I watched the movie The Help last night with Emma Stone. This movie is set in the 1960’s in Jackson, Alabama where the wealthy families would hire African American women to serve as the maids and nannies in their homes. As was typical in that era in the South, the discrimination ran high and even led to the homes they worked in which the families they worked for made them use separate bathrooms than the rest of the family. These African American women left their homes 6 days a week and left their own children to be raised by others so that they could earn their wages cooking and cleaning and raising the children of the white families on the other side of town. The interesting part to me was that these families found the African American women trustworthy enough to care for and raise the children of the white families, were trusted in the kitchen to cook for the whites, but could not allow them to use the same washroom and would exhibit not an ounce of compassion for the children of the African American woman who was keeping their home running smoothly and keeping THEIR children well mannered and cared for.
In the movie, a white journalist (Emma Stone) decides she wants to hear the stories from the African Americans (“The Help”) about how they felt and the things they experienced being treated only as “The Help.” Fictitious names are used and the book is published casting a poor light on the white employers. It raises questions on if the book is in fact based on the stories of Jackson, and causes a small uproar with the whites, until the whites realize, if they admit to it, it would make their reputations much worse.
So, why do I write about something that happened over 50 years ago??? Because the way “The Help” was treated in this movie made me think about how we treat “Our Help” now. How do we treat people like our own cleaning ladies? Waiters and waitresses? Plumbers and electricians? Cashiers as the grocery store or pharmacy? How about the pizza delivery guy? Valet? In the clubs, there is usually someone in the bathroom handing out paper towels, what about them? The barista at Starbucks or the guy at the McDonalds Drive-thru? How do we treat them? Do we give them the same respect that we give our friends? The same respect we give people like attorneys or doctors? We SHOULD!!!!!
All of those jobs are important to us. We all utilize those services and without them, we would have to do those jobs ourselves. Do you think we all would know how to fix a clogged drain that Draino couldn’t fix? They deserve our respect because they are trained in a skill that we have no idea how to do. Why do many look down on union workers? What about all the things we don’t have time to do? We utilize the services of a cleaning lady because we don’t have the time to devote to all the care of our homes because we all seem to be working and working more hours than there are in a day. So, why would we treat them with any less respect than we would our friends? While we do pay them for their service, they are doing just that. They are doing us a service and a favor, something we aren’t able to do ourselves. We should be thankful and grateful. How about waiters and waitresses when out at a restaurant? You go to a restaurant because you don’t want to cook, don’t have the energy to cook, or just want to enjoy a night out. The waiters and waitresses are there to serve you and cater to you so you don’t have to. They bring you the food you like, the beverages you like, when you want them, and try to make your night out enjoyable. They are serving you. Just because they are serving you though, does not make them beneath you and give you the right to treat them poorly. They still are providing you a service and should be treated with respect.
Yet there are people today who do not respect the jobs and services others provide to them. People today still look down on, and still treat people in various professions, with disrespect and treat them as the whites did to the African Americans back in the 1960’s. Our nation is supposed to have come so far with respect to civil rights, yet here we are in 2012 and people are still looking down on others because of their professions, treating them poorly while they are doing their duties and providing services to them. Its horrible.
Everyday that someone goes to work and brings home a days pay, that person is doing their job as an American citizen. No matter what the job is or how much it pays, they are working to support themselves, paying their taxes to contribute to the government, and providing a service to the American people. These people are people we should be treating with the UTMOST respect. There are so many people who are not working (by choice) and not contributing anything. Why are those individuals not the targets? It just seems that things are going backwards instead of forward.
The 1960’s may have been a time where race was the issue, but in 2012, race is still an issue of discrimination and we treat people of our own race in positions lower than us like they are lower than us as individuals What can we do? All we can do is our own part to make sure that we treat everyone around us like human beings and treat everyone like we would want to be treated. No one should ever treat anyone else like that person is beneath them. At one time, we were all in lower positions so, be humble.