Blog Post List
May 10, 2017
Recently, I joined more than 1,000 people in Park Slope, Brooklyn at a community meeting convened to resist Trump’s agenda. One of the speakers was Hebh Jamal, a 17-year-old Muslim student who led a citywide student walkout to protest the travel ban and Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. She’s also a leader in the movement to desegregate New York City schools, among the most segregated in the country. She looked out at the nearly all-white, upper-income crowd—which included many parents—and asked us to recognize ourselves and our children as beneficiaries of a rigged educational system. While...
February 23, 2012
Photo: Mimi Ho, member of Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association, with her children, her friend's child and their nanny, Xiao Ying, who cares for them. Like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, Oscar night is a night of American togetherness. On February 26, we'll all be serving up cocktails or pizza to family and friends, dishing on the dresses and rooting for our best-picture favorites. Whatever the fate of The Descendants , The Artist , and The Help , the success of those Oscar night parties will, as always, depend on "the help." At 2:00 in a house in Santa Monica, a housecleaner...
August 25, 2011
This week, I went to see the movie The Help , based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett. The film focuses on the exploitation, abuse, and indignities endured by African American women who worked as housecleaners, childcare providers, and cooks in the homes of white families in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s. I watched the movie as a New Yorker, a northerner, appalled at the horrors of that faraway era down south and astonished by the courage and resilience of women like those featured in this film. I also watched the movie as a white woman who once employed a Jamaican woman...
May 5, 2011
I’ve always laughed at whatever comes out of comedian Amy Poehler’s mouth, but when I read her speech at last week’s Time magazine gala dinner, I cried. Named by Time as one of this year’s 100 “most influential people,” the Parks and Recreation star cracked plenty of jokes—“I have so much influence; I’m lousy with influence”—but when it came time for her to acknowledge the award and say her thank yous, she made serious use of her spotlight, choosing to turn it in the direction of the nannies who have made her thriving career possible: I have thought very hard and long about what has...