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Hidden Figures

[1]1,134 words

Hidden Figures, a.k.a., We Wuz Astronautz, tells the story of three black women who worked at NASA in 1961 struggling for equal rights both as blacks and as women. The movie tells us that it is “based on true events,” and the three women — mathematician Katherine Johnson, computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, and engineer Mary Jackson — actually did exist. But it is not clear if any of the struggles and achievements depicted actually happened, or if they are just-so stories. The moral of the movie, however, is quite clear: three unsung black women played an essential role in the US space program. 

Now hold on just a minute. European man’s conquest of space is one of our greatest achievements. So of course the Left wants to find or create non-whites who contributed to the process. It is called Afrocentric “cultural appropriation.” “Kangz,” for short.

Given that intelligence is distributed on bell curves, even though African blacks have an average IQ of 70 and African-American blacks — many of whom have a significant percentage of white ancestry — have an average IQ of 85, there will always be some outliers: extremely intelligent and extremely stupid blacks. And in a society with some extremely intelligent blacks, they can of course be employed in projects like the space program. This was particularly the case in the US during the Cold War, which sought to mobilize all available talent in the race against the Soviets.

But that does not change the fact that the conquest of space was a white achievement. It could have been done without any blacks, and left to their own devices, blacks never created the wheel, much less conquered space.

Of course, the true unsung heroes of the American space program were not African Americans, or Americans at all. They were German Nazi rocket scientists. But in Hidden Figures, the only foreign accent belongs to Dr. Zelinsky, who informs us that he is a Polish Jew who survived a Nazi concentration camp. Naturally, he encourages one of the black women, Mary Jackson, to pursue an engineering degree. “If you were a white male,” he asks, “would you pursue a degree?” If she were a “white male,” she replies, she’d already have one.

Not only were blacks not essential to the space program, they were actually overwhelmingly hostile to it. No sooner had Americans landed on the moon in 1969, than blacks and their Jewish and liberal allies were calling for an end to the space program and a new focus on minority uplift. Gil Scott-Heron even blamed the rent hike on his rat-infested apartment on “Whitey on the Moon [2].”

Unfortunately, while it is possible for white men to conquer space, it is not possible to make blacks our equals. More than 40 years and trillions of dollars later, rats are still biting black children, but whitey has not been on the moon since 1972.

Hidden Figures basically plays like a made-for-cable-TV movie, for one of those channels that idle housewives and welfare queens watch during the daytime. It is slow-paced, light on science and math, and full of soap-operatic domestic and romantic interludes, montages set to vintage R&B music, and similar filler. The acting throughout is effective but unremarkable.

The message to whites is: black people are just like us, only sassy. Thus doing away with segregation and traditional gender roles will unleash talents and creativity that will lead us to a better society.

But it didn’t really work out that way. And actually Hidden Figures subtly undermines its pro-Civil Rights agenda through its portrayal of black life under segregation. Yes, there are the standard indignities of separate toilets and drinking fountains. But blacks are portrayed as well-dressed and well-mannered, with mostly intact families — a far cry from liberated blacks today. For instance, the blushing and decorous courtship of Katherine and her future husband seems like something out of a Jane Austen novel. It bears absolutely no resemblance to the booty-twerking, muh-diking Negroes of today.

But what of the fate of talented blacks languishing under segregation? Well, all the events of the movie took place before the Civil Rights Act, didn’t they?


Katherine Johnson (born Coleman)

Let’s focus on the central character, Katherine, played by Taraji Henson. Katherine Coleman was a genuine mathematical prodigy. She also has so much white ancestry that she has blue eyes (meaning white ancestors on both sides) and a fair enough complexion to pass as white. Katherine’s intellectual gifts were recognized at an early age, and she was given an appropriate education. She graduated from high school at the age of 14 and from college at age 18. Because of her talent, she was the first black woman admitted to the graduate school of West Virginia University in 1939, which she quit to start a family. In 1953, she was hired by the precursor of NASA and worked there the rest of her career.

Segregation did not impede the rise of these women, provided they were plucky enough to persevere. But segregation did impede the fall of the vast majority of blacks, who through the subtle and not-so-subtle pressure to conform to white behavioral norms (the hated “white supremacy” system) were far more decent, decorous, and law-abiding than blacks today. They were probably even happier.

But they were not “free.” Specifically, they were not free to be themselves, to create a society that felt natural to them. They were being oppressed by white cultural norms. And when all that oppression was relaxed, the vast majority of black America went straight to hell.

Hidden Figures is a feast for the fantasies of white liberals, who somehow overlook the fact that the black community portrayed in the movie was the product of segregation, not Civil Rights, and the blacks who terrify them today are the products of Civil Rights, not white racism. To the extent that black viewers of Hidden Figures feel nostalgia for the communal life it portrays, they too are experiencing nostalgia for segregation.

Hidden Figures isn’t a particularly good movie, even as pro-black propaganda. But that has not stopped mostly white and Jewish liberals from hailing it as a work of genius, setting off a virtue-signalling spiral that is as hard to stop as an ovation for Comrade Stalin. There’s actually a whole Wikipedia page [4] for the accolades. It is even in the running for an Academy Awards Best Picture nomination. Surely, the Nobel Peace Prize cannot be far behind.

If Hidden Figures sounds like your kind of movie, you have blundered into the wrong website. But no need to spend your time and money seeing it in the theater, as you are going to spend the rest of your life having this dry, insipid turkey of a film served up for free on every channel you flip to. We might have to go back to space, just to escape it.