Hidden Figures (2016)

I just watched the film “Hidden Figures” on Netflix.  My wife watched it with me. It’s about three African-American women who worked at the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia. One woman was not regarded as a woman.  Mathematician Katherine Johnson worked as human “computer”.  And her white male counterparts behaved like knuckle dragging Neanderthals.
Her country is all fired up about winning the space race, but woefully ignorant the when it comes to race relations. Black people were treated like second class citizens at best, yet most were treated like something you scraped off your shoe most of the time. The three women the film centers on shows how superior they were in relation to their white co-workers.  If I was American I’d be ashamed of how white America is portrayed. One man, portrayed by Kevin Costner, plays Al Harrison, one of the few whites who treated black women as women. When one of the African-American women disappeared for forty minutes several times a day just to use the lady’s room, I was appalled at how far the facilities were. When one of the women returned from one such journey and was asked by Al Harrison “where have you been” she tells him in a manner that totally takes Harrison by surprise. Realizing what a dunce he was, and terrible boss he was, he takes a tire iron to the “Colored Women Rest Room” sign and beats it off the wall. A fraction of a drop in the ocean of change, but even a trickle starts out that way.  However I question his motives: did he do what he did because it was the right thing to do, or did he do what he did because he wanted the best “computer” nearby ?
All in all this was a very good film. Some historical facts I think were fudged. But in the end the women came out smelling like the roses they were, and the white men…well…came out smelling like something you desperately wanted to scrape off the bottom of your shoe.

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