Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Help and other thoughts on Race

Whew, for the past week I have been nearly constantly mulling over race and racism and my heart. And I'm going to be honest, it makes me uncomfortable and nervous. It all started with this post : This is not really about cake.

I really thought it was great for me to read and my initial thoughts were that I need to start talking about race more openly with those of a different race than myself so that we can understand one another better. That was the end.

Until a few hours later.

See, the weekend before I went to see The Help. I wanted to see it because I had read the book a while back and really liked it. Before going I read an article by the Association of Black Women Historians, so i went in with what I thought was a critical eye. However, after the movie was over I was sure that those who had written the article had not seen the movie because for every concern they had there seemed to be an easy response.

What she (and so many in the comments) had said about the movie made it seem offensive and I really began to worry that I am so white privileged that it makes me insensitive and apparently ignorant. Which then made me concerned because I am the mother of a little black girl. Which means that I need to get it and worry, worry, worry. I mean, if I can't even see blatant racism, how will I ever help my daughter deal with it. I have really worked myself up about it all over this movie!

So I spent the next few days reading other blogs on race (because the one that I linked spurred on quite a few more) and basically I am confused. No one says the same thing. The only thing I could get a consistent reading on was that The Help is offensive, but then my African American pastor suggested it? UGH!

I was really worked up about it by the time we went on our morning run on Monday, so I unloaded it all on my friend Sarah. Her response was, "And that's why you are going to teach her to find her identity in Christ alone." I found myself arguing in my head (because I am incredibly stubborn) that the world is just so tough, it can't be that simple, or how can I teach her that when I won't understand what she is dealing with. But luckily we were dropping her off at her house at that point so I was able to just walk home with that thought. And really that is it isn't it.

No, I am never going to be able to really understand what it is like to be a woman of color in the southern U.S. I will probably get some things wrong and ignorantly be insensitive at times (although I will work my hardest to not be ignorant). What parent doesn't? But really, truly, the answer is Jesus. I can't find my identity in my skin color, in fact, these past few research-filled days have left me a little ashamed. So neither can my daughter. That would explain why my pastor and other believers who are people of color can endorse the movie. They are not so caught up in their identity being their skin color that they are able to see the good qualities and look past any insensitivities that the white writer and director may have overlooked.

I am so thankful for sweet, godly friends who help to put things into perspective. I am thankful that I do not have to find my identity in my skin color or where I live or anything but Jesus! I still want help sifting through racial issues. I want to understand. I don't want to be ignorant and insensitive (more on that later). But I am thankful that I have the blood of Jesus to cover me when I am.


Kelsey Cherry said...

I love reading your blog Kris! Love you all. :) And that sweet baby.. I can not wait to see her again!

Sarah Autry said...

Great post! Totally agree with your thoughts on finding your identity in Christ, I had never looked at the racism issue that way.

PS. totally loved The Help (maybe that makes me ignorant too)

Anonymous said...

Great post! What a wonderful perspective to have.

P.S. I miss you lots.

P.P.S. I finally turned in my membership paperwork! Yay me!