Stories Portrayed in 'The Help' Are True to Life

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley, writing about The Help, argues that proud black women who kept white people's homes and raised white children had no reason to be ashamed.

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Viola Davis in The Help (DreamWorks)

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley, writing about The Help, says that proud black women who kept white people's homes and raised white children had no reason to be ashamed. 

I so wanted to read the book that I accidentally bought it twice -- when it was first published and again when Viola Davis began filming the lead role.

But I hadn't picked up either copy of "The Help" by the time friends invited me to see the movie based on the book about a young, white writer who convinces black maids in her Mississippi hometown to share tales of the wretched treatment they suffered under white socialites.

I had been debating the film for weeks with friends, with Facefriends, with barely friends.

Some were anguished because black characters in movies are so often drug dealers, prostitutes or bad cops, and this was another major motion picture featuring them only as maids.

I disagreed with that reaction, partly because the profession of housekeeper and substitute mother is not the same as drug dealer or prostitute. The proud black women who kept white people's homes and raised white children had no reason to be ashamed.

Read Rochelle Riley's entire column at the Detroit Free Press.

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