I want to give some context,
The 2016 Film Hidden Figures highlights some of the subtle nuanced microaggressions that Black women face every day moment to moment.
To hear Mary Jacksons(Janelle Monae’s character) husband talk about oppression the same way we do now in 2016 is sobering and disillusioning
I am an observer and will stand corrected as Black women voice their opinion on things this film did well and things it does not
However, Hidden Figures gives me an example to draw on that will not put anybody’s personal traumas on display for the sake of advocacy
I can’t even begin to explain how much it home to watch three women of color, three Black women struggle to advance themselves
To watch Taraji Henson’s character, Catherine Johnson walk in to a group of all white men who will have to answer to her with her box of stuff with her head held high, aware that by simply existing and being present as a Black woman at NASA is an act of revolution that is more than just for her, her safety at risk, struggling to be seen with dignity. That box of stuff is the baggage every women of color carries. Every day every moment is a struggle to be recognized as worthy of respect.
I can’t recall how many times I’ve had to prove or legitimize my presence. In high school, a boy I in my senior class told me I only got accepted to UC Berkeley and UPenn because I was Mexican and female. Constantly I have to give my credentials to be taken seriously.
Why are the white men not asked to?
Just like Mary Jackson had to beg to be in night classes at a white school, people of color, especially women of color, I’ve had to beg to be in classes and spaces that white men aren’t even questioned to be in.
Just like Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer’s character) had to beg for her promotion I’ve had to advocate for my recognition in my title matching the work I’m doing.
I only know a fraction of what this feels like, a tiny sliver. And that is enough to shake me.
Everything women of color do we have a chip on our shoulder. We have to gather confidence of a mediocre white man to go about the world unquestioned. And building yourself up Day after Day after being torn apart day after day. Indirectly and directly. From being judged for not having white standards of professionalism to completely being disregarded and dismissed.
That’s what I feel as a light skinned US born slightly accented feminine straight passing Mexican woman. I don’t claim to know the Black womans struggle. I do claim to know that their advancement must be priority. When black women have respect I’ll inherently have respect. That is why my struggle is rooted in hers. That is why I stand with Black Lives Matters, because when their lives matter, when Black lives and queer lives and trans lives and Black womens lives matter, I know mine will too.