This is America: Observations and Thoughts

This is America

Childish Gambino’s “This is America” music video has swept the nation with its poetic lyrics and its hidden messages. The song has only been out for a week (as of this writing) and the music video already has over 139 million views on YouTube. With its growing popularity, I have decided to compare this music video to Neely Fuller’s view of entertainment. Also, breakdown the contents and significance of his music video.

Background of the Music Video

The music video takes place in a warehouse, and starts out with a guitar on a chair as a black man comes, picks it up and sits in the chair. The camera moves and you see Childish Gambino standing and as the music plays, he starts to dance. He dances towards the man, who before was sitting down playing the guitar, but now has a bag over his head. When Childish Gambino is right behind him, he pulls out a pistol and shoots him. He then hands the gun over to a teenager in a school uniform and starts dancing again. While dancing, teens come and start dancing behind him. Also, while they dance, you can see that there is rioting going on in the background along with a police car.

After, the camera shifts and you are in a room, and a church choir is singing. Then Childish Gambino comes in and starts dancing while they sing. And while they sing, Childish Gambino stops and is tossed an automatic rifle and shoots the choir, which could refer to church shootings. He then hands the rifle to the same teen he handed the pistol to. He dances out of the room and in the background, there is more rioting. Then he dances some more while the rioting goes on around him, then the camera shifts and you see the teenage dancers start dancing again. After a while, the camera shifts again revealing teenagers with bandanas while holding their phones, appearing to be filming the riot. Then the camera moves to show Childish Gambino and the teenage dancers dancing again, and still in the background you can see that the rioting is still going on. Then you see a white horse pass by with a white guy riding it. Then the teenage dancers dance in a circle around Childish Gambino, seeming confused, but is shocked when Childish Gambino acts like he shoots a gun. Then while everyone is running you hear a faint scream. Then Gambino lights a cigar and walks away.

After, the scene changes to Gambino walking up a car and standing on top of it. Then starts dancing on it while the camera zooms out, and shows old cars surrounding him and the black man who got shot in the chair (earlier in the video) and a woman sitting on a car. Then the camera shifts to a scene where he’s running from white people.

Dancing in the Music Video

The dancing in the music video is very African centered. When Childish Gambino is about to shoot the Black man playing the guitar, he poses by putting his butt back and putting his right hand on his hip. I assume he got this pose from a Jim Crow poster of a Black man doing the same thing.

Lyrics in the Song

When the song begins, you hear what seems to be Africans singing, they may be singing to the Europeans that come to “colonize” them. Also, when they reveal Childish Gambino, he starts singing, “We just want to party, party just for you. We just want the money, money just for you.” The “you” may refer to America, and how Americans just want to party and want money all the time. Then when there was rioting going on behind him, he says, “Police be tripping now.” Very likely referring to the police killings and beatings on Black people. Also, while the rioting is going on behind him, he says, “Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla.” Meaning guerilla warfare, referring to the riot that was going on.

Does the Song Fit Neely Fuller’s View of Entertainment and Does It Promote Justice?

In Neely Fuller’s book The United Independent Compensatory Code/System/Concept: A Compensatory Counter-Racist Code, it says, “During the existence of White Supremacy, always expect most so-called “entertainment” for Non-White people to be, basically, pitiful, primitive, stupid, and/or silly.” So, the question is, does the song make Non-White (specifically so-called Black) people look pitiful, primitive, stupid, and/or silly?

It may be viewed a little silly (since during the music video, Childish Gambino has no shirt on), but I don’t view it as making Black people look pitiful, primitive, or stupid. Also in Neely Fuller’s book, he says, “Do not “dance,” or participate in so-called “group-dancing” unless all of the persons participating have a collective understanding of what the “dancing” is designed to produce, in regards to the result.” Since it seems that Childish Gambino (and his background dancers) meant for this song to point out all the disorder in America, I think the song fulfilled its purpose. Now for the important question, does the song promote and/or produce justice?  I think that the song may promote justice, in the sense that it may get people to think about all the disorder in America.

The song itself is good (even though it does say one curse word). If the black (i.e. Non-White) people watching it were to look at the video in close detail, I think people will be shocked at what they find. All in all, I think the music video does produce justice and sends a wakeup call to the nation.

This has been my thoughts and observations of the “This is America” music video. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something while reading it.

-Big Homie

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TeachThemRight About Geography: Arizona’s Top 5 Industries By Employment

A new contribution by another “student”. Big Homie (my 12-year-old son) contributes the following post looking at Labor in the state of Arizona.*

I’d like to show a chart of the top five industries in 2014.

joshuas-chart

Yes, the government was on Arizona’s top five employers in Arizona. We will later see if other states are similar. This chart shows how many employees are paid by:

1: Trade, transportation, and utilities: 494,000

2: Government: 411,300

3: Professional and business services: 390,700

4: Leisure and hospitality: 290,800

5: Financial activity: 195,300

However, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is still Arizona’s biggest employer, followed by Banner Health, a healthcare company, and grocery chains Kroger Company. I know what you’re thinking “so why is not Wal-Mart on this list”? This is because Wal-Mart is technically a business, not an industry.

By: Big Homie

arizona-sign

* Remember your old boring Geography class in school? Did you ever wonder whether it really mattered if you knew exactly where various states were located in the United States? Really, you were not even able to drive yet and what if you never planned on even visiting those states when you got older? Well, I’ve noticed the fruits of this mentality in adults over the years, so this year I wanted to try something different with the Tribe. 

Now in full disclosure, Lil Pappa (my dad) would take the fam across the country to California and one of my favorite activities (besides counting BJ Trucks…but more on that another day) was following along in the atlas, and observing the topography and demographics in each state. 

Therefore, we are combining Geography with a bit of Sociology. We are choosing various states and besides just asking questions like, “what are the main tourist attractions in the state?”, they are making a short analysis of each state within Neely Fuller’s Nine Areas of People Activity paradigm: 

1. Economics
2. Education
3. Entertainment
4. Labor
5. Law
6. Politics
7. Religion
8. Sex
9. War/Counter-War

TeachThemRight About Geography (#8): “Interracial” Marriages In Arizona?*

 

IR_TTR_collage(logo).png
If the images of these couples conjure up memories or images in your mind, you (like me) show the power of media images and indicates the power of optics in influencing our mate selection

When people think of the state of Arizona in relation to people groups, marriage, and relationships, the “Luke and Laura” white ideal couple tends to not come to the forefront of the mind as fast as it may when you think of other states.

But what does the data say and why does it matter?

Well, according to Tallese D. Johnson and Rose M. Kreider of the U.S. Census Bureau, the data gives us insight into, “factors affecting the residence patterns…

1. Opportunity for potential spouses to meet: in areas where there are few Asians, for example, we would expect to see fewer White / Asian intermarried households (Harris & Ono 2004).

2. Historic patterns of residence/migration patterns: for example, the removal of many American Indian tribes from their original lands to reservation lands; historically higher proportions of Hispanics living in the Southwest; historically higher proportions of Asians living in the West. 

3. Characteristics of the current population that are typical of those who are more likely to intermarry: for example, individuals with higher educational attainment are more likely to intermarry so one might expect that areas with higher educational levels might have more intermarried couple households (Qian & Lichter 2007; Fryer 2007).”

Therefore, having some insight into the marriage patterns of various people groups in a state tells us much about the state’s history, gives insight into present demographics and may aid in forecasting future policy and patterns. To be blunt, “race” is in the DNA of America. There is nothing that happens in the areas of human activity that are not forged through a racial template, hence why it is my responsibility to mold that template as a homeschooling parent, and not leave that up to society.

Anyone know how that has turned out recently?

Now first, a few ground rules. I do not teach my children to categorize people by race. Any uses of such categories are for the reader and to stay true to the categories used by a particular source. We follow Acts 17:24-26:

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,c 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”.

Second, I am under no illusion, as many in the world are, that “interracial relationships signal some kind of racial progress. See the blog Black Women of Brazil for a look at how interracial relationships are used as a tool in a nation that is considered “post-racial” and a true “melting pot”. Some may even feel that this is where the United States is heading by design.

Notice I did not say, “all because two people fell in love”…(I’ve seen that sign somewhere before). Love does have a color, and it is the government that determines whether “that color” is acceptable or not for marriage. In Arizona, the government felt it was not acceptable until a court decision just days before 1960 when Henry Oyama of Japanese descent wanted to marry Mary Ann Jordan, who was “white”. The irony in the story is that Oyama passed for being of Mexican descent, which is a major variable in determining who is allowed to marry outside of their race and spent over a year in an internment camp.

I said, “Internment camp”, that alone takes us down another unique path while studying Arizona that I’ll save for later.

That said, as you will see below, it is also ironic that Arizona is one of the leading states in “white” and “Asian” interracial marriages today.

But I digress…now I do agree that at least having interaction between people groups, is a positive sign and at least creates hope that those involved will have their prejudices challenged and conquered. However, history shows this is often not the case (obviously The South especially during The Nadir era is an excellent example), and I teach my children to look for various markers on why they may be making a particular choice for a spouse, especially one outside of their people group.

For example:

  • What is their theological and biblical view of “race”?
  • Do you view this person as superior to you? For example, are you saying, “I think white men will treat me better than black men because black men are…”
  • How do you view yourself, especially in relation to this person? For example, “I think I will have pretty kids with them because they have good hair and I don’t want my kids to have hair like me.”
  • How does this person view you and your racial views?
  • Does a person outside your people group use the word “nigga”? Do they use the excuse that they can relate to you, they listen to hip-hop, or “sometimes people just act this way and I can’t help it?”
  • How does their family view you?
  • Why is this person attracted to you? Do they make statements like, “I only like black men/women or ‘light-skinned’ men/women?”
  • Do they change their behavior when around their own people group, then act another way around you like Peter in Galatians?
  • Do they say, “When I look at you, I don’t see color”?

Trust me, those are just a few of the questions and scenarios we have discussed, but I hope you get the idea and you may have some similar thoughts for your particular people group as well.

Now let us look at the numbers. Overall, the newlywed data from 2008-2010 does show that more interracial marriages do exist out west.

ir-marriage-regional-breakdownlogo

 

What does this say about all of those “liberals” in the Northeast? Perhaps when it comes to choosing a spouse, they are just like most Americans.  But as we begin to study other states in the future, we might find that they inter-marry for a different reason such as education level over residential patterns. It certainly seems that interracial marriage is more prevalent out west is due to historical migration/residential patterns and as we study the other eight areas of activity (see below), we are going to find that it varies tremendously (depending on time period) and influences how the country interacts today (e.g. “red” and “blue” political patterns).

ir-marriage-state-breakdownlogo

Among people groups, Arizona ranks highest in marriage between “white” and “Asian” and “white” and “Hispanic” people groups.

“White” and “Hispanic” Marriage:

Arizona – 12%

Nevada – 11%

IR Marriage White_Asian State Breakdown (logo).png

* Remember your old boring Geography class in school? Did you ever wonder whether it really mattered if you knew exactly where various states were located in the United States? Really, you are not even able to drive yet and what if you never planned on even visiting those states when you got older? Well, I’ve noticed the fruits of this mentality in adults over the years, so this year I wanted to try something different with the Tribe. 

Now in full disclosure, Lil Pappa (my dad) would take the fam across the country to California and one of my favorite activities (besides counting BJ Trucks…but more on that another day) was following along in the atlas, and observing the topography and demographics in each state. 

Therefore, we are combining Geography with a bit of Sociology. We are choosing various states and besides just asking questions like, “What are the main tourist attractions in the state?”, they are making a short analysis of each state within Neely Fuller’s Nine Areas of People Activity paradigm: 

1. Economics
2. Education
3. Entertainment
4. Labor
5. Law
6. Politics
7. Religion
8. Sex
9. War/Counter-War

arizona-sign