This is America

This might just be the most important social commentary piece of the year:

  • Glover is accurately demonstrating that Americans have cultivated a culture in which we emphasize the trivial while major social issues around us remain unaddressed. – His dancing around things like police brutality and gun violence is a metaphor for how politicians dance around the same issues.
  • The exaggerated facial expressions are a subtle nod to the caricatures made during the Jim Crow era.
  • The guitarist looks eerily like Trayvon Martin’s father (it isn’t) but references the young teenager killed by George Zimmerman in 2012. He’s later brought to life, again playing the guitar with a bag still over his head.
  • Glover places a gun (twice) on a red cloth. This is symbolic of the Republican Party, which has been universally opposed to any form of sensible gun control. Notice how reverently the guns are handled, as opposed to the treatment of the dead, a slam of the NRA.
  • The choir mowed down is a clear reference to the 2015 Charleston mass shooting when white supremacist Dylan Roof murdered nine African Americans in a Church.
  • The line “This a celly / that’s a tool” has two meanings. One is the more obvious importance of using cell phones as a tool to catch cops abusing their authority. The more subtle message is that “celly” is a prison cell and “tool” is how those who run the private prison industry view inmates as tools for profit.
  • A brief scene portrays a hooded figure riding on a white horse through the chaos behind Glover. This alludes to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the first of which was (how fitting) white.
  • The dancers in the school uniforms reference the Parkland shooting and other school shootings that continue to happen to frequently that America is becoming desensitized.
  • The empty cars toward the end, front doors open and emergency lights flashing, symbolize those who have been killed for DWB (Driving While Black).Do not be so naive as to think these racial problems, particularly police killings of black men, will ever be resolved through legal means. Our system is unfortunately far too corrupt, our elections far too rigged, for that option. Time for all of us to pay attention to what is really happening, grow a pair, and confront our oppressors with force.


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