The commercials have been all over the place and I can hardly turn on the television without seeing an ad for this film:
I have to admit, I knew little about this story, or should I say stories.
These three women were an integral part of history.
Katherine Johnson – the brains behind getting many men into space, including the flight of the first man in space, John Glenn. Glenn’s confidence in her mathematical ability forced NASA to request Katherine’s verification of the trajectory before his launch.
Dorothy Vaughan – the first Black supervisor at NACA (predecessor to NASA) to a group of African-American female mathematicians. She learned to operate the first IBM machine at NACA to ensure that she had a position once they computerized the department.
Mary Jackson – after going to court to be able to get the required education, she became the first female black engineer at NASA.
Did you know any of that?
Not during one of my history classes, even during Black History Month, did we cover these women.
The movie was well-written, well-directed and well-acted.
The Story Continues
One thing bothered me, though. This issue has nothing to do with Hidden Figures, the movie, directly. Sadly, it was the laughter that ensued when there were some racist statements were made.
Granted, I think some of it was nervous laughter, but something about it made me uncomfortable.
Not living in the 50s, most of the audience never had to be on either side of the “whites only” and “coloreds only” argument.
I’m not blaming anyone, I laughed too. But as I get older and I see my children, knowing that there are plenty of places where this behavior has not changed.
True, most people aren’t racist. But it exists.
There’s a line, another one that caused a few chuckles (paraphrased):
White woman: “You know I don’t have anything against you.”
Black woman: “I know. I know you believe that.”
That line made me tear up because it still happens today.
How many more black children would have gotten into programming if Hidden Figures were revealed 20 or 30 years ago? How much more progress would have been made if we told the entire history of our country, the Chinese, Latino, Jamaican, etc.? What if we truly integrated our schools and our education?
That said, I’m not sure of the purpose of this post. These were just my initial thoughts.
Either way, GO SEE THE MOVIE! It’s an extremely well-done film covering some pioneers in our history.