It’s called proving them wrong. In our American history, it’s quintessential to our core values.
Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that. He was a preacher of peaceful protests, of silent defiance. Of not sticking it to the man but rather proving that they are just as capable. And on this day that we observe in MLK’s honor, I’d like to acknowledge a few things.
My parents and I went to go see Hidden Figures on Friday, and let me just say right now that it is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time, and I think everyone should see it. It’s very important. And, without spoiling too much about the movie, it’s about these three African-American women working for NASA in 1961, and their story is incredible. These women just buckled their chin straps and did the work necessary, even amidst segregation and prejudice and literally everyone saying that they couldn’t do it. But without them, our space program would not be where it is today. The movie was immensely inspiring, and it got me thinking.
It seems like we as a species just can’t get this whole coexisting thing right. We find people of other genders, other races, other cultures scary because we don’t understand them. We consider them lesser because they’re different. And the periods of slavery and deep, unadulterated racism are burning holes in our nation’s history, and we like to just pretend that they never happened. But they did. And it is hard to watch when it’s on a giant silver screen in front of your eyes. One of the only good things to come out of this is the amount of inspiring stories, stories of people rising up. Katherine Johnson, the main character of Hidden Figures, was one of those stories.
My mom and I had a thought, after seeing the movie. Every time humanity views a group of people as less or as incapable, God gives those very people the abilities to not only do everything the rest of humanity can do, but the ability to do them better. In this movie, no one else could do the math, work out the numbers like these girls could. But still, no one gave them their due, not until they proved themselves.
A modern day take on this story is our First Lady, Michelle Obama. She’s liked, she’s disliked, but she has had to prove herself time and time again. CNN had an enlightening special on her legacy. If you can, watch it. It is a reminder that those burn marks in our history have left some scars, but we have come a very long way.
We are coming into a time where we as a species will be tested. Emotions are high on all spectrums. People are hungry for change, and there will be one. But the effect of this change has yet to be determined. It’s times like this when we need to remember Martin Luther King, Jr.. We need to remember to be silently defiant. The best way to prove that you are capable is not to get angry, or demand the chance to prove yourself. The best way is to take it. To take the chance.
“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.