You really do an amazing job of dissecting the psychology and disservice of the white savior films! Most Black Americans I know absolutely hated the Help. White Americans seemingly loved it. We were all like why did they live that pitiful film so much? You explain it perfectly above.
But, in defense of the white lady who wrote The Help, it is based on a true story, and she did (in a way that was highly beneficial to her ultimately financially) push against the white supremacy structure that was causing HER a great deal of discomfort (and still does, to my understanding.) She was cast out of and heavily criticized by her Southern white community. She may have even been threatened. Many Southern White Americans live inside a culture of white supremacy that is deeply sick and toxic TO OTHER WHITE PEOPLE.
A lot of these Southerners holding on to the white supremacists concepts are some deeply toxic and sickly psychopathic people. They bother the white people who are not. And so these white people, tell these stories for their purposes and benefits. Do the exploit black people, in the telling? Well absolutely, if they don’t share any of the authorship or the royalties. (And I believe these were black folks accusations against the writer of The Help, I believe she was sued, by the daughter of the main maid that helped the author collect the intel to tell the story.)
But my point is, that story was that white author’s story. She has a right to tell it. She shouldn’t exploit other people in the telling, if at all possible.
The Help is a Southern white woman’s story…a southern white woman who does not want to be complicit with sick Southern racism, for her own personal reasons, and there are s lot of southern white women like that.
So why do white Americans just LOVE The Help? They want to connect to THEIR stories. That story probably resonates with a lot of southern white women, and White Northerners who find the Southern mindset on race offensive. Oh this American race thing has regional complexities that are very difficult for even Americans to understand.
But understand this, the South NEVER abolished slavery. They found all kinds of trap doors to keep black people enslaved, and the writer of The Help, shined a light on that phenomenon. She was reviled by the Southern power structure for it. She did this at great risk to herself, and while the way she did it WAS problematic she should not be made to feel guilty or ashamed for telling and standing in her truth.
She should have understood though, that, when dealing with her own oppression it was not cool to be blind or oblivious to the oppression of others. (Cause white women can have that tendency, and I don’t know what ultimately happened to all those maids connected to her story. They may very well still be in Mississippi catching hell.)
But the Help is a stormy about white people and how THEY DEAL with the cancer that is racism amongst themselves; and I think that’s why they love that story so.
As for The Butler (another film whites people just love) come on white people! Come on! You know you just love to see a black man as a butler and not a CEO…that’s why you just loved it! (And that was a black made film…interesting, but not all the hype that whites folk made it out to be.)
I love your list of black created films at the end! Great article!