Southern Discomfort

A NOVEL, A LAWSUIT & AN UNHAPPY LEGACY

Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel The Help, which has been made into a movie scheduled for release this summer, made me intensely uncomfortable with its Gone with the Wind–style Southern dialect and depiction of lopsided relationships between a bunch of white women and their black maids in Jackson, Mississippi, circa 1960. Sometimes, of course, discomfort can be a good and even...

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About the Author

Melinda Henneberger, a Commonweal columnist, is the former editor-in-chief of PoliticsDaily.com.