When I was in 2nd grade, I went to school with all the other white kids in my town. But by 3rd grade, the all-white school and the all-black school transformed into one elementary school for all kids and one middle school for all kids.
I thought nothing of it. Kids were kids to me. I loved 3rd grade. It gave me friends of all colors.
But reading The Help shows a different perspective.
Set in a time just a few short years before my time, and just one state away, it’s a fictitious story about white families in Jackson, Mississippi, and their black maids.
It’s told from three viewpoints: two of the maids and one of the white women. You hear their dialects; you see their challenges; and you feel their pain.
I want to yell so loud that Baby Girl can hear me that dirty ain’t a color, disease ain’t the Negro side a town. I want to stop that moment from coming—and it come in ever white child’s life—when they start to think that colored folks ain’t as good as whites.
I’m glad that moment never came in my life.
But bigotry doesn’t come only in colors. We all have biases; we all have prejudices. Maybe it’s not against race, but it’s against something. I’m challenged to consider where I draw the lines.
I watch Lou Anne slip away in the parking lot, thinking, There is so much you don’t know about a person. I wonder if I couldn’t have made her days a little bit easier, if I’d tried. If I’d treated her a little nicer. 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’d thought.
I highly recommend The Help. It can help you move your lines. Because not only is it engrossing fiction, it also holds convicting truth.