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“The Help” and PTSD

December 15, 2011

I just rented the movie “The Help” this past week-end since I had not seen it while it was making its run in the movies.  It was quite good and though I wasn’t raised in the South I do know enough about it to believe that it seemed to be a fairly accurate picture of what it was like.

I was struck by how normal it was for the White families to treat “The Help” who were Afro-Americans in such a demeaning fashion.  I am not trying to to say anything except that I was struck not that it was being done, but how normal it was.  There was no guilt or regret or remorse. It was just the way it was.

It got me to thinking, on a much larger scale, isn’t this the same way that the 1% treats the 99%?  In Howard Zinn’s book, “The People’s History of the United States” he talks about the three branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative and the Supreme Court.  All three are comprised of rich people and in a lot of cases the super rich.  We are saying more and more that government is out of touch with “We the People” and it makes sense that the more you see the actions that are being taken and the laws that are being passed everything favors the wealthy.

To get a clue about how this affects us normal people I watched a video done by one of the DuPont heirs.  I don’t recall the name of the video but in it he videoed siblings of the super rich.  A question was asked of one “When did you know that you were wealthy?”  The young man related a story of being taken to Grand Central Station in New York and the grandfather saying to the child “One day when you grow up all this will be yours”  Owning Grand Central Station? This is pretty heady stuff.

In the film the prducer goes on to say that the only true friends that these people can have are others who share their level of wealth.  The point being that only birds of a feather can understand what it is like to be able to buy anything at any time.  There is no waiting, or need for saving or budgeting for something on a wish list.  So the circle grows small and chances to view others limited.

My guess is that the number of PTSD sufferers in this group will be extrememly low.  Therefore, their understanding of it is limited.  Hopefully they are compassionate and there have been wealthy leaders in the past like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and The Kennedy’s and others that have taken a special interest in the plight of the poor and less fortunate but it is getting more and more rare as the income disparity grows.