The Help And Shameless Essay

1584 words - 6 pages

Media Viewing Paper

Throughout the course of the semester, I have learned a tremendous amount from SOC 209 Race Class Ethnicity. After growing up in a predominantly white town, having only a handful of African American classmates, I was generally unaware of the issues that existed. This course taught me the meanings of words I have often heard but never fully understood. I learned that there was a difference between prejudice and discrimination, which I often wrongly used interchangeably. Prejudice is simply a thought, while discrimination is an action, generally from someone of substantial power to enforce the discrimination. I also learned the term matrix of domination, which explains that each person experiences oppression of many fronts whether it be through race, glass or gender. This took me by surprise because after growing up in a predominantly white community, I seldom faced such obstacles. For the media viewing paper I decided to watch a movie and a television series. I chose the movie The Help, which was directed and written by Tate Taylor, and adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel. I also chose the Showtime television series Shameless, created by Paul Abbot and developed by John Wells.
The Help is about an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, who decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, as well as the hardships they go through on a daily basis. This movie showed the many differences in the ways in which black and white people were treated during this time period. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan is the white journalist who returned to the family plantation after graduating from the University of Mississippi. She has the idea of writing about the relationships between whites and their black help, especially as the black-maid raised children eventually take on the attitudes of their parents when they become adults. Skeeter, being raised by the help herself, began by interviewing two maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, both African-American women. Aibileen is known for her nurturing character while Minny is definitely not a maid who does what she's told. She's a maid who tells it like it is. At first they were reluctant to agree to it, but after Minny was fired for using the guest bathroom she finally agreed to the interview. All three women mentioned above have major roles in the movie. Hilly Holbrook is another main character, who is a white woman living on the plantation and bosses around the help. Hilly is part of the upper-class as are all of the white characters in the movie. Hilly appears as a respectable woman, president of the Jackson Junior League and active in all sorts of charity, however she is a disgraceful and inconsiderate person. Hilly attempts to pass a bill she calls The Home Help Sanitation Initiative. This would require all Mississippi families to build outdoor bathrooms for their...

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