“Whitey on the Moon” In 2020

Damien Chazelle as Gil Scott-Heron reciting “Whitey on the Moon” in First Man (2018).

As I watched the SpaceX Dragon Crew launch and the George Floyd protests unfold on YouTube on Saturday, May 30, 2020, I remembered the protest scene from First Man (2018) that stood as a counterpoint in the biopic of Neil Armstrong being the first man on the moon in 1969.

A group of protesters listened to Gil Scott-Heron (Leon Bridges) recite his poem, “Whitey on the Moon,” about the economic realities that people of color endure on the earth while white men went to the moon.

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey’s on the moon)

I can’t pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)
Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
(while Whitey’s on the moon)

On the earth, a sister is ill and may die from a lack of affordable healthcare.

On the moon, NASA spent millions of dollars to send white men to another celestial body in the heavens

Fast forward 50 years later.

A mural of George Floyd painted a segment of the Berlin wall.

On the earth, George Floyd died under the knee of a white police officer, and, if he had survive his encounter with the police, may still have died from a lack of affordable healthcare.

Current crew of the International Space Station (5/31/2020).

On the moon, NASA spent millions of dollars to send a pair of white men on a brand spanking new spaceship to join other white men already on the International Space Station.

A very remarkable contrast between then and now, unfolding in the same weekend. Looking through the recent comments for the various “Whitey on the Moon” videos on YouTube, other people have drawn a similar conclusion.

Nothing has changed between the earth and the moon in the last 50 years.

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C.D. Reimer

C.D. Reimer

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C.D. Reimer makes topical videos about comic cons, pop culture, Silicon Valley and technology on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/cdreimer