Thursday, September 17, 2009


Protest Poetry – Racism Speech by Brydee Maroney-Vita

Today, protest poetry is an excellent way for social protest to be heard. One issue that has been discussed widely in protest poetry is racism. Racism is a very big problem in the world today and the song Black or White by Michael Jackson and the poem End Racism by Robert M. Hensel help by challenging racism and persuading people to feel the way both the composer and the poet feel about racism.

The poem End Racism and the song Black or White are both forms of protest poetry. These two pieces are written from very different angles. The main argument in End Racism is about religion. It says “Christ made all man in the likes of Him.” This argument is effective, as many people believe in God and religion. If they are told that people are supposed to be the way they are because of religion they will make sure they aren’t racist because they want to do the right thing by their religion or beliefs. Black or White is written about people being hurt by racism and being discriminated against based on the colour of their skin. It says “It don’t matter if you’re Black or white.” This is very powerful as it is simply stating Michael Jackson’s opinion of the way things should be. Although they are written about different issues within racism, both of them are about the human race uniting together without worrying about the colour of people’s skin.
Protest poetry is written for a two main reasons, to get people to hear their protest and to persuade people to think the way they do. The poem End Racism and the song Black or White are no exception to this. The purpose of the two pieces is to make people aware of racism and to persuade people to stop being racist. They are also written to promote racial unity and equality. This is shown in End Racism when it says “The colors of the world, all join as one,” and in Black or White when it says “I aint second to none and I told about equality.”

Both pieces of work show different emotions, which help the audience feel that the writer and poet actually care about the issue of racism. The emotions shown in the poem End Racism are sadness and longing. The poet is sad that there is racism in the world and he is longing to get his message across and for a world with no racism. This is shown when the author has written, “We all must bring our Racism to end, a message to all, I long to send.” The emotions shown in the song Black or White are hope and also the composer being tired of racism. This is shown in the song when it says, “I am tired of this devil, I am tired of this stuff, I am tired of this business.”

The craftsmanship of the poem and the song are used to help make the form of protest poetry more effective. In the poem End Racism the words are not harsh, they are longing and sad. This makes the poem more effective as it shows that the poet is hurt by racism and it also benefits him as it shows he is not using violence and anger to stop racism. It uses imagery and metaphors, one where it says, “the colours of the world, all join as one” and another saying “the lord is our Sheppard, and we as his son”. The first is making people see a great image of all people being united. The metaphor is used to make the bond between the reader and God important making the evidence used to persuade the reader more effective, therefore making the poem more effective.

The words in the song Black or White are hopeful for most of the song and they describe how good the world would be without racism. This paints a picture for the listener and it helps persuade them to see that racism is not good for the world. They then change to more harsh words. They say how he is sick of racism and he points out the bad things about it. This helps show the reader why racism is bad and it backs up the reason for writing the song. When his words are hopeful the rhythm is much lighter and when he gets angry it becomes more intense. One of the poetic techniques the composer has used is repetition. He has repeated the words “it doesn’t matter if your black or white.” This helps get the message across as it is repeated so many times throughout the song it will stay in the listeners head.

The song Black or White by Michael Jackson and the poem End Racism by Robert M. Hensel are excellent vehicles for protest. Both the poem and the song convey the message to stop racism and to join together peacefully as equals without worrying about the colour of people’s skin. Both pieces successfully begin to persuade the reader or listener to feel the way the poet and the composer feel about racism. Thank you.

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