BOOK REVIEW |MARC LAMONT HILL ‘NOBODY’ — CASUALTIES OF AMERICA’S WAR ON THE VULNERABLE, FROM FERGUSON TO FLINT AND BEYOND

NOBODYAfter deliv­er­ing a speech at the United Nations, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill became vic­tim­ised by the media for speak­ing out for Palestini­an rights. Fol­low­ing the per­ils of many equal rights act­iv­ists he was imme­di­ately accused of anti-Semit­ism. Noth­ing was men­tioned about Jews, or Juda­ism in a derog­at­ory man­ner, he had made a state­ment cri­ti­ciz­ing the illeg­al occu­pa­tion of Palestine by the State of Israel.

As a bizar­re reac­tion fol­low­ing pres­sure, the respon­se from CNN was to fire Marc from the sta­tion without dis­cus­sion or even reas­on. This high­lights the lack of freedom of speech when it comes to talk­ing about Palestini­an rights and any object­ive cri­ti­cism of Israel. Dia­logues are shut down before they even begin. This is how I knew this man had a lot to say that needed to be heard.

In Marc Lamont Hill’s recent book, ‘Nobody’ he dis­cusses the bit­ter truth of vul­ner­able indi­vidu­als becom­ing so neg­lected by soci­ety that they have become invis­ible. This book explores how minor­ity groups such as the Black, Brown, immig­rant, queer or trans lives have become increas­ing more vul­ner­able as State power has increased. It high­lights the thou­sands of deaths by law enforce­ment every year where the com­mon demo­graph­ic is poor, young, men­tally ill, unarmed and Black.

This book explores the pro­to­col of a sys­tem engin­eered to inten­tion­ally tar­get, exploit and crim­in­al­ize minor­ity groups.  It goes into depth of sev­er­al cases of injustice such as that of Michael Brown who was killed by police des­pite being unarmed. These cases serve to prove there is a mis­con­cep­tion that all people of col­our are viol­ent crim­in­als and that minor crimes will indef­in­itely lead to more ser­i­ous and viol­ent ones. These indi­vidu­als should there­fore no longer be entitled to the same rights, cit­izen­ship and human­ity as ‘inno­cent’ people in soci­ety. Justice is only an illu­sion, that can­not be obtained by mem­bers of minor­ity groups no mat­ter how con­form­it­ive they may try to be in a mod­ern soci­ety.

State viol­ence goes bey­ond dir­ect effects, it cre­ates a deep physiolo­gic­al trau­ma which leaves after effects as exem­pli­fied by the sui­cide rate of pris­on­ers such as Paula Cooper. Dr. Hill touched on the privat­isa­tion of pris­ons and the ‘pris­on indus­tri­al com­plex’ where incar­cer­a­tion is a means of mak­ing money, the health of indi­vidu­als foes not always come first. An echo­ing stat­ist­ic shows 20% of Amer­ic­an state pris­ons con­tain men­tally ill cit­izens, the most vul­ner­able. The ‘qual­ity of life law’ pro­hib­its sleep­ing, sit­ting, eat­ing and camp­ing in pub­lic which has turned home­less­ness into a crime.

The book ends on a more pos­it­ive note with the notion that these ‘nobod­ies’ are lead­ing mass move­ments assert­ing that they are ‘some­body’ and are ques­tion­ing the legit­im­acy of State power by cre­at­ing move­ments again­st oppres­sion, State viol­ence and eco­nom­ic injustice. He reminds us that, ‘empires even­tu­ally fall, and that freedom is closer than we think’.

A thought pro­vok­ing and uni­fy­ing read.

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Faizah Cyanide

Faizah Cyanide

Faizah works in clin­ic­al research by pro­fes­sion and has been an avid Hip Hop lov­er since the early 90’s, hav­ing cre­ated her own Hip Hop event, ‘Break­in’ Bound­ar­ies’ in the early 2000’s which was pre­dom­in­antly based around the con­cept of bboy battles, she has worked with sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al events pro­moters and dan­cers to inspire oth­ers through this art­form.

About Faizah Cyanide

Faizah Cyanide
Faizah works in clinical research by profession and has been an avid Hip Hop lover since the early 90's, having created her own Hip Hop event, 'Breakin' Boundaries' in the early 2000's which was predominantly based around the concept of bboy battles, she has worked with several international events promoters and dancers to inspire others through this artform.