"Rediscovering the Scientist" Looks at Erasure of People of Color in Western Science

by Aleshea Harris

“People could not heal if they did not know the truth,” declares Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu early in filmmaker Lydia Hicks’ new documentary-in-progress, Rediscovering the Scientist. Indeed, healing by way of seeking truth is the major driving force of this absorbing new film, which critically examines erasure of people of color in science history and highlights multicultural contributions to the field.

By fixing her lens on the oft ignored or actively silenced voices of black and brown people, Hicks brings an empowering, more pluralistic narrative to the forefront; one that acknowledges modern western science owes a debt (whether it is willing to admit it or not) to countless unnamed and uncredited black and brown people globally.

Vividly animated and moving deftly through the ages, Rediscovering the Scientist charts a young woman’s journey from disillusionment with an exclusionary narrative to a proactive confrontation with it. Hicks reaches into history, unflinchingly exploring such things as the inception of racism and childbirth-as-industry while engaging the present through interviews with such luminaries as Dr. Vandana Shiva, Dr. Molefi Asante, and Max Dashu.

This important film successfully claps back at racist and sexist mythologies by highlighting and dismantling their origins. With Rediscovering the Scientist, Hicks has created a buoyant reclamation of the ingenuity of those in the margins, the kind of truth that will surely lead to necessary healing.

The project is in its final stages. You can help to bring it to completion by making a donation here.

You can also check out the film's three trailers below:

Aleshea Harris am a playwright, poet and instructor of World Theatre Text at California Institute of the Arts.


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