Whether or not it wins an armload of Oscars this Sunday, The Help — although criticized in some circles as a sugar-coated view of the Jim Crow era — has already scored big with the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA).
Colorlines reports that the organization has invested in the cultural moment created by the popular storyline about black maids in the south, and used it to advocate for the workers it represents.
Whatever the film’s shortcomings, anyone with an ounce of strategic sense would have taken full advantage of this opening in the popular culture, and NDWA is not short on strategic sense.
But their intervention did more than take advantage of a cultural moment—it shaped that moment to mitigate against the potential negative effects on a national audience. From an organizer’s perspective, there is a danger embedded in stories of triumph over segregationists, especially a story as