Sinéad O’Connor – Black Boys On Mopeds

Nicholas Bramble tried to get away from police who suspected he did not own the moped he was driving. His crash in 1989 was fatal. Would he have been pursued were it not for his black skin?

A year later, Sinéad O’Connor kind of sings about him in this haunting protest song, lamenting a pointless death (Bramble did own the moped). And she blames Margaret Thatcher for appearing to care more about human rights abuses in other countries, when the same things were occurring domestically.

Maggie Thatcher, AKA the Iron Lady, was prime minister of Britain from 1979-1990, and has just died.

Her political views remain hotly debated. This includes her belief in scaling back the scope of government, and in particular, the welfare state collection of public programs and services that seek to improve our quality of life and reduce the risks of modern living. Instead, Thatcher felt such assistance makes people come to rely on the government at the expense of freedom; we should take care each other more, privately and voluntarily.

Said she,

I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand “I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!” or “I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!” “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations.

Now, back to black boys on mopeds.

Ethnic minorities are more likely than Caucasians to be poorer. So, one criticism of Thatcher’s take on the role of government is that it is in effect racist: scaling back the welfare state hurts blacks more than whites. And that’s why O’Connor sings about getting her kids out of the United Kingdom.

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2 thoughts on “Sinéad O’Connor – Black Boys On Mopeds

  1. Love political songs…off top of my head some songs about specific people: Phil Ochs “Ballad of Medgar Evers,” Dylan’s “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” and his “Death of Emmett Till.” Many more…just that 60 year old brain can’t retrieve as quickly!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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