The Help
Déjá Vu

When I picked up Ginger’s comforters, I was talking to Sherry, my seamstress, about Donald the Dumb. The list of truly stupid things he says and repeats really rattles me. I went off on Donald the Dumb’s issue of racism connected to Muslims and Mexicans. The next thing Sherry did was go to her desk and retrieve a CD. She gave the comforters and said, “Watch the film!”

The Help

I thanked Shelly for Ginger’s comforters and the CD. As I was driving home, I glanced at the box. To be honest, looking at the scene on the cover, I wasn’t excited about watching it. Was I wrong.

After putting Ginger’s comforters on her various beds and divans throughout the house and doing some online teaching, I finally got around to watching the CD. Man, what occurred was an extremely déjá vu moment that I hadn’t thought about for half a century. After finishing graduate school, I went to study at New College of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in the late 60s. New College was the school of theology and quite conservative, which I didn’t mind. I wanted the experience of studying overseas, and, besides, I am Scottish.

I rented a flat for the academic year and went to classes. However, I happened to meet several other Americans who were working on their doctorates at that time. Two of them were very conservative, which was why they were at New College. They were both from Jackson, MS during the time of the civil rights movement. We were all married and met together occasionally during the year. While we weren’t on the same page theologically, I could deal with that…more or less. However, I had trouble dealing with their wives who were superficial and disconnected from what I considered the real world.

The year in Scotland was enjoyable but not because of the Americans. I traveled all over Scotland and loved my time in Scotland. In the half century since my time in Edinburgh, I haven’t thought about those American students nor their wives.

However, it didn’t take but a moment to remember the Americans at the University of Edinburgh as I watched The Help. Even as I am writing this essay, my mind morphs between the movie and the wives of those two students. It is not a great memory. The movie took place ironically in Jackson, MS where the students came from in the States.

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s déjá vu all over again.

When I returned the CD to Sherry, I vented about my déjá vu experience. I went on about Donald the Dumb regarding racism tied to Mexicans and Muslims. There is no substantive difference between what he says and what the Southern segregationists said a half century ago about blacks. Walling those others out of the ethnically white world that the Donald wants to do is no different than walling blacks into a segregated world a half century ago. I wasn’t going along with it back then, and I won’t now. All that Donald the Dumb has done is to change the ethnic groups.

In closing, I wish to share with you an insight. If you are discriminated against like Donald the Dumb and the deplorables, whites can help. In the movie, there was a white woman, Skeeter, that did help. However, if you feel discriminated against by the wealthy whites of the world, don’t sit back waiting for some caring whites to change it. You need to get involved and act. The help in Jackson, MS got involved and acted.

Skeeter talked to the help, but the help acted.

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