As a female African-American mathematician, Katherine Johnson broke racial and gender barriers at NASA. Her story has also transcended borders, inspiring many people in China who are now mourning her death on social media.
On Tuesday, "101-year-old NASA female scientist passed away" was one of the top trending hashtags on Weibo. The story of the achievements of Johnson and her colleagues was told in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures. The Oscar-nominated film has a high score of 8.8 on Douban, an IMDB-like Chinese site.
"I watched Hidden Figures several times," one Weibo user wrote. "I worship these women. Rest in peace. You love stars. You can now embrace those stars."
Others also say Johnson's story reminds them not to be limited by society's expectations.
"She sent astronauts to space with her calculations, cracking the ceiling of gender and race," one Weibo comment said.
"I once spoke about her in a school presentation," another said. "I remember that I wanted to use examples of subtle discrimation to show everyone about women's independence and achievements. Women can study science as well as any man. The idea that women are better at the arts and men at science is all our own stereotypes. Respect."
Some people say the fight against prejudice hasn't ended yet.
"Equality doesn't exist naturally in this world," one person commented on Douban Tuesday. "We have to fight for it ourselves."
"There's still racial discriminiation, and even regional discriminiation within the country," another said. "Hope things will get better eventually."
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