[Prose] A Black History Lesson
September 7, 2021
Racism in America is the same fabric that was used both by E.A. Markham and Donald Glover in weaving their art. In fact, both pieces of art have elucidated how slavery was then and how it is continuing now up to this day. Markham wrote a poem titled “A History Without Suffering”, but the piece was quite subtle and full of literary allegory. Meanwhile, Glover’s “This is America” has been more blatant and direct with the message he intended to stipulate. But the essence of both arts has been manifested visibly: the artists wanted to show to the world the injustices and oppression the blacks have been experiencing from racism.
From manifesting through slavery, racism now has become a narrative of guns and violence in America. Glover showed a powerful statement when he started his music video by shooting a black man and saying “this is America”, as if the incident is a normal reoccurring scenario faced by the blacks every day. The strongest message Glover exhibited is when at the end of the video he was as if running because he was being chased by whites in uniform. According to reports, Gambino’s sprint goes back to a long tradition of black Americans having to run to save their lives, which dates back to slavery in the 19th century and was called “Run N — Run.”
Yet the oppressors of the blacks have changed nothing even a bit. In the time of Markham, they wanted to turn a blind eye on the existing racism. However, with the #BlackLivesMatter, the blacks are now standing up and fighting back. They refuse to accept the historical revisionism of “a history without violence”. Their voices now amplify the oppression their community has experienced. And this is surely what Glover meant with “you motherfuckers owe me”.