I FINALLY got to see the movie “The Help” tonight. It was a heartbreaking reminder of what the Southern states used to be like, and I am always horrified at the lengths people will go to when trying to keep their world from changing, especially when it comes to racial matters. But I took away another lesson from watching things play out.
One of the African-American women who participated in the work of telling the story from “the help’s” perspective said something that made me stop and want to rewind the movie over and over until I completely took the comment into my heart to ponder. She said, “Nobody ever asked me what it’s like to be me before.” It made me wonder if anyone who wasn’t getting paid to do it had ever asked me “what it’s like to be me.” It seems like such a simple question, but we spend so much time assuming we know what everyone’s experiences are that we never actually ASK them to tell us.
The same character made a comment that telling her story had given her freedom to be who she was. That’s why it’s so important to ask questions, to listen to the answers, and let people tell their stories. It gives them a chance to be free, and at the same time, we can be free ourselves. It’s a honor to hear people’s stories and hold them inside. May we all remember that in our work.