Songs For The Movement: Whitey On The Moon

The Songs For The Movement section of N.A.H. houses selected protest songs for social justice from the past and the present.

Today’s entry in Songs For The Movement is the poem “Whitey On The Moon” by Gil Scott-Heron.

When I listen to this, I think of the idea of two separate Americas. One which touts and celebrates the benefit of social, economic, and technological advancement, and another, unseen and unacknowledged America in which Black people fight to survive through this system of White supremacy.

I heard this poem as an indictment of the denial of the climate; then and now that perpetuates racism and oppression. This poem reminded me of every time I hear a reporter or politician highlight how much the economy has improved, how industries are growing and jobs are coming back, while at the same time ignoring the harsh personal, social, and economic realities that Black people experience as a result of racism; a tool of white supremacy through the supposed growth and progress.

In this poem I hear the myth of meritocracy. I hear the silencing impact of “all lives matter” as when it is used to undercut Black voices as we say, our lives matter, too. For those reasons and many more, I have added Whitey on the Moon to the Songs For The Movement Section.

What thoughts does this poem spark in you?

If you have suggestions for Songs for the Movement, share them in the comments or via email.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW

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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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