Hidden Figures demonstrates real life experiences of three mathematicians at NASA who worked one project mercury, the first human sub orbital space flights from 1961 to 1963 and Apollo 11 flight to the moon. These were the missions that helped America win the space race against Russia. It wasn’t extraordinary to have a bevy of mathematicians at NASA in the 1960s, but what makes these three particular mathematicians unique is they were female and African-American.
Hidden figures began in earnest in 1961. Catherine Mary and Dorothy are parts of NASA’s pool of human computers employees, usually women, charged with doing calculations before the use of digital computers.
Due to Virginia’s segregation laws, African-American female computers have to work in a separate colored building at the Langley research Center. But the US is so desperate to beat the Soviet Union into space that NASA become a reluctant Idiocracy because of her expertise and analytic geometry, Catherine is assigned to a special Task group trying to get Glenn into orbit.
She arrived at her new job to find she’s a sole brown face in the room.
Catherine is the closest to the excitement, but hidden figures why didn’t it sculpt beyond her. Mary must navigate layers of races bureaucratic hurdles and her quest to become an engineer. Dorothy is fighting for a long overdue promotion, while the arrival of an IBM machine threatens to put her team of computers out of work. The women consistently I’ll think they’re higher ranked usually white male colleagues, whether by learning a new programming language, solving problems in wind tunnel experiments, or calculating Merrill launch windows for space missions.
Each is a uniquely aware of the brighter states of her success for other women, for black people, for black women, and for America at large and this knowledge is as much an inspiration as it is a heavy weight.
Early on, Dorothy shared her ambivalence about Catherine’s prestigious new assignment. Any upward movement is movement for all of us it’s not just the movements for me she says disappointed after a set back at work. It’s a subtle, but loaded point, and one of the most thought-provoking lines in the film. She’s proud of Catherine, and of course Catherine is paving the way for others. But individual victories are often simply that Catherine knocking down one pillar of discrimination does it mean countless more don’t remain. Still, Dorothy’s frustration with her stagnation at work doesn’t translate to defeat his selfishness. She spends much of the film maneuvering to protect her team’s jobs, even if it means risking her own status and security.
Their intellect may not be broadly relatable again they are exceptional for a reason, but their sense of rootedness is. Though most of their time and energy goes toward their careers, the women of Hidden Figures don’t take their relationships with each other and with their friends and families for granted. If one gets held up at work for hours, the other to wait in the parking lot until they can all drive home. On the weekends, they go to church and neighborhood barbecues and spent time with their children. They don’t have it all, but they do strive for balance and connection.
Throughout the movie, the futility and ridiculousness of segregationist and discriminatory policies become abundantly clear as the woman strive to prove their worth to the program. What happens when we don’t accommodate and encourage diversity of talent? Hidden Figures provides a sober a reflection on the potential dangers of discrimination to human progress and the concomitant laugh to society when minority groups are denied opportunities for meaningful contributions.
Taken within the context of the growth iniquities against marginalized groups immigrants, individuals with disabilities, people from minority ethnic groups the rallying cry for justice was a civil rights era message redux. It became self-evident that inspite of decades of progress and breaking down barriers for disadvantaged groups, we were still far from a perfect society. In America, we continue to wrestle with various forms of ethnic and gender discrimination, with potentially devastating consequences for our society and institutions. Although much progress has been made since the Industrial Revolution and the civil rights era, somethings remain unchanged.
The clip where Mary has the face a judge is extremely powerful because it shows the endless work that women, particularly African-American women, and our history have had to put forward just to have equal opportunity. Mary asks a judge for permission to attend a high school that offered advanced math. This clip was just one example of the ways that these women were discriminated against, purely due to the color of their skin and this clip also displayed her persuasion toward the judge. These women also worked to become mathematicians and engineers in a field completely dominated by men. Countless times they were questions and criticized for attempting to be in the science field. This film perfectly relates to how race and gender shapes girl hood and sheds light on all of the obstacles and barriers that people, particularly, what women of color face/faced in our society. Conformity took place once those with the prejudice mindset was displayed others followed as well. The clip that demonstrates this is the coffee pot scene. This film also displayed the extreme dedication, hard work, and bravery that these women and many more women in history have had.
Despite all the injustices at their jobs, the woman in the film clearly take tremendous pride from their association with NASA. One of my favorite sayings is when Glenn request that Jonathan be the want to doublecheck NASA’s calculations before the final approval for his left off. The look of surprise on Hanson’s face when Glenn asks her for her input is priceless. Knowing that her work is vital to the outcome of such an important national mission clearly sustain to Johnson, even though her colleagues I shamefully reticent to acknowledge her efforts.
With the complex social forces that shapes character’s lives to still sell relevant today, Hidden Figures is powerful precisely because it’s not a solo portrait or close character study. Certainly, Hollywood will be a better industry when there are more films about great triumphs of black woman who helped to change the world. Hidden Figures shines with respect for sisterhood and communistic spirit, and within the cast its’ spotlight widened the film and certain parts added a profound appreciation for what was achieved and histories shadows.