Marc Lamont Hill

I must admit that I am a big Marc Lamont Hill fan, a professor of African-American Studies and Education at Columbia University; he is an intellectual; he has a certain “sense” of vitality and cockiness that I like. Moreover, he is smart and realizes it, especially when dealing with pundits that make various contentions predicated on pure emotions — as was the case the other day by Bill O’Reilly on The factor. Their debate centered around race and politics. And more, it dealt specifically with matters regarding the Tea Party and the New Black Panthers…. Both of these groups deal with complex issues of race, but the Tea Party tends to be more covert than that of the panthers.

Last night’s lead segment featured O’Reilly continuing to air the endless loop of the National Geographic footage of the same Black Panthers yelling the same things about crackers, and questions about why the NAACP wasn’t doing anything about it. O’Reilly thought it was a double standard, but as he often does, he hedged it, “Am I wrong here?”

Marc Lamont Hill had an answer. “Yeah, you’re absolutely wrong here,” he said. The rest of the debate featured comments like “what you’re saying is counter-factual” and “you have wildly unfair and unrealistic, and to some extent, patronizing expectations for the NAACP.”

This was fun too:

O’Reilly: I’m not a smart guy like you.
Hill: I concede that point.

Check out the video here:


10 thoughts on “Marc Lamont Hill

  1. I saw this and thought it was interesting. Bill’s guest tend to fear him. Not Hill. He reminds me of you in so many ways. Think about it. When you come into a room people notice and you know it. I think it is a black thing.

  2. If I’m understanding Dr. Hill correctly, his final point is that the NAACP should not police blacks because the very nature of the NAACP is to promote the advancement of blacks, not other races or stances. I would have to agree with Bill on this one. Just because you are advancing one race and protecting one race, doesn’t give that organization the right to turn a deaf ear to racism within their own movement. That is just common sense. I think that attitude goes against very basic Biblical principles: Luke 6:31 – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In the first few verses of Matthew 7, the inspired writter tells us about judging others. He tells us with whatever standards we judge others, the same standards will be judged to us. In verse 5, thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Those are very straight forward and understandable principles.

    To ignore wrong doing (racism in this case) is wrong. IF the NAACP wants to regain it’s credibility, they will need to stand up against racism wherever it appears. The analogy could be a friend to another friend. The friend has a heart to heart with the other friend expressing the need for them to stop smoking. However, the friend giving the charge is a chain smoker. Do you think the guy who is trying to correct his friends bad habit looses credibility over the matter? Absolutely. Or the 500 pound man giving a seminar on healthy living. The examples are plentiful.

    The person/organization dishing out the rebuking may be 100% correct, however, it does not make their same actions any more right.

  3. ON VIDEO: A few members of the New Black Panthers are clearly caught in the act of voter intimidation. Despite a slam-dunk case, the charges are dropped by the Justice Department.

    NO VIDEO: Members of the “Tea Party” allegedly hurl racial slurs at congressmen in route to vote on health care. Despite the level of coverage there and a $100,000 bounty for proof, no video of this has surfaced.

    Which of the two groups above has gotten taken out to the woodshed by the media? It’s not even close. Swap the Klan out for the New Black Panthers in front of a voting hub: (1) Would the Justice Department have dropped the charges? (2) Would the media have covered this case more? It is logical to ask these questions. I don’t get the “predicated on pure emotions” claim. That would seem to apply to those ignoring the bird in hand while claiming there are two in the bush.

    No group is 100% pure of jerks. When people rally under a banner and blow the horn of solidarity, they are bound to draw a few people with extreme viewpoints. The problem is the New Black Panthers and the NAACP get a pass when their radicals are exposed, but the entire Tea Party gets the scarlet “R”. Anyone who tries to point this out is dealt with by being called “emotional” or “non-thinking”. Ugh.

  4. Bob & Matt:

    I agree with both of you; Bill was right in pointing out the racist behavior and actions of the Panthers and the irresponsability of the NAACP. There is a reason I do not nor have I wholly supported the NAACP — going back to my jr. year in high school; however, I do question at times the motives of the Tea Party. Sure, this is driven by economics and not race…but there is an element that is so conservative regarding social matters — one cannot help but question their motives and its impact on the minority population.

    In truth, I love how Marc asked Bill to back off; still, Bill is right in pointing out the racist actions of the Panthers and what the NAACP failed to do.

  5. Matt:

    The Tea Party is in ideological opposition tothe poor, blacks, liberals, and othes. They are radical Republicans. Yes, it is a fact that some of their members threw slurs. I do not think its a racist party, but they are scary.

  6. Opposition to liberalism is not the same as opposition to the poor and minorities. That is itself an ideological opinion based on the belief that bigger government is always better for certain groups.

    I’m no apologist for the Tea Party, but from what I have seen their members are no more wacky than any liberal group. The racial accusations are a smoke screen to distract from a serious discussion of what is not working in Washington.

  7. While I find it hard to watch Bill, as he has such a grating style, this was interesting.

    And he was right that the NAACP has a responsibility to condemn racism globally, not just when it comes from whites.

    But, I also liked Marc’s definition change, that bigotry and racism aren’t the same. Though we may use them that way in a colloquial way, we might be better off defining them differently for the purposes of a deeper conversation about race in America.

    If racism is institutional (where bigotry is personal) then asking the Tea Party to expel bigots from their ranks makes even more sense, as the Tea Party does have institutional influence and reach. Similarly, though, the NAACP (which arguably has even more power) should condemn any and all bigotry from any source whatever. Otherwise they risk becoming an institutional propagator of bigotry and a tool of racism themselves.

    That’s a hair strong, but it is worth thinking about.

  8. Oh, and yes … the Tea Party IS creepy! It’s nearly impossible to take them seriously as much more than a thinly veiled racist organization.

  9. This video would be much more interesting if O’Reilly would let Hill speak.

    Now, a few thoughts:

    (1) I agree with Hill that racism within a fringe element of the New Black Panthers (more on that in a moment) is probably outside of the purview of the NAACP. The NAACP was founded for the purposes of promoting black interests. Consequently, their focus is on the elimination/exposure of what they believe to be predominantly white institutions that have historically exerted their power in a way that has denigrated and oppressed blacks. On the other hand, I have to think that a gifted rhetorician like MLK would have ditched the anger in favor of a conciliatory tone that would ask members of both sides (i.e., Tea Party and this fringe NBP element) to cut it out. Ben Jealous does not seem to be gifted in this way.

    (2) It saddens me that this is what passes for political discourse in this country. Bill O’Reilly annoys me in this video in two ways: (a) He constantly cuts Hill off and doesn’t give him an opportunity to speak. O’Reilly lives in the world of the media soundbite and his attention-span isn’t long enough to allow him to follow anything longer than a few words. Consequently, he is constantly trying to corner Hill who is just too smart to give in to that kind of BS; (b) O’Reilly seems to think that simply because he hasn’t seen a media report on something, it didn’t happen. Reports of racial slurs at Tea Party rallies have been all over the place. Is it possible or even probable that Jealous exaggerated? I’d say so, give his heightened rhetoric. At any rate, it seems inconsistent for O’Reilly to blast the “liberal” media for its bias one day, and then appeal to them as the ultimate arbiter of truth the next.

    (3) Finally, some thoughts on the New Black Panthers. Honestly, I don’t know the ideological map of the new party. I do know that their Houston-area headquarters is literally around the corner from my home (you can tell by my pic that I’m a happy little white guy). I have spoken with them on multiple occasions, shaken hands with them, and thanked them for the service they provide to my community, specifically the patrols that they send out to deter crime in our little corner of Houston. So, in my experience, they seem OK. Not saying that’s representative of all NBP…

  10. I disagree with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill about it not being in the interest of the NAACP policing the behavior of the New Black Panthers. The New Black Panthers’ behavior (specifically the voter intimidation case) does nothing to advance the cause of black people… I actually believe it hurts their advancement. Therefore, if the NAACP spoke out against this type of behavior, that would be one more step in the right direction for all black people. The foundation of this concept is to “Lead by example.” If you let the bad apples of any specific element run awry without speaking out against them, you do a disservice to your own cause.

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