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View Full Version : The Help, Mississippi race relations, and paternalism



Yorkist
10-26-2013, 10:22 AM
I hope I don't make any boneheaded errors here. I am pretty good with checking my privilege binders, but I'm only a fallible human. And I truly think I do not have a single bone in my body that judges people for their color (hell, I rarely notice color though I am getting better about not being colorblind), though I may "other" people for different reasons, like cultural ones. So know that my heart is in the right place. I also have a personal question for the end.

Anyway. I really want my fellow AW'ers thoughts on this, particularly those of people of color.

I was talking to a friend earlier tonight and she had something kind of profound to say about The Help. I, like I am guessing most of the rest of us do, have a lot of problems with that book. But my friend pointed out one thing that the book and even the movie totally nailed, which is the particular racial dynamic of Mississippi.

Most probably know this, but MS has, by far, the highest percentage of black folks of any state in the U.S. We're about half and half. So it is literally impossible for a white person to grow up without black schoolmates and teachers. To reach adulthood without having black neighbors and colleagues and bosses. And vice versa. We are integrated - there is no other choice.

Someone brought up tokens recently, and I had to do a bit of mental work to figure out, okay, which of my friends are PoC's? It's at least a third at any given moment. It's only not more along that 50-50 ratio because it seems like comic books and SF/F are mostly a white people thing at the moment. (No wonder, considering the lack of good PoC representation in those genres.)

So yeah, that's the background. Furthermore, we in Mississippi have a ton of "mammies" (God, I hate this word). I am talking a black lady who takes care of us when we are kids or elderly, who makes our meals and cleans a little and is like a second mother. IIRC, this is the reason that JFK sent older black ladies to do voter registrations - frat boys aren't going to attack their surrogate mommas. It's more like, "Don't touch Miss Emma! And if I piss her off she might give me a whoopin'!"

Onto The Help. I think the author nailed this. Like, white and black people generally love each other, on an individual level. A friend of mine says southerners hate the race and love the individual, and northerners love the race but hate the individual. To the northern aspect, I can't speak of that. But as to the southern one, absolutely. There are tons of white people here that are vocally racist, who are all: "I hate n*****s. Oh, except my friend. And my mechanic. And my coworker. And especially my 'mammy.'"

However, it seems like white people here - racist ones - get really pissed when the black folks get too "uppity." Like, if they make too much money, or make it too far up the institutional heirarchy. Words cannot describe my disgust for this attitude. (FTR, my second favorite boss ever was a black dude, and third was a black chica.)

I think The Help nailed this dynamic so perfectly with that one scene where the housekeeper's daughter came in and interrupted that DAR meeting or whatever the hell it was. (Seriously, would it not for Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis' outstanding performances, I would not have made it through that shitefest of a film.)

WDYT?

Also, the personal bit. My parents have a housekeeper - let's call her Rolanda. Well, my classist mother likes to call her "maid" a lot, and has IMO made a couple of moves that affronted her dignity. But I am a different person. I have never, ever treated her as anything lesser. I clean alongside Rolanda when that cleaning has anything to do with my mess. I ask her for almost nothing except helping me find my keys (which I lose frequently, damn ADD) and clean out my car every once and a blue moon.

I buy her lunches and make a point of cooking her favorite dishes of mine whenever I am visiting my parents. She and I frequently smoke cigarettes on the porch and discuss racism, Barack Obama, and our irritation with our spouses. She knows a lot about me - shit, she has been with us since I was ten years old - and kept a lot of personal shit I told her from my parents.

To my parents' credit, they take care of her well. She is not being paid under the table - she is paying into social security. She's paid $10 an hour, and that goes pretty far in the Mississippi delta, one of the poorest parts of the U.S. We give her cars when we're done with them and pay for her cell phone and car insurance. When it's clear she needs clothes, my mom takes her shopping and pays for everything, which does not detract from her paycheck.

She sets her own hours, and we find her other work when we can.

She is also functionally illiterate and even more financially illiterate. She doesn't have many other opportunities. I sincerely wish she had more. And she is over fifty so they won't come.

I hate this. I mean, I am glad that in our business transaction and personal relationship, she is well taken care of. But I want better for her. And I am really uncomfortable with this dynamic where she is totally dependent on us for her livelihood.

There's not much for her that I can do. I mean, I go through my closet regularly to give her really nice clothes and coats for her daughter, once they no longer fit, for my weight fluctuates a lot. Not talking ragged, threadbare stuff - really expensive clothes.

But I just realize I do not even know her birthday. I am thinking a nice present or, maybe even better, a homemade cake. Because my baking is freaking awesome.

But for her daughter I just may be able to do something. I could provide a little economic guidance. Girl is 17 and about to be a single mom. This, I can help with. I know education well.

What do y'all think?

And remember, I am totally posting with the perspective of a white person. I need PoC thoughts.

mccardey
10-26-2013, 10:34 AM
I can't give you a PoC response, but I can give you an Australian one, and perhaps that's almost as good being just as foreign?

The way you describe your relationship with your parent's employee sounds really odd to me - not at all anything I can get my head around. In Australia, if one hires a cleaner or home help or au pair (most dual income families do now, I think) one pays him or her (usually her) according to the contract and she or he does what ever work has been agreed on in the contract. I doubt that would include cleaning the car out. Finding the car-keys would be a favour she does for you because she can. I can't imagine the giving of used clothes would go down well at all.

I'd be cautious of offering economic guidance to your parents employees daughter. I suspect both daughter and employee would find it more than a little offensive. I know I would.

ETA: I'm bothered because your post reads to me as though your parents employee is someone you look on with pity and a desire to 'elevate'. I'm not sure that's how she'd see herself. It's sure as hell not how I saw myself when I was a home help and nanny. I'll be interested to read the PoC responses,though - it might be a cultural (I mean USA/Australian cultural) thing.

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 10:58 AM
Mccardey, let me assure you there is NO pity.

Also, as for economic guidance. I graduated from a top ten business school. My husband, my grandfather, and my great aunt were academics. My uncle, aunt, and half of my cousins are educators. We are simply up-to-date on the facts on the ground. It is expertise I offer everyone I know. I wrote half a book about the subject myself. So this would be more like, say, a doctor friend offering personal health advice than coming down from on high like we are experts and she knows nothing, kwim?

Also, Rolanda LOVES the clothes, as does her daughter. They are really nice things - some that have never been worn. I have GREAT taste in fashion, too.

ETA: And of course it sounds odd to you because you are not from Mississippi! :)

ETA2: On economic guidance, I brought this to her earlier today. There was no offense that I could see. She sounded grateful. This is really more like my solicited-or-not tax help than preaching.

mccardey
10-26-2013, 11:01 AM
Even so, a doctor would usually offer advice as part of a paid-for professional arrangement, wouldn't she? Or perhaps after she'd been asked for advice by a friend. But not on the basis of her role as the daughter of the advisee's mother's employer.

ETA: Again - this isn't a PoC response. It's just the response of an Aussie who worked for many,many years as a nanny and home help. (Also - I hired nannies and home helps. And for a couple of years in Asia I had a live-in maid, but it wasn't my fault and it's a very long story...)

Chris P
10-26-2013, 11:04 AM
Good to see you coming back around on AW, Yorkist.

As a whitebread midwesterner (we had 370 kids in my graduating class, three were black. We had more Asians in my town) where "they" were a mysterious class of people we saw on TV or who lived in Chicago, my eleven years in the hill country of northeast Mississippi isn't going to be typical of PoC or southerners. I've also not read The Help or seen the movie.

But I think your friend is right on about northern versus southern attitudes about racial acceptance. My take on the modern white resentments against PoC is that they are competing for jobs. Poor economic times often lead to an increase in racial tensions and even racial legislation. Hence the backlash against successful blacks: they'll get in power and give all the goodies to other blacks just because they are black instead of based on merit. When Coach Croom started as football coach at Mississippi State, a white guy (based on his voice, anyway) called in to a radio talk show and asked if Croom was going to hire any European Americans on his staff. But the other side of that coin is a successful black person is respected just fine as long as they don't "act black." My take on modern (as opposed to pre-1970) southern (as opposed to northern) racism is one of culture than color. A white person who acted black would be equally shunned, I think. "Why can't they just act right? Why do they gotta give their kids unpronouncable names? No employer will ever hire that kid. And why do they spend more money on their cars than their houses?" (Yes, I have heard, verbatim, these comments.)

I'm not sure what to say about Rolanda, as I've not had housekeepers, and I don't even have a house girl here and Uganda is not Mississippi in any way (the racial dynamic is totally different here). I sometimes wonder if I should hire someone, as there is no shame in paying someone a fair wage for work that needs to be done. Their families would sure appreciate the income! It's just the whole "great white man with a troupe of African servants" just seems wrong to me and I don't want to be seen that way. I felt the same way in Mississippi, too. Charity just to (speaking of myself here) assuage racial guilt doesn't move me beyond old attitudes I didn't know I had. Sorry I'm not really getting to your comments, but still trying to process all this for myself.

lolchemist
10-26-2013, 11:08 AM
(POV of a non-white middle eastern Muslim lady who doesn't like the term POC but has to tolerate it anyway)

You are asking us what our opinions are of your personal life and I don't know if that's an appropriate topic for discussion in a writing forum. (But unless a mod has a problem with it, I don't see why we can't go a bit OT and try to help you with this.)

Since you posted this in the POC forum, I guess the question for you to ask yourself is "Would I still go out of my way to do all of these things if this lady was white?"

If the answer is yes, then this isn't a POC problem. It's a problem that the economy sucks and that your heart is too big and too soft. Have faith that if your entire family including you died tomorrow Rolonda and her daughter would be just fine. They would find another family to work for or a different kind of job. This woman didn't get to the age of 50 and raise a 17 year old daughter by being a helpless idiot. She's found a good employer who gives her a lot, but it's not like she won the lottery, I'm sure she can find another family just like yours who will buy her clothes and give her used cars and bake her cakes. Really, one of the Real Houewives of Miami gave her maid a TUMMY TUCK as a present. Your family is slackin', boo.

mccardey
10-26-2013, 11:25 AM
(POV of a non-white middle eastern Muslim lady who doesn't like the term POC but has to tolerate it anyway:)

You are asking us what our opinions are of your personal life and I don't know if that's an appropriate topic for discussion in a writing forum. (But unless a mod has a problem with it, I don't see why we can't go a bit OT and try to help you with this.)

Since you posted this in the POC forum, I guess the question for you to ask yourself is "Would I still go out of my way to do all of these things if this lady was white?"

If the answer is yes, then this isn't a POC problem. It's a problem that the economy sucks and that your heart is too big and too soft. Have faith that if your entire family including you died tomorrow Rolonda and her daughter would be just fine. They would find another family to work for or a different kind of job. This woman didn't get to the age of 50 and raise a 17 year old daughter by being a helpless idiot. She's found a good employer who gives her a lot, but it's not like she won the lottery, I'm sure she can find another family just like yours who will buy her clothes and give her used cars and bake her cakes. Really, one of the Real Houewives of Miami gave her maid a TUMMY TUCK as a present. Your family is slackin', boo.

Oh, this says it well. For the record I never gave any of my home helps a car, used or otherwise. Nor did anyone give me one when I was a nanny and home help. So perhaps, yes, it's a Mississippi thing? (Note to self: in next life, nanny in Mississippi...)

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:31 AM
Chris P, word to your post. Every bit of it.


Even so, a doctor would usually offer advice as part of a paid-for professional arrangement, wouldn't she? Or perhaps after she'd been asked for advice by a friend. But not on the basis of her role as the daughter of the advisee's mother's employer.

ETA: Again - this isn't a PoC response. It's just the response of an Aussie who worked for many,many years as a nanny and home help. (Also - I hired nannies and home helps. And for a couple of years in Asia I had a live-in maid, but it wasn't my fault and it's a very long story...)

A further point on my relationship with my housekeeper.

We had a frank talk today about her daughter, who is about to have a kid. Rolanda asked me about options for her daughter and her future, because she knows I am in the know. She wants a better life for her. So I gave her all the information I had about her best options.

On the clothes. Every year I go through my coats and pick out the best and nicest one I think will flatter her daughter the most - the last one was winter white, the one before lavender. I think this is less about charity than it is about the fact that Rolanda seriously hates shopping, lol.


in a writing forum. (But unless a mod has a problem with it, I don't see why we can't go a bit OT and try to help you with this.)

Since you posted this in the POC forum, I guess the question for you to ask yourself is "Would I still go out of my way to do all of these things if this lady was white?"

If the answer is yes, then this isn't a POC problem. It's a problem that the economy sucks and that your heart is too big and too soft.

Yep, white or black or purple makes no difference.

I feel much better now. Thank you guys.

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:33 AM
Also, nothing about The Help? Really? Fuck that movie and book, too, other than the bit I noted.

mccardey
10-26-2013, 11:35 AM
Also, nothing about The Help? Really? Fuck that movie and book, too, other than the bit I noted.

I haven't read it - sorry. Or seen it.

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:47 AM
I haven't read it - sorry. Or seen it.

My advice: don't.

The book is alright. The film's only redeeming features are VD's and OS's performances. Otherwise I would have walked out.

mccardey
10-26-2013, 11:48 AM
My advice: don't.

The book is alright. The film's only redeeming features are VD's and OS's performances. Otherwise I would have walked out.

Don't be coy, child - who are VD and OS?

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:59 AM
Don't be coy, child - who are VD and OS?

Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Wonderful, incredible actresses.

lolchemist
10-26-2013, 12:32 PM
Haha sorry I haven't watched/read it yet either. I'm just NOT in the mood to see a movie about racism lately, it will only agitate me. I get irrationally angry on behalf of the mistreated characters, even though it's just fiction.

ellio
10-26-2013, 06:56 PM
What was your problem with The Help, Yorkist?
The main complaints I've heard about it were that it put a white women in a "white saviour" role and didn't let the black characters behave with much agency.

In retaliation to lolchemist's point, I think the question you should really be asking yourself is "Would I still go out of my way to do all of these things if I wasn't white?"
White people are used to seeing themselves in the saviour role and being charity givers. It's in many ways more acceptable for a white person to be charitable than a PoC, because PoCs are always depicted as the people in need of charity.

I'm from the UK and we just don't have jobs like that available. If you're lucky you have a cleaner who cleans your house and house only but you do the rest of the damn work yourself. However, I have one point of reference - I have a black Aunt in Arizona with a Mexican maid. The dynamic between them is incredibly different. My Aunt would feel insincere and ostentatious if she gave her maid more than her wages and her maid would feel damn insulted if she tried. They got on, laugh together, have a friendship, but they do not cross that charity boundary. Everything the maid gets from my Aunt is what she has earned.

For my Aunt, (and to be honest me, other members of my family, most PoCs I know that are something that isn't poor) attempting to be charitable almost always leaves her with two responses: 1) Guilt in taking her charity, because they don't see her wealth as permanent like they would in a white person. 2) Anger that she is offering it, because it means that a PoC (who is meant to be poor, worse off, etc) is doing better than them, and it certifies their failure.

Something to think about.

It also might be worth baring in mind that if her daughter is expecting a child then shoving education down her throat might actually be kind of unhelpful/rude. Children are very stressful to deal with and require a lot of time. Some people can't manage to juggle education and work and child care, especially with very young children. Fundamentally, it is the daughter's choice what she does no matter what her mother wants for her. Make sure you give her advice sincerely and not just because her mother has told you to. Economic guidance is very good too, but also bare in mind that her mother earns $10 an hour. Even if her mother is financially illiterate, her daughter will have grown up with that low income wage too and will have learnt a lot faster than a more privileged child how to save money and cut corners. Trust me.

Captcha
10-26-2013, 07:17 PM
I'm white, with a white cleaning lady (she only comes a couple times a week, so the relationship isn't as close, but it's as close as I've got!)

I pay my cleaning lady $25 an hour. Now, it's only two days a week, so she should be getting paid a BIT more than someone who's full time, probably, but I'm surprised that I'm paying her 2.5 times more than you're paying. Different economic zones, obviously, but I'm in a rural area with a lot of unemployment (at least seasonally) so not THAT different.

And this woman's been working for me for only a year or so, not decades. (The woman who took care of my old house, when I was in an area with more employment, charged $30 an hour.)

I guess the point of all these comparisons is that $10 seems low. And I guess it seems low to your family, too, or they wouldn't feel the need to give her old cars and take her shopping for clothes.

What's the incentive for doing things that way? Your mom takes the woman shopping for clothes when your mom thinks the woman needs them? Why wouldn't your mom just pay the woman more and let her decide when she needs new clothes? If she's using the phone and car for work I can see why your family would pay those expenses, but unless she's wearing a uniform for work I cannot understand why that would be a traditional benefit of employment.

I would never think of giving my cleaning lady my old car, or my old clothes. I sell my old cars, and I give my clothes to charity. I don't like the idea of giving these things to my cleaning lady instead of paying her a living wage. It sounds like doing that would absolutely encourage the paternalism you reference in your thread title. She's not a child, and she doesn't need charity - she just does her job, and I pay her for it.

LJ Hall
10-26-2013, 09:37 PM
I'm kind of at a loss over this whole post, frankly. Is this some sort of social experiment where you talk shit about The Help and then forward a scenario that feels like a modern-day version of The Help? Like, is it satire? I mean.

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:08 PM
Ellio, I think the dynamic is way different in Mississippi than in New Mexico. I had a boss that brought me watermelons from his patch every summer. My husband's brings herbs from her garden when they get abundant, and I make them all cakes for no random reason.

We just like, swap and give a lot. My housekeeper at my husband's house is white and our neighbor, and I gave her some art she liked and furniture and she was way happy about it. She worked for some of it as barter but I insisted the art was a gift. We drink much booze together, and grill out every weekend nearly. We are friends way before employer/employee.


What's the incentive for doing things that way? Your mom takes the woman shopping for clothes when your mom thinks the woman needs them? Why wouldn't your mom just pay the woman more and let her decide when she needs new clothes? If she's using the phone and car for work I can see why your family would pay those expenses, but unless she's wearing a uniform for work I cannot understand why that would be a traditional benefit of employment.

Because my mom loves shopping, that's why. Rolanda often accompanies her on shopping trips. As for the $10 an hour - first, I have no idea if that figure is accurate because I don't pay her, my mom does. Second, well, I think that's the going rate down here. Supply and demand decides that stuff, not my mom or me. *shrug* Beats me, guys.

And no, this is not satire. The part about my housekeeper took over, but this is mostly about racial politics in Mississippi, and The Help.

As for what I hated so much about it? I think the movie was worse than the book, but what really got to me was the fried chicken scene. First of all, fuck that they made that whole "black people = love fried chicken" racist piece of crap reference ugh.

Second, there is no way a white girl of that age that did not come from privilege, in Mississippi, cannot fry her own chicken. She'd have a family recipe. Trust me on this. So this just kind of doubles the "black people = chicken" stereotype, right?

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:22 PM
Okay, you know what irritated me so much about that fried chicken scene? Yeah, it makes the black people = fried chicken reference, which pisses me off every time. And yeah, any white girl in that age and in that time, much less one that grew up less than well-off, would know how to fry her own damn chicken.

There's another dimension in play here. You know all those ugly stereotypes about what black folks like to eat - not just fried chicken but collard greens and barbecue and stuff? Yeah, all those stereotypes come from northerners. These aren't really "black people foods" (as the stereotype goes) so much as southern people foods.

So that means that, not only did they put in a bit of falsehood to perpetuate a stereotype, but they let fucking Yankees make that movie, and whenever Yankees try to make a movie about the south, they screw up.

Remember A Time To Kill, when everyone was sweating profusely like the South does not have freaking air conditioning? Yeah, like that. We're more likely to have air conditioning down here than anywhere else in the U.S. Considering our late summer temperatures are typically in the high nineties, it's a necessity.

escritora
10-26-2013, 11:23 PM
I feel much better now. Thank you guys.

Why do you feel much better? I read the responses and am not sure where a switch flipped for you.

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:27 PM
Why do you feel much better? I read the responses and am not sure where a switch flipped for you.

That I'd have the same relationship with my housekeeper were she white. And since I now have a white housekeeper (she was my friend way before I employed her services), and do the same sort of stuff... Hell, I do that same sort of stuff for everybody. I'm just kind of a giving person, I guess. Maybe it's just southern culture.

LJ Hall
10-26-2013, 11:28 PM
Why do you feel much better? I read the responses and am not sure where a switch flipped for you.

Seriously. Have you actually noticed that not a single Black American has responded to this post?

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:36 PM
Seriously. Have you actually noticed that not a single Black American has responded to this post?

I don't know what color everyone is behind their avatars.

Backing away, though.

Captcha
10-26-2013, 11:38 PM
I'm a little confused by your family dynamics - your husband's house isn't yours? And you still make messes at your parents' house? I don't mean that it's any of my business, just that I'm having trouble figuring out what's going on, exactly.

In terms of The Help - I read the book, didn't see the movie. Nothing about fried chicken jumped out at me, but I definitely noticed the generous white saviour helping the poor black people to be free (all while stealing their stories for her own professional advancement). If the part of the story that's the most aggravating to you is something about chicken, I'm a bit confused.

But if you've got someone at your husband's house (?) to compare things to, I guess that might be useful for the 'examination of paternalism in domestic employment' aspect of your post.

Do you clean up your own messes at your husband's house, even though there's someone employed to perform that service? Do you (or your husband?) pay the white employee roughly the same amount as your parents pay the black employee for doing the same job? Do you give the white employee your old cars, and clothes? Do you take her shopping when you think her clothes are getting raggedy?

I mean, there's something about the relationship described in your first post that seems really paternalistic to me. Whether it's paternalism based on race or on class, I can't tell. Maybe a comparison of the two relationships will help you figure that out.

Yorkist
10-26-2013, 11:46 PM
Captcha, I don't want to talk about my housekeeper anymore because I don't want anyone getting upset with me. I visit my parents frequently. And yes, my white housekeeper, we give each other stuff all the time. We're friends first. Is the relationship with my parents' housekeeper, on their part, paternalistic - yes. Totally. I just don't know what to do about it. I don't want to be a white savior, but play a part as a white ally. That's pretty much all I'm going to say about that.

The Help. It's not that the fried chicken scene was what bothered me the most about the movie. It was just the WTF facepalm moment for me. This may just be because I think about food more than I think about racism. (I am kind of food obsessed.) Plus, I just seen The Blind Side, which was not only racist but egregiously stupid.

However, I agree entirely about The Help. White savior? Check. Stealing other people's stories for her professional advancement? Check. Yeah, I was not at all happy with that film. I hear the book isn't as bad, though. Not having read it I can't make a claim either way.

Personal note, but I do hate that a movie filmed in my hometown had to suck.

LJ Hall
10-26-2013, 11:59 PM
...I still think this must be satire of some kind.

escritora
10-27-2013, 12:07 AM
That I'd have the same relationship with my housekeeper were she white. And since I now have a white housekeeper (she was my friend way before I employed her services), and do the same sort of stuff... Hell, I do that same sort of stuff for everybody. I'm just kind of a giving person, I guess. Maybe it's just southern culture.

You were friends with your housekeeper before she was your housekeeper. The dynamics are different than with your parent's housekeeper. Don't let yourself off the hook just yet.

Captcha asked good questions. No need to answer them on the forum. But it's probably a good idea to think long and hard about them.

ellio
10-27-2013, 12:10 AM
...I still think this must be satire of some kind.

Yeah, I'm completely lost about what the point of this thread is. What is it you want us to discuss, Yorkist? Because I was getting the vibe that you just wanted us to cosign giving your housekeeper free clothes.

Yorkist
10-27-2013, 12:24 AM
Yeah, I'm completely lost about what the point of this thread is. What is it you want us to discuss, Yorkist? Because I was getting the vibe that you just wanted us to cosign giving your housekeeper free clothes.

Nope. I wanted to discuss The Help and how, while sucking, did a good job at depicting the peculiar racial dynamics and racism of Mississippi. The bit about my housekeeper was a personal lightbulb moment.

Truly sorry for being scattered. I just found out my father has Parkinson's Disease, my dog has fatal cancer. And I have been dealing with a truly epic nightmare with the IRS. So my posting quality may not be at its best, kwim?

Rina Evans
10-27-2013, 12:24 AM
It seems to me that you have a more personal relationship than simply an exchange your services. And you give stuff you can, which are taken with gratitude. You said you would act the same regardless of race, and you don't look down on her.

I don't see a problem with it. I might be embarrassed to be given second-hand clothes, but I have taken them gratefully when I saw good intentions. I really don't see an issue. But it's also how things are here. People meddle and employers take much more personal roles in their employees lives.

Yorkist
10-27-2013, 12:29 AM
It seems to me that you have a more personal relationship than simply an exchange your services. And you give stuff you can, which are taken with gratitude. You said you would act the same regardless of race, and you don't look down on her.

I don't see a problem with it. I might be embarrassed to be given second-hand clothes, but I have taken them gratefully when I saw good intentions. I really don't see an issue. But it's also how things are here. People meddle and employers take much more personal roles in their employees lives.

As to the first bit, exactly. Rolanda watched me grow up. It doesn't seem to embarrass her. It's just that when we get everything together for our annual Goodwill trip, she usually helps me (I have a mild disability that makes this hard), and if she sees something she likes or her daughter would, it is hers. These are almost always coats, because I have notably great taste in outerwear. So it is more like familial closet raiding than charity?

And yes. People in the South just do stuff for each other all the time.

LJ Hall
10-27-2013, 01:02 AM
As to the first bit, exactly. Rolanda watched me grow up. It doesn't seem to embarrass her. It's just that when we get everything together for our annual Goodwill trip, she usually helps me (I have a mild disability that makes this hard), and if she sees something she likes or her daughter would, it is hers. These are almost always coats, because I have notably great taste in outerwear. So it is more like familial closet raiding than charity?

And yes. People in the South just do stuff for each other all the time.

I grew up in Alabama. There is no universal 'people in the south' behavior. Don't be so quick to turn your personal choices into a cultural thing.

Eh, I'm backing out of this post.

escritora
10-27-2013, 01:11 AM
On the clothes. Every year I go through my coats and pick out the best and nicest one I think will flatter her daughter the most - the last one was winter white, the one before lavender. I think this is less about charity than it is about the fact that Rolanda seriously hates shopping, lol.
It doesn't seem to embarrass her. It's just that when we get everything together for our annual Goodwill trip, she usually helps me (I have a mild disability that makes this hard), and if she sees something she likes or her daughter would, it is hers. These are almost always coats...I won't comment on the reason I think the story changed because it will be speculation. But I did notice the change and am pointing it out.

I'm joining LJ.

Yorkist
10-27-2013, 01:16 AM
Esc, we actually do it together (usually, anyway), but I do inject my thoughts about colors, for I am a color person. Since I now live in Tennessee, it's usually just me now.

I've done the same with friends, by the by.

And I'm backing out of this thread, too. I really just wanted to discuss The Help. Since no one else does, if a moderator would close this thread, I would be grateful.