Today I saw the movie, “Hidden Figures,” about three black women who played key roles in the United States space program in the 1960’s. When I saw the previews earlier last year, I couldn’t wait to see it.
I was so proud of those women, especially the brilliant mathematician. It reminded me of the day I taught our boys how God got the last laugh against racial prejudice when Jesse Owens won the gold for our county in the Olympics and Hitler would not shake Owens’ hand. God is in the business of breaking stereotypes and making fools of people who erect them.
As an African-American woman, I was especially proud because, according to society, I have two strikes against me: my color and my gender. I am thankful my parents made us girls aware that people think that way, but that it had nothing to do with what we could achieve.
Allow me to ramble a moment. I have noticed that in some circles of the black community, there is a defeatist mentality. There is the expectation that the answer will be no before even posing the question. There is the idea that whatever one is trying to attain, there is a loophole designed to disqualify them. I have seen people outside that mentality get mad at people inside it. They roll their eyes and shake their heads and accuse the insiders of being lazy or unwilling to try for whatever negative reason. May I suggest that sometimes, many times that negative mentality is attained honestly? One can get so used to being turned down that it is self-preservation to expect it so as to soften the blow. Those who have not experienced the no as many times assume it’s just in the insiders’ heads. It’s not—at least not all the time it isn’t.
I am thankful that my parents were believers that we could be achievers. Whether one is an insider or outsider, he or she can choose to look to their Creator to carve out a path that fits their feet. God can open a door no man can shut. This belief can make a body brave and encouraged to venture out against the odds. That goes for you, too, Dear Reader. Whatever you feel your disadvantage is, God already has an app for it. Your background, your insecurities, your shortcomings, your age, your credit score, lack of experience or education or any other lack--stack them all up on the scale together, put the God Who is for you on the other side and you win EVERY time!
One part of the story in the movie was intriguing to me. A Caucasian woman in authority told one of the characters that she really had nothing against “them” to which the black lady replied, “Yes, I am sure you believe that.” I, too, have run into people who pride themselves in being open-minded and unbiased, but they’re not. It does no good to point that out to them unless they are ready to change it . I believe they have a blind spot that was given to them by their parents and others who didn’t know any better or didn’t care to change it if they did know. Nobody is as pure in thought or motives as he believes. It’s an area that needs growth like any other part of our character.
I believe I am in a unique position. I am an African-American woman who has spent most of her life with white friends and church members. I understand things that the average black person doesn’t about white people. And vice-versa. The hackles and defenses are up on both sides and only a genuine desire to see things from the other side’s perspective will yield significant results. It’s happening in some pockets of the world, but it needs to be more widespread.