most obvious missteps of historical movies that deal with race: At no point does it try to giveviewers the impression that racism has been “solved,” and its white characters exist on aconstantly shifting spectrum of racial enlightenment. What’s more, the film’s straightforwardpresentation belies its fairly radical subject matter. As K. Austin CollinsnotesatTheRinger,Hidden Figures“might be one of the few Hollywood movies about the civil rights era toimagine that black lives in the ’60s, particularly black women’s lives, were affected not only byracism but also by the space race and the Cold War.”TheHidden Figuresauthor, Shetterly,has discussedhow the film only portrays a fractionof the individuals who worked on the space program and how the moviewas meant to speak tothe experiences of the many African American women working at NASA at the time.Watchingthis particular story unfurl on the big screen, it’s hard not to think of how many more movies andbooks could be made about women like Katherine Johnson—talented women shut out ofpromotions and meetings and elite programs and institutions and, thus history, because theyweren’t white. Even today, barriers remain. A 2015 studyfound 100 percentof women of color2
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- Spring '17