel Washington – if the majority of the supporting cast is of course, White. It will not however, patronize “Red Tails” because the majority of the cast was Black. It was a great historical movie with the notable absence of vulgarity, buffoons, nudity, or crouch grabbing illiterates which Black and white movie goers love to celebrate. Neither Tyler Perry nor Spike Lee had the consciousness (or George Lucas’ finance) to bring this type of positivity to film.

    I applaud these Black actresses for a job well done! Congratulations!

    February 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monim

      Most insightful thing i have read all day if only we had a few people like this in the movie industry

      February 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mulch

      I am a white man and couldn't agree with you more. Good article.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chicago7

      But then, there was and is Sidney Poitier. A man who was more than just a great actor, who was a bona fide Movie Star, playing lead roles and transcending race in white Hollywood during the Jim Crow era. He was hardly a buffoon; he was a handsome, romantic leading man at a time when that should have been impossible. I suppose he may be the exception that proves the rule. But it bears mentioning.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just Another Teacher

      Thank you! Excellent comment. I agree with you. As an older white vocational instructor, I used a similar quote from The Help before one of my exams, "You is kind; you is smart; you is self-confident," and most of the students radiated a smile back to me and sat up straighter. Some laughed. Then they broke out in chatter to others about the movie and how much they loved it. It seems to me that some of us loved it because the love from the maids to the children they cared was so endearing. Some of us identify with parental type of love from another person other than their own parents (I'm one). None of us I can tell could have visualized or expressed the environment of the maids to the level that the movie provided. I knew they must have worked hard for very little and that prejudice existed but I didn't know of the concern for where they went to the bathroom, what they ate on, and what happened with they got old and not so helpful anymore. I liked the movie; I learned from the movie; I will see the movie again.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Florist

    I find it disturbing that the "writer" can't enjoy a movie if it's about white people. You hated it because the lead was white? There is a very simple word for that. Racism.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • MashaSobaka

      You missed the point entirely. Good job.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest from Dallas

      There may be truth in that. Who knows!?

      February 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  82. AudreyinGA

    I hope both of the maids lose. How ridiculous is this?!?

    February 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest from Dallas

      Dont be too mad with the writer. Calm down.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Lisa

    Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are great actresses who deserve an oscar hands down. These are the roles that were available to them, if their were better roles to offer than they should accept them, but we all know that majority of the roles in Hollywood go to white women so unless the movie shakers in the business change than these are the roles that is going to be given to black actresses.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  84. calvin

    Granted this movie was okay, I have to agree with Nate. It is not Oscar material. I am black american and yes this would not fair to all the actors/actresses in the Help. The white woman who played Emma Stones mother was great & many others. As well as others in other Oscar nominated movies-get real!! These nominations should be done by the people who put these people where they are today! TOO OVERATED & RICH

    February 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Reader

      Hello Calvin,
      The white woman who played Emma Stone in THE HELP is Sissy Spacek. She won a Oscar in 1980 in the Coal Miners Daughter.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Amanda

        I hate to burst your bubble, but Sissy Spacek was not in The Help. Allison Janney played Skeeter's mother – you might know her from West Wing or Hairspray.

        February 25, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sara

        Amanda, Sissy Spacek was in The Help. She played Mrs. Walters, Hilly Holbrook's mother, and she (like the rest of the cast) was fabulous! 🙂

        February 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  85. DoNotWorry

    Every racial group has held slaves and has slavery in its past. Slavery still exists in this world, either formally, or informally. White people are the only group who have expressed sorrow at having enslaved others. For that sorrow, we are excoriated. A lot of folks need to get off their high horse about it and perhaps express sorrow at their own history of enslaving others. I believe that there is a deep underlying survival instinct in racism, and it will be difficult to eradicate. Like populations of other mammals, we begin to be separate species by first differentiating in color and behavior, making it difficult to interbreed. The differences get larger until interbreeding is no longer possible. This first stage of differentiation begets racism. Species separation will not complete so long as we continue to interbreed and keep our entire gene pool. I don't really care which way it goes, together or separate, the final answers will be long after I am gone. I like diversity and the freshness it brings to the world. Signed: biologist.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • MashaSobaka

      People like you really freak me out. And I do not believe for one second that you are a "biologist," unless you mean that you're a bitter white man taking biology classes in college. That I can believe.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Butters

      " making it difficult to interbreed."

      Yes, we've seen an increase in miscarriages among interracial couples. We are truely changing into different creatures.
      signed: youarefullofit

      February 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tongue in cheek (that ain't terbacky)

      I invite you to join our fundamentalist 'Patriotic Christian' teabagger congregation. We are against any government intrusion into the overriding social importance of the business world. The forces that wrecked our economy were set in motion long ago when The Gubmint intruded into legitimate right of business-owners to use slave labor. Bring back slavery now and restore our economy. You know deep inside that god meant for you to own slaves. That 'treat people as you would be treated' bull is just a bunch of hippie crap. Jayzus never said that. Slaves are good for unmurika.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • oy

      Any biologist knows that "race" is a social construct. Please stop filling the world with your lies.

      February 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Cacique

    Always gotta complain, nothing ever good enough, never happy.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Apparently so. So it is ok for a white woman to play a "pro" and win the Oscar, but not all right for a black woman to play a maid and win the Oscar. Makes NO sense at all, in my opinion.

      Also is quite sad from Ms. Ralph's POV to have to say the movie was about black women helping a white woman leave the South, when frankly I saw the movie as a white woman having seen the injustices handed to black women, giving them a voice, and having them speak up, instead of being silent people in society. I guess Ms. Ralph probably also saw the Civil Rights movement, of white people helping black people, as another racist event and that white people should never have done a thing.

      I am getting tired of this.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • vdavis

        white people HELPING black people during the Civil Rights Movement??? WHO was DENYING black and other minorities of their Civil Rights?!?!?

        February 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • A Reader

        I do agree with some of your comments regarding a white lady giving the black maids a voice. But lets be real about this for a moment. You know back then if this really happen the maids would have been found hanging from a tree
        for speaking their peace,let alone in a book. Come on now. I enjoyed the movie very much. I think the Viola and Octavia
        should win the Gold. Matter a fact my mother's name is Viola and my great grandmother's name was Octavia.

        February 25, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky


        Oh, so now you want to deny actual history and deny the fact that white people DID help black people during the Civil Rights movement. Oh I see. Ok then. Way to edit history.

        February 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • sharky

        A Reader–

        Strange, I don't remember Rosa Parks being lynched. By the time of the black maids in the south, lynch laws had pretty much dropped by the 1950's. Lynching was in sharp decline by this time period, in fact it dropped in the 1930's. So no, they would not have been lynched, just thrown in jail.

        February 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • vdavis

      that's very big of you, grouping a whole section of society based on the color of their skin... how would you like it if your particular segment of society was based on their, murderer or a child molester like Jerry Sandusky???

      February 25, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  87. pleasedotell

    I hope this clarifies the author's feelings:
    1. She is glad that black women have risen to a position where they are nominated for the Oscars & do receive the oscars.

    2. But, sadly the author does not like the role that was portrayed to get the Oscars. She is "sick and tired of the maid, mammy, and big mama on the couch if you will." – Think if every woman who played a Madea character received the Oscars, is that the only role that will get black women an Oscar? What if a black woman played a ruthless boss, will she receive as Oscar. If she played a female lead Similar to the one in "Gone with the Wind," would she receive an Oscar? The author does not think so. She is worried that black women will get stuck in that maid, Madea roles just for the sake of getting an Oscar, thus limiting their potential.

    3. The author is not saying blacks do not want the Oscars, but please stop awarding the Oscars to her race for the roles such as slaves & maids, otherwise that is all they will continue to play. Give them the awards for using that hard work & smart talent to play a character no other black person would think of playing. [In other words, in the entertainment industry, help the black race help themselves, do not be an enabler. Similar to encouraging black kids to expand their voice talents to the Opera as opposed to encouraging them to stay in rap.]

    February 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • pleasedotell

      Correction: "What if a black woman played a ruthless boss, will she receive an Oscar? Maybe. If she played a female lead similar to the one in "Gone with the Wind," would she receive an Oscar? Maybe again (we'll never know if you do not let them try & work hard for it)

      February 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      Not many people, women especially, get anything but a stereotypical part. Keep in mind that most white males have made their career playing limited stereotypical male parts. Hollywood isn't known for thinking outside the box. Inside the box occurs to them as making more money. With advances in technology, I'd like to see humans of all stripes start making their own films. Let us test Hollywood's assertion that boxed in humans sells best.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Nate

    I hate to say it, but this movie is so amazingly overrated it sickens me. I'm all for true equality between people, being judged on your actions and achievements not on the color of your skin, etc, etc, ad nauseum. However, this movie is a political pile of dog crap. It was so amazingly cliche I could barely sit in my seat for the duration of the film. It reminds me of the sappiest Oprah show put into movie format. Just horrible. Was the message "good"? Sure. But come on people. Oscar material? *Really*?? It's almost as if Hollywood and the predominantly white, old, rich, men who comprise the "Academy" vote mediocre movies like this in to assuage their own guilt at having a lifetime of privilege while knowing that for most of America, especially Black and Latino America, it's nothing but a pipe dream. Black America should be savvy enough at this point to know the difference between being congratulated for true achievement, and being patted on the head by the rest of the patriarchal elite.

    February 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      And your comment basically negates history. Well done.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  89. AYSA

    Why does it always have to be a black thing with a chip on thier shoulder. They are both great actors. I am happy they were both nominated, but not because of color because of talent! We have too many different cultures here to keep on about race and color. Kids don't even care about that stuff why should we?

    February 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Jammaster

    Good grief. It seems that when Blacks tolerate racism, they deserve it. When they confront it, thier motives are questions. The days of anybody having to endure 2nd class citenzenship by ANYONE regardless of race, culture, gender or any of the isms are over.

    Persistent racism and all the lame excuses that support it are simply a method for those with low self-esteem to feel better about themselves.

    Like the old saying goes, a man's boss abuses him, he then abuses his wife, she then abuses her kids and the kids kick the cat. As soon as they grow up, they look for someone to abuse.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jammaster

      That should read "thier motives are questioned".

      My point being," We ain't going back to the back of the bus".

      February 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Racist Black People

        If black people actually cared about slavery they would be writing articles about the slavery going on today in Africa. This is a bunch of racist black people that want sympathy for something they have never experienced.

        February 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • intruth23

        Racist, what are balck people going to do about slavery in Africa??? If we are citizens of those countries then do something about it. That's really not the point and your comment is id oitic at best!

        February 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • AnotherView

        But, Intruth, if people celebrate their African heritage–in dress, traditional names, and such, it stands to reason that the Africa they are celebrating should be their business, and very specifically so. Put your money where your mouth is. (Also, we never hear talk of the African tribes selling their own citizens into slavery, only the white traders on the American side. Why don't we seek reparations from tribes, as most slaves were not captured in the woods but purchased or traded from the African leaders.

        February 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Milomommy

    So let me get this straight. You are upset because 2 black actresses CHOSE to play rolls in a film depicting them as servants to the 1960's white women of the south, but are glad they are both up for an Academy Award? I am black. I am from the south. I also live here in 2012 and saw the movie and thought it was funny. Do they deserve to get awards? Yes. Not because they played mammie maids but because they are skilled and worthy HUMANS. Would you still be offended if they were latina women? Sister, we need to get our hearts out of the past and look to the future with love. The simple truth is that it is a "period" movie. If it offends you then don't watch it.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • YouGoGirl

      Thank you! I agree with you completely. From my view point it sounds like the author of this article has some personal issues with racism. She might even be racist (against whites) herself. Why can she only shine when another black female artist shines? She seemed to miss the whole message of the book and the movie. It's a shame.

      February 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • karen

        I have heard this complaint a lot recently. Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC says almost EXACTLY what this author is saying. I think they are upset with the lack of historical accuracy. I didn't look at the film as a statement on the civil rights movement or trying to teach a history lesson. It was a character study, if anything. The 60s just set the backdrop. I don't understand why they couldn't just take it for what it was, a movie, an art form, and fiction.

        February 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Veronica

      Exactly! Thanks for that comment.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • d dog

      Amen! They weren't forced to play the maid; they chose the role. As Hattie McDaniel once said about someone commenting to her about the mammie/maid roles she playd: " I'd rather play a maid than be one"...

      February 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Florist

      Thank you! Perfectly stated.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rozelle

      You hit the nail on the head. This was a "period" movie. There were so many accurate things in this movie that it was, indeed, funny in many places and sad in others. I am white. Many of my friends remembered similar things that really happened and nobody wants to go back to those days. There's nothing wrong with a movie depicting an era with accuracy. It was not a coming of age piece about a white woman. It was a coming of age piece about an era.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      THANK YOU!!!!

      I thought the movie was wonderful, and the acting was wonderful. That is what movies are about ACTING, not looks or skin color.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wendy Theriot

        Everyone on this thread gets it. In my opinion these two women were the lead in the movie none of the white women, who were good but the story was really not about them. The story was about the maids. I'm white and from the South and I loved the movie and hope both leading ladies get their Oscars their performances deserve it.

        February 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  92. JLS639

    Finally someone writes an editorial that sees the situation clearly. So many negative editorials of "The Help" claim that it shows blacks needing a white person to help them out. Of course, in "The Help," it was the black folks who helped the white person escape her situation and were left to bear the consequences, not the other way around. I really have no emotional stake in it, but I do not understand the author's anger at the story itself. Perhaps as a white man I simply am ill-equipped to understand. People often suffer for doing the right thing in real life (not that the movie was that realistic). What annoyed me were the people who were saying it was the white woman helping the black women and I am glad to finally see an editorial pointing out the obvious: the black women helped the white one and at least one of the black women suffered for it (losing her job and threatened with arrest on a trumped-up charge).

    February 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rozelle

      The movie was realistic.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Ah so in your alternate reality world the Civil Rights movement never happened. OK then.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Laura

    I am very confused by this article..is she mad or happy about the nominations??

    February 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dallas.alphonso

      life is not that easy, she is both, hates the roles but appreciates the performances and the Oscar nods, is that black and white enough for you lol

      February 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Candy25

        Thank you for explaining. I was wondering the same thing.

        February 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  94. bfskinnerpunk

    If you are not from the USA, let me introduce you to an overwhelming and dysfunctional part of our society: We are obsessed with skin color.
    Amazingly, we can step over the bodies of brothers and neglected children in the inner city... and not notice... but then find the time to write an article about a black role in a movie as "a problem".
    I'm waiting for this kind of writer to write an article that portrays Obama's election as a "cynical white handout".... amazingly, Americans will find a way to make his success look like some sort of white racist conspiracy.
    We are positively koo koo about this and will not let it go.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      Enlightenment: every racial group has held slaves and has slavery in its past. Slavery still exists in this world, either formally, or informally. White people are the only group who have expressed sorrow at having enslaved others. For that sorrow, we are excoriated. A lot of folks need to get off their high horse about it and perhaps express sorrow at their own history of enslaving others. I believe that there is a deep underlying survival instinct in racism, and it will be difficult to eradicate. Like populations of other mammals, we begin to be separate species by first differentiating in color and behavior, making it difficult to interbreed. The differences get larger until interbreeding is no longer possible. This first stage of differentiation begets racism. Species separation will not complete so long as we continue to interbreed and keep our entire gene pool. I don't really care which way it goes, together or separate, the final answers will be long after I am gone. I like diversity and the freshness it brings to the world. Signed: biologist.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry

      LOL, my first thought about having our first black President was: oh boy, they don't care if a black man becomes President right at the exact time they can blame him for every fool thing done by the Republican Party during Dubya's administration... the perfect "whipping boy." He has done a good job as President, also showing much forbearance at being used as a whipping boy for Dubya. I hope he appreciates that every huge mess up lands on some strong person's shoulders when clean up time arrives. I hate his taking the whipping for other's sins, but see it in every other area of life and it isn't fully racially motivated.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rozelle

        How did this conversation get from a black maid to a black president. Think about it.

        February 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Todd

    And how does this article encourage acceptance and unity? I think we should all consider the acting qualities of the actors nominated and how well they played their roles. Sheryl Lee Ralph, could you please be try to be colorblind, as you are asking everyone else to be? Start by setting a good example.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  96. AMERICA 1st

    Black females make wonderful mammys. a whitewashed nobama would sing MAMMY wonderfully on the stage at the apollo, accompanied by a shodpolished biden!

    February 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  97. bfskinnerpunk

    Exactly. Americans (both black and white) has over-sensitized itself about race. It has come to the point that we all have an intense and uncomfortable "race fetish". We pound the carpet for anything that hints of racism... and we celebrate when we find... as if we NEED to confirm that racism still exists (even if we find it in an OSCAR NOMINATION??? yes!). We practically seek new ways to get offended. The "black in America" series consist of one hyper-sensitivity after another. It is a crippling problem that make it difficult to relate to each other as HUMAN.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • DoNotWorry


      February 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest from Dallas

      I concur

      February 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  98. t3chsupport

    I'd say better 'The Help' than 'Moesha'...

    February 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Could be argued that Ms, Ralph is jealous actually.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  99. bfskinnerpunk

    Hollywood also loves the nerdy, no-common-sense, out-of-touch, bumbling white guy.... and, of course, the sadistic redneck sheriff who loves to abuse soft spoken, deep, intellectual black people. We have glorified the self sacrificing, deep black person while portraying the white person as a selfish, shallow, screw you type.
    No worries.... it is Hollywood.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Florist

      I know. If anything, the movie was offensive to whites.

      February 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Barbara

        The movie was offensive to whites? Ugh..you guys have NO limits in your narcissism do you? I cant wait for the day when everything turns back around...lets see how far whites get without your privilege.

        February 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pattysboi

        Both my wife and I are white, and we were NOT "offended" by the movie "The Help". We found it VERY well-done.

        February 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest from Dallas

      Thats true. For Hollywood, its all about the money. For me, I just go to the movies and have a good time watching. Dont expect moral lessons from the movies.

      February 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Jack

    Comparing Viola and Octavia to Hattie McDaniel is like comparing a rose (McDaniel ) to two peices of crap (Viola and Octavia). Shame on these oscar nominators for nominating these two worthless talentless actresses becuase of affirmative action. Hattie McDaniel was a great actress and none of the black actresses we have today can compare to her. McDaniel was nominated because of her talent and charm and these two are only nominated because of skin color. So no comparion here. Another worthless article based on race by CNN. When is CNN going to show some class and have good articles and stories. I guess never.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whoa

      Whoa, Mr. Cafferty, don't bite the hand that feeds you now. I didn't see Miss McDaniel in enough roles to judder her acting ability, but I know that Viola was excellent in Doubt with Meryl Streep. As a black American woman in the 21st century, I imagine one would truly have to act in order to portray a mammy or a maid. Your comment about being nominated due to affirmative action is shameful.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • PatSJ

      In your opinion, they lack talent. In your opinion, they don't compare to McDaniel. But that is only your (unbiased?) opinion and definitely not shared by a majority of people.

      February 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jack

        Pat SJ and Whoa, you two are just liberals who are obsessed with affirmative action. So please go hide under a rock.

        February 25, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • DG

      You are really going to have to explain the affirmative action comment. You make no sense, but you are good for a laugh. thanks.

      February 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
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