In the movie "The Help," it is shown just how much control white people, white women specifically, had over the lives of black women.
In the black-domestic vs white- Miss-Annie type of one-on-one relationship, Mrs. Annie Dusseldorf can pay you as little or as much as she wants or forget to pay you based on the tiniest of personal slights.
Not only did black women have to bow and scrape to keep their jobs, these white women had quasi-ownership of their domestics. A black woman couldn't just quit a job under an abusive white woman then go work for another white woman. All the white women in town would know that black Fanny belonged to white Annie Dusseldorf and would never hire Fanny without Annie's permission -- as if Fanny were a still a slave.
And I knew that long before the author of the book "The Help" wrote a single word of her book.
The movie "The Help" also showed the caste system that black women were stuck in.
That is, it showed Olivia Spencer as a black mother, sending her black daughter into domestic service for the first time, just as her mother had done for her and her grandmother had done for her mother before that.
What the movie "The Help" doesn't show, because the movie is focused almost entirely on women, is Mr. Dusseldorf.
Black women being so desperate for work means Mr. Dusseldorf has nearly as much claim to the black female body as his good ole grand-pappy did during slavery. For decades, the black mother sent her daughter into domestic service knowing full well Mr. Dusseldorf may rape her. (In fact, it seems quite likely that this did happen or got close to happening to Josephine Baker, according to one biography I read.)
Sometimes black women sent their black girl children out of the south all together to get an education.
I think this female piece of black history would be more widely known if patriarchy didn't make men try to turn everything into a competition. 'I'm a bigger victim than you' is what too many black men are hinting at regularly.
And too many of us believe it. That's why so few black men and black women, both, show up for Black Lives Matter events for Rekia Boyd. So far #SayHerName the attempt to re-insert black women into a black female led movement, #BlackLivesMatter, has only worked well once -- for Sandra Bland.
I keep thinking that if Black men weren't as invested in sexism and patriarchy as white men are, they might have considered using the fact that black women aren't as threatening to white people to get black women into corporations and hospitals as doctors first back in the day.
Once black women were inside, there's not a chance in hell they'd have let the door close before black men got in.
I keep wondering about how much further ahead we'd all be if we found sexism to be as important as racism and we rooted it out where we found it as fast as we could.
Think about it.
We'll collectively turn on an internal racism suffering respectability politician in a minute.
We'll collectively turn on a n-word throwing white person in a minute.
But if a black man hurls b-words and h-words (bitches and hoes) at black women, we want to make rules about whether the epithet fits or not. And then we'll ask why "bitches and hoes" specialists' movie, Straight Outta Compton wasn't nominated for an Oscar.
If you don't understand just how discounted a woman is once she's been thrown into the bitches and hoes pit, then read about The Grim Sleeper and be amazed.
Tales Of The Grim Sleeperhttp://thankherforsurviving.blogspot.com/2015/11/review-tales-of-grim-sleeper-part-1.html