The violent gaze.

/The violent gaze.

Still thinking about “This is America”, TBH. Also see this thread, and this one.

One of the things I think is most glaring about TiA is that it is very, very strongly aimed at the white gaze. Moreover, Glover’s “persona” in the clip—with a few exceptions, such as the final scene—is framed not as himself as an African American man but as a caricature of the sort of Blackness that is considered “acceptable”/commodified for the consumption of a white audience (ref. the poses and expressions in his dance that mimic Jim Crow/minstrelsy/blackface). In the clip he has himself become, in other words, The White Gaze. Moreover, every expression of sincere Black joy or creativity is shown as being either violently obliterated (in the case of the guitarist and church choir), ignored (in the case of the everything in the background), or exploited and made complicit (in the case of the dancing schoolchildren) by this Gaze.

It’s a grim message, in other words, and I do think criticism of it from the “in decrying the exploitation of Black pain for the white gaze isn’t this just playing into the same?” is, like. Valid.

But damn if it isn’t an effective piece of art either way.

2018-05-08T15:54:14+00:008th May, 2018|Tags: culture, pop culture|

Comments are closed.