The Help has its heart in the right place, and its “White” imagining of the Black women’s voice springs from an authenticity which only a personal experience could have supplied. In a moving afterword, Stockett reveals how she never understood the silent suffering of her own Black maid until long after her death which happened when Stockett was 16.
However, the book must be accused of borrowed characterisation. Consider Aibileen who matches every stereotype one may harbour about Black people, not seeing the irony of her observation when she meets one of the White kids, now grown up, she tended to:
“And how I told him don’t drink coffee or he gone turn colored. He say he still ain’t drunk a cup of coffee and he twenty-one years old. It’s always nice seeing the kids grown up fine.”
This description, and many such, made me uncomfortable, because they play into the mythologised image of the long-suffering Black — the gentle sacrifice, the immense capacity for self-denial. Why are Blacks, unless they drive the plot, so devoid of ill will in novels about racism? How does Aibileen stand being good to the children she raises, knowing fully well that they will grow up to become dyed-in-the-wool racists? (via In search of post-racial fiction).
This observation I like. Elephants in the room! Very similar to the myth of the ‘non-violent struggle for Indian independence.’ I wonder how much this works.
When tribal women came out and take on the might of the Indian State, one thing you can be sure of! India(ns) does not believe in non-violence – at any cost. There is point beyond which, Indians will not look at the cost and price – but only the value.
Lalgarh proved that!
The result will be that spurious and substandard drugs will continue to be widely sold in the market, affecting the poor the most. These drugs, which have poor brand positioning, are usually sold over the counter (sometimes even prescription drugs are so sold) by pharmacists who push them (spurious drugs) because their sale earns a hefty trade margin. State-approved drugs with less than the required efficacy, often manufactured by small-scale units, get included in state procurement programmes and form the staple of medicines distributed through the public healthcare system. No wonder that there is a widespread notion that sarkari medicines do not work and if you want medicines which will then go and buy them from private shops. (via Subir Roy: Let a hundred spurious medicines thrive – underlined text mine).
A contradiction within the same paragraph. A dinosaur who cannot differentiate between his pet peeves and propaganda – and his stereotypes.
This dinosaur alleges at the start that ‘pharmacists’ are selling spurious drugs – and at the end of the paragraph, he ends up claiming that genuine drugs can only be got at ‘private shops’!
Though he does make a good point on abdication by the Indian regulator.