Hidden Figures and Orbiting the Stars

DSC07225.JPGOver the weekend, my husband and I saw the new movie, Hidden Figures. When we left the movie, I was filled with regret. Regret that we had not taken our daughters with us. Regret that the world is filled with people who only see the color of skin. Regret that not all people are valued for who they are and what they have to offer rather than how they look.

But in addition to all of the regret, I felt an enormous amount of love for my neighbor, awe for those who possess abilities which I do not, and respect for all people. What those three women, Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, contributed to our country was far greater than their work on the space program. They proved to the world that genius is not dependent upon economic status, ethnicity, or skin color. Unfortunately, they had to wait over 50 years for the general public to know their names or even care about whom they are. Why weren’t their accomplishments celebrated along with John Glenn’s or Alan Shepherd’s?  Why did their talents have to be “hidden”? The more I think about it, the angrier I become.

In spite of the problems in our country today between people of different colors, we have come a long way. I feel very fortunate to live in a time when my children don’t feel more capable or deserving because of the color of their skin. I feel sad and angry that there are still children who are taught and believe the opposite. Why should the fact that someone is of another race matter in the grand scheme of life?  Why should men, even today, have more opportunities than women?  God doesn’t care what color you are, what gender you are, where you live, or how much money you have. He only cares that you’re a good person.  Why can’t we all see each other through His eyes?

I urge everyone to go see Hidden Figures. And then I implore them to think about where we are in our society and where each of us is in how we think about others. When we speak of other people, do we refer to them by their skin color? Most people will say, yes. And I ask why? Why is that what we see when we look at someone? Why can’t we see past color and see into the soul?

When our oldest, Rebecca, was little, she could be heard saying, “See that black man…” or “See that purple girl…” or “That red boy…” Ken and I always corrected her by saying, “the man in the black shirt,” “the girl in the purple shirt,” etc.  In hindsight, I wish we hadn’t. Of course, we were afraid that others, overhearing the way she referenced people, would be offended. But we were wrong. I would so much rather everyone refer to people by the color of their clothes and not the color of their skin. It’s one of the many lessons I’ve learned from my children. It just proves the ages old adage that children really are colorblind when it comes to seeing other people. If only everyone could see others the way young children do. Perhaps our world would have far fewer hidden figures and many more people breaking barriers and orbiting the stars.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three inspirational fiction eBooks of 2015. Her most recent book, Whispering Vines, a 2017 Illumination Award winner, is now available for purchase; and her next novel, Island of Miracles, will be released in January of 2017.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016)