In a position of power, influence and looking

In the film The Help, directed
by Tate Taylor, Eugenia “Skeeter”
Phelan uses career as a writer to combat the racism and denial black maids are
faced with by gathering their stories to put in her book. In the film, African
Americans don’t receive the same privileges as white people do and Skeeter
takes notice of this and decides to oppose racism. Skeeter writes her book in
hopes of making her and maids voices heard, with the intent of shedding light
on the harsh treatment that black people and receive and why they deserve
better. Her experiences with maids such as Aibileen and Minny and how they are
treated by whites such as her friend Hilly detail the cruel life of an African
American and their lack of rights. Despite being the only white character who
does anything in support of black people, Skeeter uses her voice to fight for
racial equality because she believes its time they are better blended into
society.

Throughout the film, several scenes
depict the circumstances for black woman who are forced to work as maids under
white people’s households. One such character is Hilly Holbrook, a wealthy
woman in Mississippi who is pushing to have separate bathrooms for blacks. In
one scene, she refuses to give her maid a loan for her sons to go to college.
“… God don’t give charity to those who are well and able. You need to come up
with this money on your own.” She is always looking to be in a position of
power, influence and looking to make black people’s lives as depressing as
possible. The hypocrisy here is that Hilly talks about morals and beliefs when
she herself isn’t living up to what she’s saying. She’s telling her maid to
come up with the money herself when Hilly is in control of her salary. She is
paying her below the minimum wage and tells to come up with the money to
support her children when her maid isn’t “well and able.” Because of this and
her support of segregation, her best friend Skeeter goes against her. Seeing
how Hilly mistreats her maid further pushes her to write her book and even
chastise her for being a racist.

In the town of
Jackson, Mississippi, black women mostly work as maids for white families. They
aren’t treated with respect and don’t earn the money they deserve but because
at that time, blacks were heavily discriminated, they didn’t have a say in
anything. Minny is fired by Hilly for sitting on her toilet because then whites
believed that black people carried diseases. Aibileens son dies in a tragic
accident and received no justice. At the time, black men had to work physically
demanding jobs, and this shows how little appreciated African Americans are and
weren’t considered important. Skeeters mother, Charlotte, fires their family maid, Constantine. In a
scene, Charlotte fires Constantine with no remorse for old age. She even lies
to Skeeter about the reason for Charlotte leaving and Skeeter is shocked that
her mother would do such a thing. The fact that her mother fires the maid who
took care of her as a child leads Skeeter to publish her book and get her
argument out in the world.

For Skeeter, she decided to use her
voice to fight for African Americans natural rights. A person’s voice is an
author’s style, what makes their work stand out, and gets across their
arguments. In this case, it’s the best way for her to express her beliefs. She
is a college educated women who resorts to her brains instead of her fists to
get what she wants. She seemed get her pain across to people by writing her
book that would show the reality of life for African Americans. Skeeter states
“You said to write about what disturbs me,
particularly if it bothers no one else.” Even though she doesn’t have the
support of her friend, Skeeter finds her own way of fighting for black
equality.

Like King who saw segregation plague
Birmingham and opposed it through nonviolent actions and his words, Skeeter
also has her eyes opened to the racial injustice that existed in Mississippi
and used her mind to write a book that would reveal to everyone how much racism
was taking place. Each got their argument across using their voice and words.
King staged harmless demonstrations to oppose the white power structure that
existed in Birmingham. He expressed his thoughts with his words rather than his
actions. King states “Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a
better path?” King was also alone in his own little world because nobody else
was stepping up to fight for African Americans natural rights. But he uses his
voice to explain the power struggle that has put whites on top and black people
on the bottom. Exactly like the maids that Skeeter is trying to help. In
Jacksonville, the African American community is suffering, and women are forced
to work low pay jobs as maids for white families. Maids are doing the bidding
of whites who don’t even respect them, and Skeeter chose to write about their
backgrounds to make them more relatable.

King followed a process in his
nonviolent campaigning to fight for what he believed. He had steps he would
follow to achieve what he wanted. King writes “In any nonviolent campaign there
are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices
exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.” He followed these
steps in Birmingham to battle segregation. Through marches and speeches, Kings
voice carried all throughout Alabama, unifying all blacks to stand with him.
Skeeter goes through a similar experience when maids approach her to tell their
stories. How she goes about writing her book is asking maids to give their
stores on how they were being treated, gathered stories, and write them in a
sympathetic fashion that would capture her readers. Skeeter wanted their voices
to be heard because they believed that what they were striving for was for the
greater good. African Americans today are grateful for their actions as it has
brought more respect in society.  

Skeeter relies on her writing skills to get
what she wants which is what American icon Thomas Jefferson was known for. She
wrote her book and expressed her thoughts with justification to back it up.
Jefferson used this strategy when writing the Declaration of Independence. He
believed in natural rights and that everyone is born equal. Jefferson writes
“that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit
of Happiness. Skeeter revolved around a similar philosophy. The black women
don’t have the same rights as the colored people and wrote her book to give
people like Aibileen and Minny their unalienable rights. In many ways the
Declaration of Independence is arguing the same things as Skeeters book.
Jefferson was fed up with how American colonists were being treated by Great
Britain and decided to write a document detailing his arguments. Skeeter
noticed how hard it was for African Americans. She argues “You said to write about what disturbs me,
particularly if it bothers no one else.” Skeeter is the only person in the film
who seems to show any sign of remorse for blacks. She manages to convince
Aibileen and Minny to get on board with her and soon gathers the attention of
other maids in the city.

Skeeters voice was heard throughout Jackson and she
finally managed to bet black people the respect they needed. Segregation was plaguing
the city and African American people were on their knees, but Skeeter finally brought
them justice. Her tactics reflected those of King who also fought for African American
equality and her she used her words just as Jefferson did when he argued for equality
from Great Britain. 

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