Shockingly Totally predictably, not everyone feels the love for the new racially charged drama "The Help." In a statement issued today, The Association of Black Women Historians urged fans of both the best-selling novel and the feature film to reconsider their attitude towards this tale of African American maids in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi.
In the story, maids share their experiences with an ambitious white journalist (played by Emma Stone), thereby putting their jobs, and a lot more, on the line.
"Despite efforts to market the book and the film as a progressive story of triumph over racial injustice, 'The Help' distorts, ignores and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers," the statement read.
More specifically, the association cites (white) novelist Kathryn Stockett's use of "black" dialect, her lack of attention to the sexual harassment that many black workers suffered at the hands of their employers, and the blanket portrayal of black men as cruel or absent, Entertainment Weekly relates.
That said, they do praise one element of the film: the black actresses Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who give "stellar performances," according to the group of scholars.
Davis seemed to anticipate the controversy, having said that she too approached the project with suspicion, but conceded that she was won over by the deep humanity of the characters. For now, no one in the association shares Davis' sentiments, and it seems unlikely they'll come around anytime soon.