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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A New Year And A Time To Overcome Old Struggles

OldMe_NewMe

First I have to say, Happy New Year to you as we enter 2018. No way to not date a blog post as you can look right at the date of the post right?

After a long 2017, I’m very glad to at least have the opportunity for a new start. This year, I’m all about trying to get more content posted. One error I may have made in prior years was not posting in the midst of struggles as I want to help others through the hardships of homeschooling as well. Over the years, people have said, “It’s so easy for you all to do it, but for me…” and then the excuses start flowing. Well, let me tell you, it’s not so easy for us.

The 2017-2018 school year started with me taking over the role as the sole educator. My wife is focusing on building her career as a doula. Therefore, I started teaching my 13-year-old, 11-year-old and to a certain extent, my 16-year-old as well (much less work is required with her as she is in college full-time right now as well). This has been more challenging than I first anticipated for a number of reasons.

First, my “9 to 5” workload did not see the expected decrease. For over a year, I have been playing more of a significant role in our group after the loss of two veteran colleagues. That means more meetings (some useful, most not) and more responsibility to make sure money gets made and customers notice very little of our internal changes.

Second, my Big Homie and Boney have completely different learning styles (although  I am hearing there is no such thing…more on that in a future post) from each other and different motivations than my oldest two. While this should be obvious, unlike society’s school, my job is to motivate, meet and lead them in their optimal learning sphere, not just from my learning sphere, a curriculum or other students sphere. Big Homie, once he focuses and if he’s engaged, is a tremendous problem solver. The struggle is to keep him focused. Of course, I’m so glad to be his teacher because if he were in society’s school, he’d likely be doped up on meds to make him “conform”, I mean…pay attention. Boney’s attention span is equally short as well, but she struggles with reading so more hands-on help is necessary for focus and explanation of lessons.

I’m going to be honest with all of you. I confess that there have been many nights I have felt like a failure.

As I have been focusing on work, other household challenges and my own health, there have been too many nights I have gone to bed feeling like I should have done more. I have been trying to at least get seven hours of sleep before starting my 6 A.M. workday in the home office, but that means I’ve gone to bed knowing I need to check work, but I’m exhausted and just don’t have much in me to push through.

I am a big goal person, so now this is one of my top priorities for 2018. I have a personal standard to do better because they deserve more and I know I can do much better. Don’t get me wrong, I think they have learned a ton over the last four months but I know we can do more and accomplish more.

So let me start this year by remembering one of my favorite Fredrick Douglas quotes,

If there is no struggle there is no progress.

I am standing on that quote right now. If you are homeschooling and struggling, or wondering if you can do this, I want you to stand on it as well. No, this is not easy financially; it takes time, resources, energy to bring it EVERY DAY. There are no days off in this game. But we focus on the payoff at the end of the race, knowing that the years will be gone before we know it.  We will look back knowing we have left our footprints in the drying cement of their hearts and minds. My size 12s are there, flat-feet and all saying,

“You have been taught at an incredible price because you are a worthy investment. Live like one and carry our new tradition from generation to generation. A new family tree and legacy with minds filled by Dad.”

It is not easy, but thank God for the grace to keep striving to get it right and for seizing this new year he has given us.

 

College Girl

Hi everyone, I haven’t posted a blog post in awhile, and in this blog post I’ll explain why. Things have been busy since I posted my last blog post, My Views on Starting CollegeI have now put my plan into action and went through with what I said in my last post. I did so well during the summer that I decided to do another semester.

At my college there are two summer semesters, I took two classes in the first semester and one in the second. To start my college experience I took Sociology 101 and Pre-algebra in the first semester, then I took Introductory Algebra in the second semester. I passed all of these classes with an A grade. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to enter college with no experience in school. Since I started in the summer, when there aren’t many students on campus, I didn’t have a classroom full of people. All my summer classes were what they call ITV classes, which are basically Skype calls where your professor and most of your other classmates are on a screen. This made it much easier to give I presentation in my sociology class. It was also easier than I thought to talk to people. At first, I was nervous to meet people on a daily basis, and I stressed over the little things like can you switch seats on the second day of class or is there an assigned seating code I don’t know about? But there was nothing to worry about, I was just freaking out about being with other people.

I also got to see all the people that left the class in the beginning or middle of the semester. There was one guy in my sociology class that was supposed to give a presentation on the second day of class, he ended up not showing up ever again. Then I just watched all the other students drop like flies. Seeing them leave gave me the courage to keep going when I wanted to cry because I procrastinated on an essay. I also made some companions in math class, which is honestly part of the reason I wanted to start college.

I am now in the Fall semester and I feel like I can do more. So I decided to do a full college load of 14 credits, and continue doing high school at home. Because of this, I made sure to download a lot of inspirational quotes for this semester on my phone. The classes I’m taking in the Fall semester are Interpersonal Communication, Intermediate Algebra, Anatomy and Physiology, and Survey of Jazz/Pop Music. My hope is to get at least two A’s and two B’s.

So this is my update post, I will try to keep people posted on what is going on, but I have a feeling that I will be really busy for the next few months!

-Lexi (a.k.a College Girl)