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Gender and Racial Discrimination on Example of 'Hidden Figures' & 'The Hate U Give'

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Hidden Figures tells the story of 3 African-American women working at NASA and how they worked as “human computers” to defy racial and gender stereotypes and help America get back in the Space Race. Their worked played vital role in the launch and they went to on to inspire generations of women as American heroes. 

The Hate U Give, a YA novel by Angie Thomas in 2017, focuses on Starr Carter a 16-year-old African American girl and how her life changes she witnesses the fatal shooting of her innocent friend by a white police officer. The novel brings to light African American communities are suffering from police brutality and how Starr stands up for what’s right. 

In Hidden Figures, race is represented as being seen as one of the only things that make a person who they are. It is the most important characteristic of a person, defining the opportunities they get. There is heavy segregation in society due to race as well as lots of stereotyping. 

The Hate U Give, similarly to Hidden Figures, shows race as also being a huge part of a person’s identity, defining the way they talk and act. The Hate U Give shows how everyday life is affected due to race and even though the novel is set in present times, race is still shown as the cause of many African American’s being victims to violence and police brutality. 

SWAT codes of audio and narrative conventions such as setting and characterization are all used to show a representation of race to the viewers. 

Firstly, through the use of the SWAT of audio, in Hidden Figures, we are shown the representation of race. In Hidden Figures, there is a scene in which it is raining and Katherine has to run from her room to the bathrooms in the other side of the campus. In the background, there is an upbeat song playing which can be hear singing “no more running” which contrasts to the way Katherine has to run from building to building. Then, when she returns, Mr Harris questions Katherine to why she was absent so frequently. There is silence in the background which emphasises Katherine’s points as she proceeds to say, “There is no bathroom.There are no colored bathrooms in this building or any building outside the West Campus, which is half a mile away. Did you know that? I have to walk to Timbuktu just to relieve myself, and I can’t use one of the handy bikes. Picture that, Mr. Harrison. My uniform, skirt below my knees, my heels, and a simple string of pearls. Well, I don’t own pearls. Lord knows you don’t pay coloreds enough to afford pearls! And I work like a dog, day and night, living off of coffee from a pot none of you want to touch! So, excuse me if I have to go to the restroom a few times a day.”

This shows us how much race affected Katherine’s life. Because she was black, she had to use a coloured bathroom except there was no coloured bathroom which forced her to use the only once available to her, which was half a mile away. Race is represented as being the cause of segregation and not the same opportunities, not even the same pay as Katherine mentions that coloureds don’t get paid enough to afford pearls. 

Through the use of dialogue and setting, we are also shown how race affected Starr’s everyday life, which is one of the ways race was represented as. Starr and her family live in Garden Heights, where the novel is predominantly set. The town is a small and poor, with it’s citizens often seeing violence, whether it’s from the police or from the “gang lords” who “rule” the town. In Starr’s world, police brutality is such a reality that her parents have to explain to her and her siblings, how to act around police. “My parents haven’t raised me to fear the police, just to be smart around them. They told me it’s not smart to move while a cop has his back to you. …Daddy’s instructions echo in my head: Get a good look at the cop’s face. If you can remember his badge number, that’s even better.” In Starr’s world, young African Americans are all seen as being troublemakers and dangerous because of people’s stereotypes. As Starr says herself, “a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose.” Because of Starr’s race, she’s basically under constant threat of being killed by the police. Race also affects Starr because of how her friend Khalil was killed for being black. Starr’s entire world changes after that which then again shows how race was represented as being a huge part in someone’s life. 

To summarise, in Hidden Figures, race is represented as being the cause of stereotyping and hatred as Katherine explains to us. In The Hate U Give, race is also show as being the cause of many sterotypes and though in Hidden Figures the stereotypes weren’t deadly, however, in The Hate U Give they were, killing Khalil and being the reason why Starr’s parents had taught her what to do when the police were suspecting her. Viewers respond to this by 

The use of the narrative conventions of setting show the representation of race in the film Hidden Figures. Near the beginning of the movie, we are shown how there was lots of segregation in the NASA buildings. Firstly, there was the West Computing group who were all black women, having to work separately from the other white women. And though sometimes the segregation isn’t as noticeable, where all the men at a board meeting are white as well as in the night classes Mary takes. 

Through the use of the narrative conventions of characterisation, especially dialogue, we are further shown the representation of race. As stated before, race is represented as being the main characteristic that defines a person’s actions and dialogue. This can be seen as Starr Carter has to have almost 2 different identities. Starr goes to a mostly white private school in Williamson and often struggles as she believes she has to keep her Williamson identity different from her Garden heights one. “That’s when I realized Williamson is one world and Garden Heights is another, and I have to keep them separate.” Starr has to act a certain way because if she doesn’t, she will be known as “the angry black girl” and a “ghetto.” 

To summarise, the way race has been represented in both of these texts is similar as in both texts, race is one of people’s most defining characters. Race can define a person’s opportunities as seen in Hidden Figures where the girls aren’t given a lot of opportunities due to race and also gender. This can also be seen indirectly in The Hate U Give where, because there aren’t any good schools in Garden Heights, the black people are not prepared for life which means they don’t get many good jobs. In both these texts, race affects everyday life  

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Gender And Racial Discrimination On Example Of ‘Hidden Figures’ & ‘The Hate U Give’. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-and-racial-discrimination-on-example-of-hidden-figures-the-hate-u-give/
“Gender And Racial Discrimination On Example Of ‘Hidden Figures’ & ‘The Hate U Give’.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-and-racial-discrimination-on-example-of-hidden-figures-the-hate-u-give/
Gender And Racial Discrimination On Example Of ‘Hidden Figures’ & ‘The Hate U Give’. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-and-racial-discrimination-on-example-of-hidden-figures-the-hate-u-give/> [Accessed 16 May 2022].
Gender And Racial Discrimination On Example Of ‘Hidden Figures’ & ‘The Hate U Give’ [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 29 [cited 2022 May 16]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/gender-and-racial-discrimination-on-example-of-hidden-figures-the-hate-u-give/
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