As white people, we are used to representations of ourselves crowding the covers of magazines, crowning the posters of newly released films. The good guys are white, we have learned, after eons of our faces being plastered under cowboy hats and in impeccable Bond suits. White men are Superman, we have learned. White men are Ethan Hunt and Neo and white men are hobbits. Bad men, we have learned, are black. They’re gang bangers and thugs and talk loud and sometimes deliver funny lines where we laugh at their Otherness. Black men aren’t heroes, we learn. Our imagination and subconscious are so saturated with white supremacist notions of goodness, beauty, and heroism, that when confronted head-on with an image of a black man who is brilliant and kind and normal and who saves the day, we transform into robotic versions of ourselves: Does… not… compute. Hero… must be… white. It’s this line of thinking that turned Disney’s Princess Tiana into an animal for 95 percent of the movie. The collective white imagination had difficulty imagining a black girl as a princess… and so she became a frog.
Olivia Cole - “Hunger Games and the Limits of White Imagination”
The specter of violence surrounds them, though it all occurs off stage whether it’s the assassination of a black leader or domestic violence visited upon a maid by her husband. The total lack of physical consequences for the maids’ courageous act of literary civil disobedience is historically absurd though it does fit with the sanitized tone of the movie. People who argue that it’s a realistic movie are incorrect: the men of Jackson would have killed several of these maids. The happy ending we get—Viola Davis’s Aibileen walking home unharmed as the screen fades to black—is fraudulent and so surreally absurd as to be Dali-esque.
For me, watching The Help was like visual waterboarding. Still, Viola Davis should win the Oscar for Best Actress
Anything all black is for black people. But things all white are for everybody!
My biggest problem is that there is simply no creativity in movies with black casts at all. White people are 12 year old wizards, teens with crushes on vampires and werewolves, fighting blue people, talking fish and toys, and yet the best we get is a movie about the genteel south? Someone please make a movie about two black folks falling in love at a rock concert or a feature film about Storm from X-Men discovering her power, or something, ANYTHING, that goes beyond Black Pain (TM) / White Saviour (TM) movies. Sheesh.