As the host of BET News and VH1 Live, as well as a political contributor for CNN, Dr. Marc Damont Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country. A bestselling author with four books to his credit, Dr. Hill’s latest NOBODY: CASUALTIES OF AMERICA’S WAR ON THE VULNERABLE, FROM FERGUSON TO FLINT AND BEYOND offers a scholarly critique of race and class in America
to better understand recent police killings in the black community. Brutally honest, insightful and informative, NOBODY is a book that is long overdue as it shines light on a disposable class of Americans: Black people.
The Robertson Treatment recently spoke to Dr. Hill get his thoughts on #blacklivesmatter and to learn his solutions to one of America’s greatest problems.
Robertson Treatment: Why did you choose “Nobody” for your book’s title?
Marc Lamont Hill: When I arrived in Ferguson, I spoke to citizens who saw Mike Brown’s body laying on the ground for more than 4 hours. As one resident said to me, “They left him out there like he ain’t belong to NOBODY.” Those words stuck with me. As the book developed, I realized that the term “nobody” was helpful for understanding how America’s vulnerable are left without the support, investment, and empathy that they deserve.
RT: How would you describe the day-to-day pressures of being Black in America today?
MLH: As Black people, we are forced to deal with a world that still distributes resources differently along racial lines. We die more at birth and we don’t live as long. We work harder for less money, get higher interest rates, get worse punishment for the same crimes, and the list goes on. Although we are not prisoner to these statistics –we can transcend our condition– they represent the challenges that everyday Black people must wrestle with on a daily basis.
RT: Based on your research and observations why do Black Americans continue to be plagued by the criminal justice system?
MLH: We live in a country built on the exploitation of labor. At one moment, it was slavery. Now, the criminal justice system serves a similar purpose. For-profit prisons turn punishment into a business. This means that the investment isn’t in rehabilitation, but in caging more people. This reality
is connected to “get tough” policing approaches, underfunded Public Defenders offices, and rigid sentencing mandates. These factors make life difficult for the vulnerable, of whom Black people comprise a disproportionately high number.
RT: How is the movement today different from the Civil Rights era?
MLH: Today’s generation engages in struggle by different means. Digital media has become a primary way of documenting injustice, as well as offering critique, organizing actions, and distributing information. Also, today’s activists have rejected some of the rigid orthodoxies of the previous generation. As a result, we see a more diverse leadership structure and a wider range of issues on the table. Still, it is important to highlight that, regardless of these differences; both eras are marked by a committed community of freedom fighters willing to work for justice at all costs.
RT: Has Obama’s presidency been a positive for the Black America?
MLH: That’s a complicated question. Surely, the Obama presidency has been better than the alternatives that were on the table in 2008 and 2012. Also, from health care to gay marriage, Obama has made considerable social gains for the entire nation. Psychologically, the presence of a Black family in the
White House has created new imaginative possibilities for all of us. Still, on a more fundamental level, we are wrestling with a set of social, cultural, and economic realities that have not improved over the past 8years. Unfortunately, our emotional investment in Obama’s success has caused many people to limit their critiques of his presidency. In many ways, we as a citizenry have yet to demand from Obama what we would from other presidents. As a result, we haven’t created the kind of positives that otherwise would.
RT: What can both sides of this debate do to improve present conditions?
MLH: I’m not sure that there are two sides to this debate. In fact, I’m not certain that there is a true debate going. That said, we must all marshal the best evidence – not opinion, conjecture, or finger-pointing- and use it in the interest of change.
2016 Chrysler 300 Sedan Platinum Series
I must admit that I was excited to test drive the new Chrysler 300 Sedan Platinum series. Coming off recent upgrades, the full size sedan, (which has long been a popular choice among family drivers), once again proved why it’s a strong contender. I was looking forward to rating the car for myself during my week long journey on Atlanta’s busy streets.
Wow Factor: From style to performance, the 300 gives off impressions of a luxury ride, without hurting your pockets. It’s a “smart car” that exudes a confidence that will earn drivers high praise from both passengers and other drivers on the road.
Ride: The 300 is powered by a V8, paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission offering solid acceleration and seamless handling. The ride also benefits from upgrades to its suspension and steering systems that translates to better on the road handling for both big city and highway driving conditions.
Comfort: A well-constructed interior cabin contributes to the 300’s quiet riding experience. It’s well-equipped with large, highly adjustable front row seats and an equally spacious rear cabin. With a design scheme that’s accented by rich finishes and soft-touch materials, the 300 also uses Uconnect Access – a highly intuitive
Spin Control: The 300 offers great looks, generous space and solid performance that will well-accommodate growing families. Armed with a MSRP starting in the early 30s, and an EPA estimated fuel economy rated at (19 city/31 highway), the ride is a solid investment that I predict will do well with a variety of demos.
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