I'm amazed and devastated by human kind's willingness to submit one another to such degradation. Racism is a terrible thing and I'm fascinated that we would treat one another in such a fashion. Yet I noticed while watching the film my tendency to be disgusted by "them" - Southerners and other racists. It's very easy to observe such filthy treatment from afar, pointing my finger at other people without examining my own life with an equally critical eye. And if that is what I do, get angry at the South or angry at racists in general, while leaving myself out of the picture, I miss the entire lesson of the film. The lesson is, I think, that we are by nature selfish people, quick to treat others as means to an end. In so doing we embody the opposite of love, racism being one such manifestation. Using a biblical analogy, I'll miss this lesson in the film if I focus my attention solely on the "speck" of racism (though clearly racism is exponentially more than just some small speck) and forget about the "plank" in my own life.
I believe I have a healthy appreciation for people of all races. I'm not racist, at least as far as I can tell. But I'm missing the point of The Help if I think that only racists are "on the hook". In the end, The Help challenged me to critically examine how I treat others, with love or with selfishness. I want to continue to grow into a person who makes fewer selfish choices and more sacrificially loving choices. I'm not there yet, but I want to be.