“The Help” and the help in Jordan

I recently finished reading the book “The Help”. It’s an interesting insight into life in America during the 60’s. The book takes on different voices from the housewives, their friends and their help.

At times the book was slow and other times I felt that it wasn’t doing the subject justice. How can you really combine civil rights, segregation and the south while doing all these subjects justice? I’m not sure you can but the author sure did try.

After I was done reading the book, I couldn’t help but think about the maids in Jordan and their situations. I see many parallels between the two.

The book is based in Mississippi in the 1960’s and my observations are based on the period between 2009 – 2010. I guess it just makes me sad that we still treat people like second class citizens because of their profession and maybe it isn’t a profession but a job, a means to an end, an income.

One main issue that stuck out was the separate bathrooms. One of the White female characters in the book believed that black maids should have bathrooms in the garage or outdoors because the maids carried diseases that white people didn’t carry. Backwards, I know.

The thing is, this happens in Jordan. I know many households that have separate bathrooms for the maids. Lots of apartments are now being built with “Special” maids rooms.

Another theme in the book is raising other people’s children. A lot of the characters in the book were raising these children as their own while their mothers were off doing something else.

This is another phenomenon in Jordan as well. A lot of children are raised by the maid while their mothers are off with their friends, hair salons or traveling.

I’m also sad that some of these attitudes haven’t dissipated. I was having a discussion a couple of weeks back about cultures and attitudes. My companion mentioned that he had a colleague from India and believed very much in the caste system. She also believed that if a woman in their family doesn’t have a doctorate in something then they shouldn’t work because it’s beneath them.

I see that attitude a lot with various groups, they believe that you must become a doctor, lawyer or engineer to be accepted or worthwhile. Now my degree is crap to most people. Human Services, what will you do with that? My family still asks me that question from time to time still and I have graduated and been working in my field for 4 years.

Sometimes people don’t change and sometimes they do. I just hope we learn. Learn from works of fiction, real life and learn from friends and families.


4 thoughts on ““The Help” and the help in Jordan

  1. Its sad how they tend to treat maids in the whole world not only in Jordan , I am not justifying mistreatment of the maids it has always made me sick how rich women treat their maids as they are second degree humans they make them ride in the back seat of the car if the lady is driving !!!
    concerning degree I face that daily and it annoys me a lot , still my degree is not who I am its part of me
    and about your degree good for you if you studied BA or Pharmacy and didnt get a job baced on your degree that would be worst than having a degree and working in its same field
    and am sure learning from you

    1. Yes, some of the ladies in Jordan are just insane with the way they treat their maids. It’s sad, really.

      I know how it is to have a degree and not find a job in that degree…not because you aren’t good enough but because there aren’t opportunities in that field. I think work is honorable and it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s how you do it.

  2. I didn’t read the book but I want to watch the movie instead. I am sure it is going to be an interesting one.
    Unfortunately, people usually don’t change for better unless they are forced to. There is an enforced law in the US regarding discrimination. Although, in the US they teach kids in school about equality and discrimination but there is also an enforced law in case someone decided to discriminate against other race, gender or religion.
    In Jordan, we teach kids in school that in Islam all people are equal but you hardly see it among people. Telling people what to do is not enough. There have to be an enforced law.

    1. I plan on going to see the movie as well, I’m sure it will be interesting.

      Very true, but sadly even the laws that don’t allow for this discrimination don’t always work. People still choose to break those rules, I get daily emails about hate crimes across the US.

      I think there is a different between saying it and doing it. How can I teach a child about Islam but not practice what I teach? I see that a lot, and that is the sad part.

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