The movie starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone, describes the story of a white woman, Eugina ‘Skeeter’ Phelan, documenting the stories from housemaids in Jackson, Mississipi. It was a good movie adaption, one of the better ones that I have seen. Several changes I did not like, but they still didn’t take away from the point of the story. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer really brought to life the two main maids in the story. However, the book was the point of origin, so that’s where I’ll start.
Many words come to mind when describing the book, written by Kathryn Stockett. Sensational might be one, phenomenal might be another. But there is one word that stands out for me in this. One, single word, simple yet the most complicated thing on Earth. A word, echoing throughout this piece, sometimes a whisper, sometimes a scream, but there, all the same. This word, is what defines this book, and makes it stand out. This word is what makes this book personal, to every single human being on this planet. This word is what made me cry, and made my heart swell with sadness and joy.
A concept seemingly impossible for some. However, I admire Kathryn Stockett for writing this. She didn’t dampen the devastation caused by white people during the Civil Rights era. She didn’t downplay the hardship suffered and raw fear felt by black people – and black women – in those times. Each word is a harsh stab toward the façade which some people have built around black history, and I admire her for doing so. As a white woman, it mustn’t have been easy. What struck me was the ignorance of some of the people. I guess that’s what prompted me to write this post so fast. The ignorance disgusted me. The invisible boundary, created in people’s minds, of what one must and mustn’t do, defined by the colour of one’s skin, was simply taken as truth, because someone said it was.. Even people who were seemingly ‘kind’ to the opposite race, were unknowlingly the most racist of them all, because of their ignorance. Sometimes, I find myself reminding that this wasn’t just a book. It was truth.
I found myself looking at society. How many things do we take for granted as the truth, despite us not even having experienced the said things? We see things on television or read articles in the newspare, and we automatically assume ‘Well, if they say it is true, then it must be.’ It is this kind of behaviour that has lead to disasterous consequences, some of which are evident in history and still affect us today.
This book has shown me that not everyone is oblivious to this truth. Not everyone is willing to keep it quiet. And not everyone is content with the ignorance of society. So thank you, Kathryn Stockett. Thank you.
Until next time,