Brainy Quote of the Day

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Modern Figures 28 February 2017...

Science Magazine: Presidential Medal of Freedom Honors a NASA 'computer'
Topics: African Americans, History, Diaspora, Diversity in Science, Women in Science

NASA: The film "Hidden Figures," based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, focuses on the stories of Katherine Johnson (above), after receiving the Medal of Freedom in 2015), Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, African-American women who were essential to the success of early spaceflight. Today, NASA embraces their legacy and strives to include everyone who wants to participate in its ongoing exploration. "Progress is driven by questioning our assumptions and cultural assumptions," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says in a new video. "Embracing diversity and inclusion is how we as a nation will take the next giant leap in exploration."

I salute Women's History Month (starting tomorrow). This month spawned Women's History, Asian Heritage, LGBT History, and Hispanic Heritage observances. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," Oscar Wilde.

I met Dr. Barry Johnson coordinating a traveling display of African American Civil Rights History with his and the eight other African American corporate vice presidents at Motorola. He asked me two questions off-topic: "Where's a good barbershop?" (I sent him to Joel Mason - my barber in Austin); "Where's a good black art and bookstore?" (I suggested Mitchie's Fine Black Art and Frame Gallery, which was a combo of both). He often had the same feeling I did and still do as the "only one in the room," and reading our history and literature; looking at our art and sculpture was... as I've used quite often in these postings, cathartic. Did I tell you that three coworkers called me the n-word (to my face, in front of witnesses)?

Don't be discouraged by blatant hurled epithets, or if you're the "only one in the room," be the best damn one in the room!

The purpose of cultural heritage celebrations has been obscured unfortunately by well meaning human resource departments on teaching diversity and inclusiveness, which I don't have a problem with and is all important. Just as a rowing team has to synchronize strokes, it's best when everyone - in a company or a country - is not out to sabotage each other. Nothing gets done.

For yourselves, for myself: Carter G. Woodson wanted to empower his people with a sense of confidence, a strut in their step with what we now call... swagger!

If your swagger has stumbled, may these posts reassure it and the confidence within.

NASA: Modern Figures

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