A Movie, Black History Month, Racism, and the Heart of God
By Amanda Sims
Sometimes, celebrating Black History Month means taking a trip to the movie theater with your kid. My 11-year-old daughter and I did just that. We got our popcorn, and watched Hidden Figures, a film based on true events. I knew it would be a great movie to share with my daughter, but I was more thrilled with the conversation we shared afterward. I didn’t realize we’d leave faced with racism and the heart of God.
The movie opens in 1961, a time when the United States was engaged in a “space race” against the Soviet Union. At the same time, segregation between blacks and whites was common throughout the country, separating the races in schools, buses, restaurants, libraries, restrooms, and virtually every other area of public life.
The movie follows the stories of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. These women, all African-American mathematicians, worked for NASA. Each of them were gifted with brilliant minds and just as capable as any of their colleagues at making vital contributions to the program. They were completely qualified—over and above any expectation—yet they were held down because of the color of their skin.
I watched my daughter as she watched the movie. I saw confusion cloud her face when these women were treated as inferior. Other times she scowled in anger at the senseless barriers they encountered. When the women on the screen experienced success, she smiled with joy and relief.
After it was over, I asked my daughter what she thought. Her response was more than just an intellectual one. She was mad and sad. She thought the racism in the move was absurd.
My daughter’s response made me wonder how God feels about racism and discrimination. Along with my daughter, He created Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary. He gave them extraordinary talents, and He longed to see them reach their potential. I recognize giftedness in my child. As her parent, I encourage her determination and resilience, and I stand with her when she faces opposition. I can only imagine how much it must hurt and anger our Father God to see His children marginalized, overlooked, and mistreated by racism. Racism and the heart of God don’t mesh.
My husband and I regularly talk to our daughter about seeing people through God’s eyes. Don’t be afraid to teach your kids that racism is not only foolish—it’s sinful. Help your child know they need to stand against it whenever they see it. It’s not a small problem, it’s not funny, and it’s not okay with God. Racism and the heart of God are at odds. Thanks to Hidden Figures, I got to see racism and the way it affects people through my daughter’s eyes. And you know what? I’m proud to say she sees it a whole lot like her heavenly Father.
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. James 2:8-9 NIV