Or, “Ole Miss Strikes Again,” the first time being, of course, The Blind Side. (A post in our Southern Ambiance series.)
I was living in Mississippi in 1963 when the story takes place, and despite some of the criticism you may have read, the movie accurately portrays the attitudes of part of the white elite of the time. For one thing, unlike some of the uneducated redneck population, the white power structure did not, by and large, consider itself racist. There’s a line in the movie where Hilly (wonderfully played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Hollywood elite herself, and raised in Connecticut) tells Skeeter to be careful because there are racists out there and she could get hurt. This is while Hilly is pushing a law to require bathroom facilities for the black help to be moved outdoors.
For more on this attitude, which seems so patronizing to us today, read William Alexander Percy’s 1941 memoir, Lanterns on the Levee, where he writes in all seriousness, for example, that every southern white man is “owned” by at least one black man (who essentially regards him as another parent and funding source.) And Percy was considered scandalously liberal for his day.