In a pivotal scene of Hidden Figures, Paul Stafford refuses to let Kathrine Goble enter a Pentagon briefing, and when prompted for an explanation, he merely responds: "that's just the way it is."
This line prompted me to consider how tradition defines our community. The segregation depicted in Hidden Figures, and the racism in the United States today, is tradition, and it took generations of transgressors to effectively change it.
I do not think it is constructive (or accurate, for that matter) to trivialize the discrimination faced by black women in segregation-era America by comparing their immense struggles to the smaller controversies that occur on our campus. However, I think an applicable lesson can be garnered from their story on tradition and transgression.
"That's just the way it is" is not a valid argument. "It is tradition" is not a valid argument, and "tradition is important" is not a valid justification for continuing behaviors that are detrimental to members of our community. Much like our rules, our traditions are "guard rails" which lead us when we don't know where to go. Whether it comes to dress code, graduation gowns, or the role of athletics, I believe it is our responsibility as a community to examine the traditions we follow, and make sure that they are guiding us to kindness.