“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I thought.” – Miss Skeeter, The Help.
As most of you know, I’m a 25-year-old Asian girl who lives in the outskirts of Metro Manila, Philippines since… ever. First of, I wanna express my gratitude to God for bringing me into this world in this era where the world has accepted great change; no civil war, world war or any kind of sort. “Racism” is one the most sensitive issue in all the ends of the earth. Who can blame anyone about it? In every man’s eye, there’s always a difference that separates us; the color, upbringing, tradition, religion and so on and so forth. Sure, we want this stupid argument to end but we all know it’s gonna keep on coming around like a shitake mushroom unless we really suck it up and accept the change.
I may not born and raced somewhere in Mississippi or New Orleans during the civil wars and I may not know anything about racism, segregation and Jim Crow Law or the real contents of it. I may not really understand the effects of the separation from the colored to the white during those days, and please correct my facts if I’m wrong. But what I do know, and what I truly believe in is that, Black, White, Yellow, and Brown, are just colors. These colors does not define a person. Just like I know that a person isn’t fat; he has fat but FAT doesn’t define him.
A few days ago, I just finished the phenomenal novel by Kathryn Stockett entitled “The Help” which now has become a major hollywood movie. I just can’t get enough of the book! I read it whenever I have the chance to (toilet, elevator, waiting area, lunch break, name it! Haha).
“The Help” is a story about a black maid Aibileen Clark who is working for a white family during 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi. For seventeen years, she has endured the unfair treatment among colored from the white people in their town but loved all the children she has taken care of and raised them as her own. Her best friend Minny Jackson is also a colored maid. And just any other colored girls in their town, she has been nurtured by her Mama at a young age that waiting for a white family is the only job destined for people who has dark skin like hers. Skeeter Phelan has just graduated from college and is aspiring to become a journalist someday. Despite having lived in Mississippi all her life and has breathe and lived by all these rules that separates colored from white, returning from college has given her a new perspective.
The three courageous and totally different ladies have worked together on a project that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town – to write, in secret, a tell-all book about what it’s really like to work as a black maid in the white homes of the South. A very daring, risky move they went thru just to speak their voices and hoping for a better day. I have not given much attention to the racism during that period of time, shameful as it is, because it simply doesn’t affect me… But as I read the book and watched the film, I kinda had a hard time sleeping ever since. It’s disturbing how the colored people endured the segregation, esp. using their separate public toilets? What’s the word for it… Prejudiced.
Another film I just recently watched is the one entitled “42” directed by Brian Hedgeland. The movie is about the historical life of the baseball player named Jackie Robinson who wears the jersey 42. Robinson is the first African-American to break the colored-white barrier during 1947. I was never a fan of baseball and in between the movie, I would ask for Google’s help to better understand the flow of the sport. But the thing is, the sport is not the issue. It’s about racism. I could never imagine myself being in Robinson’s shoe holding that bat in front of thousands of people bad-mouthing about his race and the color of his skin… it’s just heart-breaking. For me, if “42” is not the film that inspires people down to their very core, and stand up to make a change, then I don’t know what is.
Sure Jackie felt condemned, sure he felt humiliated every single time he walks into that baseball field. But the greater challenge is not having the guts to fight back, but having the guts to do the opposite. It sure is not an easy thing to do, to just walk it off after hearing awful things about your race, letting their words slip as if they mean nothing when you know that every trash-talk that comes out of their mouth is weighing you down. But no, Jackie has to endure them all, for the love of the sport, love for his family, and love for his identity. This rare quality inside him inspired many people and later on sympathizes with him. This shows great courage and that not all fights are meant to be fought through violence and anger, hence, it can be won through keeping your silence but with your head high and faith in oneself. Because every man who has a God-given talent has the right to play the club ball just like any other man.
All these films and books signifies only one thing, that God made us all equal and that the color of our skins only makes us unique. So I salute Robinsons for pushing through his dreams despite the abuse surrounding him, telling him he doesn’t have a place in this world. I salute the three women of Jackson Mississippi, Aibileen, Minny and Miss Skeeter. If it weren’t for their whispers, then the change wouldn’t even be possible. So whoever says that I can’t change the world because I’m a girl can eat my SHIT. (wink*)
“Maybe tomorrow we’ll all wear 42. – That way they won’t tell us apart.” – Pee Wee, 42.