According to Stevie, who hasn't done nothing?

I say it’s white people in general. My husband thinks it’s Berry Gordy. My son, after hearing the song for the first time, thinks maybe Nixon. Does anyone know who Stevie Wonder was singing about?
Side poll-- If you are under 25 and know this song, where’d you hear it?

Nixon. No cite, just memory.

Ditto Nixon.

Are you both telling me my 17 year old son guessed it right off the bat? No, I need more opinions. I will be unable to live with him otherwise.

Here’s yer cite.
Quote for those too lazy to click the link:

I’m pretty sure he was speaking to white people in general, mainly those who felt that much progress had been made in racial equality. I remember that time well and it had nothing to do with Nixon. Stevie was saying that from the black person’s point of view, not much progress had been made at all.

Your experience is not universal. I remember it well at the time it hit the airwaves also. And the default assumption among us 15-19 year olds was that it was about Tricky Dick. The deejays on the local radio stations were certainly claiming it was about Nixon, also.

I also note that googling “You haven’t done nothing” & Nixon together gives 364 hits, and googling “you haven’t done nothin” & Nixon together gives 732 hits. Not to say that therein lies proof, but it certainly means a LOT of us believed, and still do, that the song was about Nixon.

Well, like you say, we have different memories. Plus I’m slightly older; I was around 25 when that song was out. But everyone I knew took it to mean that white people still had their job cut out for them if they wanted to feel good about the black man’s progress. As far as Googling goes, everything on the net has arrived there only recently in terms of the country’s history, and it’s popular to blame Nixon for every negative thing that happened during that era. And it occurs to me that deejays (and many other white people, for that matter) would find it easier to say that Stevie was criticizing Nixon rather than white people themselves, which of course they happened to be themselves.

I guess it’s only speculation on everyone’s part unless Stevie himself explains what he meant.


Here’s a side side poll.

Im 37 and I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song (at least never paid attention to it)

Do I win anything?

I agree with Biggirl and Starving Artist.

That said, I wouldn’t mind hearing from Stevie himself on the matter.

I was always under the impression that it was about Nixon, as well.

When I first heard the song (sometime in the 80’s), my impression was that it was directed at politicians who talked big but didn’t follow through. But I didn’t know who he specifically had in mind, or even if it was directed at any one person in particular.

I don’t know the song myself, but just from looking at the lyrics, I think it’s probably about politicians in general. I don’t think anything he says sounds specific to Nixon.

I just Googled the lyrics and I think it’s pretty clear they weren’t aimed at Nixon. There is a line that goes:

“We are amazed but not amused
By all the things you say that you’ll do
Though much concerned but not involved
With decisions that are made by you

(bolding mine)

I don’t much imagine that the black community or Wonder himself much felt that Nixon was “much concerned” about their plight.

Then there is the line:

“It’s not too cool to be ridiculed
But you brought this upon yourself
The world is tired of pacifiers
We want the truth and nothing else”

I could be wrong, but it appears to me that he would regard white American society itself for the situation blacks found themselves in rather than the politicians of the time who had nothing to do with creating the situation. I suppose it could be argued that politicians brought it upon themselves, but the civil rights movement was relatively young at that time and social change was being driven more by protest and the shifting of public sentiments in favor of blacks rather than by the actions of politicians. In fact, I’d say very little was being accomplished at that time by politicians. The courts were the venue where most strides were being made at the time.

Biggirl, unless your son is a Doper and knows your Doper name, why would you even need to tell him? Just tell him you’re right, he’ll never know the truth. Sheesh, you shouldda learned by now how to flimflam and bamboozle your children. :smiley:

He’s a doper. He already knows.

I was 14 then and I thought it was about Nixon.

I have never heard anything about this song that does not mention that it is aimed at Nixon.