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Space Race, or Space Racist?



1862: April 20th marks a significant day in the history of science and medicine. On this day in 1862, two pioneering French scientists, Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard, completed the first pasteurization tests on a small scale in France. This groundbreaking achievement paved the way for the widespread use of pasteurization to preserve food and prevent disease. … READ MORE ABOUT THIS HISTORIC DAY HERE

I found a news story about Victor Glover, the first black astronaut to orbit the moon, and his recent comments regarding race and the space race. Glover spoke with Axios and discussed his perspective on the current state of the United States in regards to space travel and race, and he used the 1970 poem “Whitey on the Moon” to illustrate his point.

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)..

Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin’ up,
An’ as if all that s*** wasn’t enough …
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) – Gil Scott-Heron

I have to say, I can see where Glover is coming from. The poem “Whitey on the Moon” was written by Gil Scott-Heron during a time when black Americans were struggling with poverty, debt, and high taxes. At the same time, the U.S. was spending a lot of money on the Apollo program, which was criticized by many Americans, including black activists like Scott-Heron, who believed that the money could have been better spent to help struggling communities.

Now, almost 50 years later, we have the first black astronaut flying a mission to the moon. But Glover’s comments suggest that we are still in a similar place as we were in the 1970s. He says that our country is in a very complicated place, and that it’s important to recognize and respect skeptics.

I have to agree with Glover on this. It’s important to recognize that space travel and exploration can be seen as a luxury when the tax burden on the middle class is already a huge burden. I do believe that space travel and exploration are important for humanity’s future, I’ve watched Star Trek – I get it. As a historian and constitutional scholar, I know from history just how exploration and discovery have always been an essential part of human progress.


But being able to do something and being able to afford something are two very different things. It’s important to find a balance between investing in space exploration and investing in our own people.

In regards to Glover himself, I don’t get why everything has to be about race, why make the space race into the space racist? It just doesn’t make much sense in my head. I am not trying to say racism doesn’t exist, but I definitely think the media blows this kinda thing outta proportion and makes it seem like it’s a bigger deal than it actually is in reality.

I look forward to the day when we stop looking at EVERYTHING through the lens of Identity Politics. I think our country will be much stronger the faster we can put that ideology in the trash where it belongs.

source: Axios