Racial segregation is when groups are split according to the colour of their skin.
An example of this would be having separate bathrooms or water fountains for white people and people of colour. Racial segregation caused many issues, especially in the workforce. People of colour were not offered the same jobs as white people and were paid considerably less. However, this lead to many empowering acts of defiance in hopes to make rights of African American individuals equal to those of white individuals. On December 5th, 1955 one of the largest acts against segregation in the United States took place. Days before the boycott Rosa Parks, an African American woman was arrested and fined for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white male. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a year long act where African Americans refused to ride city buses in the town of Montgomery, Alabama. The purpose of this was to diminish the segregated seating laws that coloured people were still required to follow.
Over 40,000 African American individuals joined the protest within days and also elected Martin Luther King Jr. for the position of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) president. On June 5th, 1956 a federal court ruled that the segregation seating violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S Constitution. Although this act got rid of separate seating on buses, bus stops were still split by colour and snipers were beginning to shot at buses.
Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott was a powerful act of defiance that moved our society closer to race equality.On 28 August 1963, in Washington, D.C, over 200,000 individuals took part in the March on Washington to protest for equal jobs and freedoms. The act was very successful in forcing the government to initiate a civil rights bill. Although the executive board of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations refused to support the march, it still went on to be extremely successful and many popular African American singers performed. This is also the day that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, where he spoke on equality and empowered many. King and many civil leaders met with President Kennedy at the White House and discussed the terms of the civil rights agreement, although they were not passed and officalized until almost a decade later.
The March on Washington had one of the largest attendance records in U.S history and was a powerful act that caused for African American rights to be equalized. The Harlem Riot of 1964 occured after James Powell, a 15 year old African American schoolboy was shot and killed by police Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan. The young boy was murdered in front of his friends and many other witnesses, and immediately the news spread. Shortly after, around 300 students from a nearby school rallied in hopes to obtain more rights for people of colour. The riot occured between the July 16th and 22nd, 1964 and had over 4000 participants protesting.
Although this act ending in one death of a protestor, 118 injured and 465 arrested, the message spread was effective. The aftermath of this event was not drastic, however, many of jobs came from this, which resulted in Project Uplift. The Harlem Riot of 1964 was one of the most violent acts of defiance in the United States, and resulted in many innocent deaths.Acts of resistance have both negative and positive effects on the American society, policies and culture. An example of an act of resistance in our modern day society is football players in the NFL kneeling during the U.S national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. This act of resistance has gained global publicity and has been shared through the news and social media. Although our society has more rights and laws in regards to the equality of African American than fifty years ago, we still have a far way to come which is why these acts of resistance are occuring.
Other than the spread of publicity on our society, these acts of resistance are causing many people to lose their jobs. An example of this is when Donald Trump stated that the NFL should fire one of their athletes that took a knee during the national anthem. On the positive side of things, when these acts of resistance are successful, many unemployed African Americans can gain jobs and rights. This also affects the American policies because protesters are fighting for them to change the laws, and our culture as a whole is becoming more diverse and equal. The movie Hidden Figures focuses on racism and how African Americans were treated in the 60’s.
There are many examples of when discrimination got in the way of coloured peoples life, especially when they’re at work. A common trait that the women possess is the ability to stand up for what is right, instead of staying silent. For example, there was not a bathroom for coloured women in the department that Katherine had been moved to and every time she went to the bathroom she was required to walk miles in terrible weather. This was a 40 minute walk in total, which got in the way of her job and the work she was required to do. Katherine stood up for her right and vocalized her concerns regarding the bathroom, which inspired a change.
NASA then changed their bathroom signs so that all bathrooms were separated by gender, not race. Another example of when racism was overcome during the film was when Mary was not allowed into the university program she was required to take to get the job she wanted. The school was an all white school which meant that Mary was not allowed to attend. Instead of giving up and not getting the education she needs for the job, Mary takes the issue to court and stands up for her right. After delivering an inspiring speech, the judge rules that Mary can study night classes at the school.
Lastly, a big example of racism in the movie is when the men at NASA won’t allow Katherine to attend their editorial meeting because a male denies her request. He states that “there’s no protocol for women attending”. Katherine then says that she deserves to attend the meeting or else she cannot figure her calculations out.
Because Katherine stood up and didn’t back down because of an insulting comment made, she decided to stand up for her right and this was successful as she was allowed access to the editorial meeting. Adversity is a big problem in our society, and although racism is not as bad as it was 50 years ago, we still have challenges to face. The women in Hidden Figures display a strong message in regards to dealing with adversity, which is to stand up for what you believe is right and not let anyone diminish your worth. The characters deal with adversity in a respectful manner and make sure to deliver clear and valid arguments on why they shouldn’t be treated differently. Lots of people in our society still have to struggle with adversity, although many of these people are too afraid to stand up.
The characters in this film teach the importance of this and that the only way change is achieved is through raising your voice. Many characters change immensely throughout the course of the film, especially the white males that work in the NASA building. In the beginning of the movie the men were shocked the find that there was not only a woman working in their department, but an African American woman. In our society today, the men were considered extremely racist, although at the time it was a normality. They were treating Katherine with disrespect and not authority. However, at the end of the film the men were more accepting of Katherine and her talents and learned to accept her as she is and think about what she has the ability to do, not the colour of her skin or her genderIn the beginning of the film the white individuals that work at NASA are not accepting of people of colour, whereas towards the end they learn to treat the African American women equally. This change would not be possible without Katherine, Mary and Dorothy standing up for their rights. The three women raise their voices and try to change at least one person’s perspective on the issue, which started impacting change on others.
For example, Harrison started treating Katherine equally which began to cause the other men in the department to act this way. Change is not possible unless one person stands up and protests what is right. Personally, I found myself more interested in Mary and Harrison. The reason being is because I found it motivating how Mary not only stood up for right but actually went to court for this and made her discrimination a public event. Although all three women were extremely brave and courageous, I found that Mary’s strength was the most motivating. Also, I found Harrison very interesting because I was excited to see his character development and whether he would warm up to Katherine and accept her. When Harrison changed the bathroom sign and starting treating Katherine equally I was very excited because I had been interested in his development since the beginning of the movie.
Mary and Harrison were my favorite characters and I found myself more invested in them than other characters for those reasons. When Katherine is at home she is very motherly and is abe to let loose. Katherine is very talkative and positive whereas at work she is mostly silent and doesn’t speak up for herself until it is absolutely necessary. Personally, I found Katherine’s home life the most ittesting. Although Langley was interesting, I thought there was a lot of behind the scenes action that happened at home and you learned more about who Katherine was as a person. You were able to see the way she interacted with her children, mother, boyfriend and friends, which was a lot less uptight than at her work. Although the whole movie was extremely interesting and I enjoyed the scenes at NASA, Katherine’s home life was the most interesting to me.
When on the road to Langley the three women were stopped by a police officer after their car broke down. Although Dorothy was fixing the car, the officer offered to call a tow truck. The tone of his voice did not indicate respect, it was although he was stating that African Americans, especially African American women, could not fix a car. The first thought that came to mind was that this was extremely racist and degrading to the three women. I believe that it was a simple gesture of offering to call the tow truck company, however when the women said the officer should of accepted this.
Even after the car was fixed the officer insisted on escorting the women to their workplace, perhaps so they didn’t get in any trouble. This interaction with the officer could have taken in a negative or positive way, although I believe that this was not a fair encounter. There are many jobs that are likely to be automated in the future, and the biggest one that I believe is going to be a cashier. The reason being for this is because we already have self checkouts which are proving to be much more simple. A cashier deals with math, which is a characteristic of a job that will be easily automated in the near future. Jobs that deal with art, fine arts and writing I don’t believe to be automated as people rely on the emotion that these things deliver, as opposed to just facts. Math is an easy thing for a machine todo and would prove to be much faster and simpler than a human.
In the article it states that according to the survey done, young girls do not see themselves as smart or as capable of achieving great things as opposed to boys. Most girls were likely to choose a game to play that was for children who “try really, really hard” instead of a game for children who were “really, really smart”. This shows that even young girls do not believe they are capable of playing a game for “smart kids” and chose not to participate because they do not believe they are capable.Cimpian and is team tested who would be “good” in STEM fields by using two experiments. The first one was when the researchers told a story about an individual who is “really, really smart”, and then asked the children to determine whether the person was a male or female. In the other experiment the children were given the option to play a game either for “really, really smart” kids or for kids who “try really, really hard”. Most of the young girls chose the option to play the game for kids who “try really, really hard” and believed that the smart individual in the story was a male.
I believe the difference between academic ability and “brilliance” is substantial. Academic ability is defined as getting good grades in school and being academically able. “Brilliance” is defined as having new ideas and creating. As a female teenager who gets what is considered as “good grades”, sometimes I don’t think that I am at a level of “brilliance”. I believe that social media accounts for the difference between academic ability and “brilliance” because as girls we have to live up to a standard.
According to the article, young girls should be exposed to STEM programs such as engineering much before high school. They also should have role models in the STEM field that they can look up to and be inspired by. Lastly, it is encouraged that watching movie like Hidden Figures is beneficial because it gives motivation and inspires young girls to pursue careers in the STEM program.