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View Diary: My Thoughts On "The Help" (236 comments)

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  •  I understand. (5+ / 0-)

    It's a fictional book, but I wonder how the reality was.  She wrote them as middle class I guess.  

    I bet there are statistics out there.  If I get time I'll look.

    It would make a good Ph.D thesis for a historian.  Determining the levels of service and how (or if) segregation and discrimination enabled some whites to have maids that they would not otherwise have had.  

    It fits concepts of herrenvcolk democracy in which whites have a rough equality and rights, a rough equality dependent on subordinating African Americans.  

    It would be fascinating research.  if only I had time.

    The American people must wise up and rise up!

    by TomP on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 11:11:11 AM PDT

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    •  I'd be interested in seeing them... (5+ / 0-)

      yes it is a fictional book.  Middle class people today, depending on where you live can afford someone to come in and "help."  

      But while we wait for stats, I'm comfortable going on what has been said here and for some time even before this book that having "help" isn't and wasn't an upper middle class or wealthy thing.  

      To slinkerwink's point, it still goes on today that people who are not upper middle class or wealthy can afford "help."

      I also lived in Texas, so I know that exploitation TODAY lends itself to making "help" affordable to not only the upper middle class or the wealthy but to the working middle class as well.  

      I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

      by princss6 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 11:17:14 AM PDT

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    •  That would really be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, emal

      fascinating research.

      Pick a roughly equal demographic - factory workers, middle management, etc. - in various areas. NE, south, LA, SF, TX, Chicago - and compare the types of help they had or didn't have.

      It would be interesting, to say the least.

      •  I think it may be more of a southern (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        texasmom, effervescent, wishingwell, emal

        or SW thing (exploitation of immigrants).

        I grew up with an auto-worker father and secretary mother in the 60s and we never had servants.  We'd have laughed if it were suggested.

        The American people must wise up and rise up!

        by TomP on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 11:55:13 AM PDT

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        •  The places where we've lived (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TomP, lgmcp, princss6, wishingwell

          many two-income families have help cleaning once a week and sometimes help with the heavy yard work.  None of them (us) ever considered them servants, though.  Most of us consciously trade off something (like restaurant lunches & overpriced coffee)  in order to afford the extra help.  

          This only applies from the mid-70's on, though.

          The truth always matters.

          by texasmom on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 12:55:02 PM PDT

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          •  Interesting. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            texasmom, wishingwell

            We hire teenagers to do grass cutting.  

            Just different I guess.

            I would feel really weird to have cleaning help.  

            The American people must wise up and rise up!

            by TomP on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:13:31 PM PDT

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            •  Not mowing - I even do that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TomP, princss6

              I'm talking about light tree-trimming, digging up extra "shoots" where we don't want more bushes and occasionally digging up volunteer trees so I can try to transplant them & keep them alive.  Not much success with that this year.   A few times a year we hire the same guys, who do it on the side.  One of them is a fireman.

              The truth always matters.

              by texasmom on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:23:39 PM PDT

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    •  Military personnel abroad (4+ / 0-)

      When I was a child, even the enlisted men's families could afford some help at foreign postings in countries with sufficiently depressed economies.  

      As I recall, most of them were awful to them.  I assumed at the time it was because the "help" were "natives/the Occupied" and thus at the bottom of the totem pole.  The wives of the senior officers were beastly to my mother, and their kids were beastly to my sister and me, more because of rank than because we were Asian (we heard those words from civilians).  The whole culture followed the Abusive Father Model to me.  My mother's theory was that most of the officer corps had no idea how to treat people because (sorry, but this is her opinion) they were underclass types taking vengeance for all the "betters" who'd ever made them feel worthless, by jacking around Third Worlders who had no recourse (plus they had no manners, full stop.)  Ugly never washes out ugly, any more than blood washes out blood.  And it's ugly no matter who does it.  

      BTW, some people managed to be decent, like my father's commander, so my mother wasn't going to cut anyone any slack for "what they'd gone through."  

      "A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds a purchaser!" -King Jugurtha of Numidia

      by LucyandByron on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:34:46 PM PDT

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      •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

        I think that is key...the depressed wages due to societal factors makes hiring "help" affordable.  The flip side is that the wages are so low that they are many times, not livable wages.  

        I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

        by princss6 on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 03:22:57 PM PDT

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