Marc Lamont Hill We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest, and Possibility


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In the midst of loss and death and suffering, our charge is to figure out what freedom really means—and how we take steps to get there.“In the United States, being poor and Black makes you more likely to get sick. Being poor, Black, and sick makes you more likely to die. Your proximity to death makes you disposable.”The uprising of 2020 marked a new phase in the unfolding Movement for Black Lives. The brutal killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, and countless other injustices large and small, were the match that lit the spark of the largest protest movement in US history, a historic uprising against racism and the politics of disposability that the Covid-19 pandemic lays bare.In this urgent and incisive collection of new interviews bookended by two new essays, Marc Lamont Hill critically examines the “pre-existing conditions” that have led us to this moment of crisis and upheaval, guiding us through both the perils and possibilities, and helping us imagine an abolitionist future.Review“Marc Lamont Hill offers critical insights into the whirlwind pandemic and racism have reaped. We Still Here appears at a time of intense study and debate about how we got here—and, most importantly, how we get out. Politics, history, strategy, and tactics are all that our side has. Read this book and we’ll see you in the streets.”—Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation“Marc Lamont Hill doesn’t shy away from the difficult questions, and he is willing to tell the hard truth. In this powerful book, his insight and commitment to justice leap from every page. Read it, be informed, and feel fortified in these trying times. Hill models what Henry James called ‘perception at the pitch of passion.’”—Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., author of Begin Again“We Still Here is a brilliant, timely, and inspirational book. Marc Lamont Hill gives a critical intersectional analysis of what got us to the present moment, but also paints a beautiful picture of possibilities for the future. This is the perfect text for students, organizers, activists, and leaders.”—Tarana Burke, founder of Me TooAbout the AuthorMarc Lamont Hill is one of the leading intellectual voices in the country. He is currently the host of BET News. An award-winning journalist, Dr. Hill has received numerous prestigious awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD, and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Dr. Hill is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University. Prior to that, he held positions at Columbia University and Morehouse College. He is the author of Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. He is the owner of Uncle Bobbie’s Bookstore in Philadelphia, PA. Top reviews from the United States Thinker5.0 out of 5 starsVerified PurchaseExtraordinaryReviewed in the United States on November 16, 2020Another brilliant book by Hill. This book is small, but powerful. It gives an excellent analysis of the pandemic and the current struggles against police violence and poverty. I’d recommend it to students, teachers, scholars, and anyone else looking to understand the current world.2 people found this helpfulHelpfulReport laquetteham4.0 out of 5 starsVerified PurchaseNecessary ReadReviewed in the United States on November 16, 2020I would recommend this to anyone wanting more knowledge and an analytical point of view to the current affairs . I love the question and answer style.3 people found this helpfulHelpfulReport deebadue5.0 out of 5 starsVerified PurchaseThis book is right on time.Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2020Timely. Informative. Rich in knowledge and perspective. This book is right on time as an end of 2020 read.HelpfulReport Amazon Customer3.0 out of 5 starsVerified PurchaseAmazon needs to learn how to ship books, Good Lord!!Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2020Great book but yet another Amazon purchase that’s poorly packed and arrived damaged.HelpfulReport Lem5.0 out of 5 starsVerified PurchaseGreat BookReviewed in the United States on December 8, 2020Great ReadHelpfulReport Timothy Lindsey5.0 out of 5 starsVerified PurchaseFull of lessons.Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2020This should be required reading.HelpfulReport Chris4.0 out of 5 starsProf. Marc Lamont Hill on race, Covid and police brutalityReviewed in the United States on November 25, 2020This is a short book, about 128 pages, consisting almost exclusively of interviews of Marc Lamont HIll by the French activist Frank Barat. Bookending the interviews are a short introduction by MLH describing how Covid-19 and the police brutality protests personally affected him and a short concluding essay where MLH calls for reparations for slavery descendants and exhorts activists to dream of a new society based on cooperation instead of competition, restorative justice instead of punishment, etc. Keeanga-Yamhatta Taylor provides a preface. The first part of the interviews with Barat discuss Covid-19 and the second part discusses the movement in favor of police defunding (or abolition). It is a very basic introduction to MLH’s radical left critique of the Covid situation and the defund police movement. I’m not the biggest fan of the interview format in books though the arguments he makes in his interviews with Barat are cogent enough. I found nothing to disagree with in this book, though in a book so short, there were inevitably subjects that I thought could have been covered with more depth. The book has no endnotes or formal citation system. I’d say the section on police brutality is stronger than the one on Covid.Here are some points made by MLH in this book:–The Covid-19 crisis brought to the surface the notion held among ruling class Americans that segments of the American population are disposable, especially the elderly and prisoners. In Manhattan’s Rikers Island jail during July 2020, the Covid infection rate was 7.86 percent while it was 2.62 overall in New York City and .82 percent in the US as a whole. MLH tells readers that 75 percent of Rikers inmates had not been convicted of a crime but were compelled to remain incarcerated in conditions conducive to infection because they couldn’t afford cash bail. Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey (overseen by Democratic executives, MLH might have noted) cleared out elderly patients in hospitals and shoved them into nursing homes without first testing them for Covid in order to make room in hospitals for younger Covid patients.–As tens of millions of ordinary Americans lost their jobs and health care, the Trump administration and Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was supposed to help small businesses (defined as an enterprise with less than 500 employees) keep afloat but the fat cats disproportionately gobbled PPP funds. There were cases of companies holding payrolls much higher than 500 receiving funds e.g. the $10 million received by Shake Shack. MLH tells us that the Associated Press reported last April that 94 publicly traded companies received at least $365 million, 25 percent of them having reported to shareholders that they were near financial insolvency in the months before Covid. AP also reported that $273 million had been given to 100 companies led by persons who had given at least $11.1 million to the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee or the America First Super PAC since May 2015.–by June 2020, billionaires had increased their wealth by 20 percent during the Covid pandemic.–MLH writes in his concluding essay that with all the money that our politicians have found to spend during the Covid crisis, no excuse should be given for their unwillingness to fund reparations for the descendants of American slaves.–According to the Journal of Public Health, Black men are three times more likely to be killed by police than white men–and Latino men are 40 percent more likely to be killed by cops than white dudes.–Black and brown folk experience a 50 percent higher rate of excessive non-lethal force from police than white folk.–Activists should have an intersectional approach to fighting police tyranny and in particular should focus on police abuse of women as well as transgendered persons and femmes. Why was so relatively little attention paid to Breonna Taylor until the George Floyd murder ignited the protests? Black women have been among the most prominent victims of police and racist vigilante violence and are more likely than men to be sexually abused in police custody. MLH mentions the case of Kathryn Johnston, a 92 year old who was killed by cops in an illegal drug raid and then framed for drug possession with intent to distribute; and Renisha McBride who was shot dead while seeking help at a white home in 2013 after her car broke down.—Police can’t be reformed. They are a tool utilized by the rulers of the capitalist, white supremacist, patriarchal American empire to maintain their power. American policing originated in slave patrols. Police continued their operations with few reforms in a positive direction when Obama was manager of the American empire–black folk continued to die at police hands under Obama as well as suffer daily non-lethal violence and harassment at police hands. Efforts must be made to combat establishment attempts to co-opt the George Floyd protests i.e. to resist attempts to center protest demands on issues like body cameras and community policing and away from demands for defunding/abolition.–The latest statistics show that annually 33 per 10 million people are killed by police in the United States. This is compared to 9.8 per 10 million in Canada, 8.5 per 10 million in Australia, 2.0 per 10 million in New Zealand, 1.3 per 10 million in Germany, 0 per 10 million in Norway, etc.–The fact that police create such harm in black communities doesn’t mean that black people who do harm should be shielded from accountability. The fact that police are so bad doesn’t mean that black people aren’t at risk from other black people; MLH notes that black trangender women are “far more likely” to be killed by black men than by cops. (In this book, MLH doesn’t articulate any specific vision of a post-police justice system. In his concluding chapter while he exhorts readers to imagine a society without cops, he makes an allusion to restorative justice but doesn’t elaborate for readers what the concept means. He seems to be of the opinion that the best defense against criminal activity is the adequate provision of living wage jobs, access to decent housing, education, food, health care, mental health services, etc).–Black women are three times more likely to suffer pregnancy caused fatalities than white women.One person found this helpfulHelpfulReport Kindle Customer5.0 out of 5 starsThe writing enraptures, kept me reading and receiving its essential message.Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2020I thought I’d just read some opening chapters and then get on with my day. But starting with the stunning brilliance of Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor’s foreward, the book uses poetic delivery as a tool to wrap its sophisticated arguments in the most digestible resources possible. And before I knew it I was at the end, repeating Lamont-Hill’s invocation to “start abolition and to decarcerate TODAY.”

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