By: Mark Auslander
Posted: Aug. 19, 2011
The current controversy over “The Help” might seem like this week’s news. But it is just the latest episode in a long-running national debate. Did African-American women domestic workers, as the film and novel imply, truly love their young white charges? Or were they putting on skilled performances for the sake of economic survival? At the end of the day, who “owns” these complex stories of intimacy and betrayal, of affection and exploitation across the color line? And what do these narratives tell us about our nation’s shortcomings and our nation’s promise?
These questions have been posed for generations, sometimes out loud, sometimes only in a whisper, sometimes in the most unexpected of places. (READ MORE…)