Bring ‘Whitey’ Back!

EarthVessel
2 min readFeb 28, 2023

Yesterday I was reminded of a poem from 1970 by Gil Scott-Heron, titled Whitey’s on the Moon. It’s thing of beauty and it made my day! But it did leave me wondering why black people don’t seem to use the term “Whitey” anymore. I know I don’t ever hear it. Why can’t we bring it back?

I think chances of a ‘whitey’ comeback are improved if we can get the poem some views. It is more relevant than ever today, whether or not there’s a “whitey” on the moon at this particular time. So here it is:

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 paying still.
(while Whitey’s on the Moon)

The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night.
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)

I wonder why he’s uppi’ me?
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon?)
I was already payin’ ‘im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin’ up,
An’ as if all that shit wasn’t enough

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

Was all that money I made las’ year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain’t no money here?
(Hm! Whitey’s on the moon)
Y’know I jus’ ‘bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)

Aw hell, while we’re at it, why not add a touch of 2020 in there too. I can’t help myself:

The law man choked my brother dead

(but Whitey’s on the Moon)

Standard protocol’s what they said

(and Whitey’s on the Moon)

Another friend shot in the back

(while Whitey’s on the Moon)

Add one more body to the stack

(but Whitey’s on the Moon!)

Cops came over and took away my pop

(while Whitey’s on the Moon)

Whatever’s up don’t call the cops

(still Whitey’s on the Moon)

Note: I do know most cops are decent guys. One of my best childhood friends is one and I know he’s a good man. But we have a systemic problem here, and unless all decent people become willing to stand up against injustice, we’ll never make it out of the mess we’re in.

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EarthVessel

exploring the endless depths of both inner and outer worlds