I couldn’t be happier for Donald Glover’s wonderful song and music video by his musical personality of Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” It is one of the most successful videos of all time pulling in nearly 120,000,000 million views on YouTube in just a week and I have to say that I think its one of the most interesting that I’ve ever seen. The music and the video are the work of a truly talented young person in Donald Glover who is playing Lando Calrissian in the new Star Wars movie Solo: A Star Wars Story. I am personally very impressed with young Donald Glover, he’s a smart person, genuinely very talented, and obviously has some things to say about the world around him and can express them both artistically and commercially, which is extremely rare. For his part, I hope the new Solo movie is a huge hit because it will continue to expose him to a larger audience and culturally, I think that’s great for our civilization. However, I disagree with the assumptions he has made in his music video. His America isn’t my America and that void is truly at the center of all our modern politics.
The video done with such fantastic choreography and pacing is obviously an anti-gun message that assumes that from the point of view of African descendants living in America that the deck is stacked against them by whites who are easily distracted and put gun rights over the rights of life. From the point of view of young people, especially people making a living in Los Angeles, this is a swallow well of thought that is common in liberal regions around the country. Even though the video is well done, and the music itself is excellent, the message is flawed because it doesn’t see the bigger picture of human existence as a context, but rather progressive politics as it exists in the mind of young people not yet in their 30s. They haven’t begun to live lives yet, in many cases they haven’t started raising families and living life, yet they think like all young people do that they know it all and can lecture the rest of us how things “ought” to be based on what they feel.
Value for life goes much deeper than just saying you want to let people live—the true value of human existence that sets us apart from all other living things is our ability to think. Obviously, the kind of culture that is displayed in Childish Gambino’s “America” is a black culture with beliefs and yearnings straight from their African continent—the manner of dance and values are clearly different from what might be considered from the aggressive white Wall Street crowd in the United States. It is one thing to believe that money is the root of all evil but it is quite another to complain that everyone in the black community is poor because they have either sacrificed themselves to a new plantation of Democratic politics, or they have chosen to bring the kind of Marxism that is common in the African continent to their voting patterns in America. In either case, it should not be surprising to anybody that people who do not embrace the capitalism of western civilization will be at a loss to live within those cultures without being left behind economically. It’s not that white America has left behind black America and suppressed them into the slums of inner cities—its that blacks generally as a race of people have been slow to accept capitalism in their lives and have philosophically at the most epistemological level adopted the wrong outlook toward life and have made themselves victims.
In the video Donald Glover appears to be smoking a joint, (a marijuana cigarette) as he dances on a bunch of older American cars. These are interesting images taken together—and marijuana is a particularly popular drug in black neighborhoods which I would argue are poison for their minds. Likely more dangerous for the black community than guns is the numbing of their minds by drugs, alcohol and poor educations. Even worse has been their acceptance of big daddy government to allow fathers to leave the home and government to raise the many children born to broken families. Gun violence is a symptom of the broken homes of many black families who are struggling to accept the rules of conduct that were always supposed to be part of the American experience and instead the young people have joined gangs for social acceptance and taken to mental destruction as a way to push away the reality of their many mistakes.
I thought the handling of the guns in the video was particularly powerful. Its true, America does handle the guns with great care because firearms represent an intellectual aptitude that they are meant to protect. Just because elements of our society fall short of the values that were always supposed to be part of the American experience, the guns are not the villains. To be lectured by a bunch of liberals who abort babies at a rate that would embarrass even the most ruthless mass murders in world history that guns are killing their young people is hypocrisy at its most telling. I don’t blame Donald Glover for his lack of seeing the big picture. I have had dinner with many people in the LA night scene over the years and I can report that they have a very limited understanding of life in the big picture. They are pinned into that little valley between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains and think that everyone around the country thinks the way they do about things, and they couldn’t be more wrong. The pace of our modern world driven by capitalism is fast-moving, it is driven by money, because money represents a form of value and is a good thing, not a bad thing. And guns are the centerpiece of American freedom, without guns politicians like John McCain would have turned America into Europe a long time ago—so the guns are an intellectual protection of the founding principles of our nation—and they are to be treated with great care—unfortunately only by the conservative parts of America at this moment.
The real dangers facing the black communities are in their ignorance—their desire to march in a mob together with Marxist philosophies which have imprisoned them to Democratic politics. Donald Glover’s caricatures of Jim Crow I thought were very interesting, but the suggestions of racism are misplaced in the context of history. America was founded by religious white people from Europe who had been thinking about freedom and self-governing ideas for many centuries—largely due to the failures of the church in places like England and France. A big part of that philosophical contemplation is what freed the slaves in America and gave opportunity to blacks that they certainly didn’t have in Africa, and for some they embraced these opportunities—Fredrick Douglas comes to my mind who was a very prominent Republican at the middle 19th century period. However, many whites were skeptical of people from black culture—their dancing and music were unusual, and they had ideas from a totally different region of the world that were unfamiliar—and it took some time to bring those two races together—and nothing else should have been expected. There are few places elsewhere in the world where people of totally different background have tried to unite in peace like they have in the United States. Rather than complaining about everything, black Americans should be happy that they can find an audience of acceptance in the United States. I can’t think of anybody I know who will refuse to see Solo: A Star Wars Story because Donald Glover is a black man—and I certainly don’t know anybody who loves sports who refuses to attend a professional team because the players are mostly black. The only people who really notice blacks and whites are those who profit off the divisions, like Democratic politicians who need to victimize black cultures to keep their vote counts high. That is the real victimization that is going on—and that kind of thing certainly wasn’t in Donald Glover’s video.
But take as a work of art from a young man who still has a lot to learn about life, I thought “This is America” was a brilliant piece of work. I may look at it and clap the way I would encourage a kid in the third grade to keep trying because someday they may get it—due to their raw talent. At my age these days a third grader and a 30-year-old are not that far apart in intellectual development, so I kind of see them the same way. Unquestionably, Donald Glover is a rare modern talent and I am excited to see more from him. It’s not wrong to have opinions, or to express them. But he’s not presenting the next monumental breakthrough in thought. He’s still a young kid trying to impress his LA cultural peers with his understanding of their politics—no matter how false that politics may be compared to the sentiment of the rest of the country. And that is the real trick, not just in making interesting art that a particular sector of political order enjoys as a reality, but that speaks to everyone. In that regard, “This is America” misses the mark as it only speaks truly to the self-oppressed, the ignorant, and the inexperienced.
The big misunderstanding that persists to this day is that merit and respect are given out in American society the way a village chief might have enjoyed in some other region of the world, and under capitalism, that isn’t the case. Respect is earned by those who work hard and pull themselves up. While it was true that white Americans were weary of black Americans because they feared that the newly freed slaves would not work to incorporate themselves into the Christian based society that was so newly created from European statism. But Donald Glover certainly has made good use of American opportunity, and many other black Americans have too, and that is where skin color truly does disappear. Americans like successful people, or people trying to be successful. They tend to look down their nose at lazy people no matter what their skin color is, or people who lack intellectual aptitude. Racism isn’t the biggest problem facing America—its stupidity—from all races and sexes, and that is what needs to be addressed if we are ever to truly solve the problems of our age. America is not the problem and never has been, the burden has always been and continues to be that not all people understand what it takes to live and be successful in America. As a person, Donald Glover gets it, but as the culture he is representing in his new music video, they don’t. All they can do is discuss the symptoms of the problems instead of the causes—and for that they must look at themselves.
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