As a young, educated black man, it is always inspiring to see someone else who embodies the same values you hold dear. I've watched Marc Lamont Hill go toe to toe with some of the worst Fox News has to offer when he was a contributor, like Bill O'Reilly or Larry Elder. He always seems to keep his sharp wit and intellect, while he dismantles his opposition with facts, statistics, and urban euphemisms. How can you not be a fan? He went on national television and called rapper 2-Chainz his nigga. Or told Bill O'Reilly he looked like a cocaine user when he was told he looked like a drug dealer. #Legendary moments by the way. So when he announced that he was coming out with his book "Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Fergusson to Flint and Beyond" (super long title, I know) I made sure my copy was pre-ordered.
Nobody was written as a voice for the vulnerable, a word that Marc uses quite often throughout the book. He describes the vulnerable as the people in our society who are deliberately not given the proper resources to actively change their circumstances. Each chapter is a well-detailed look into how the system failed these victims. Through Marc's writing, you will see how Mike Brown was doomed to a horrible fate even before he came into contact will Officer Darren Wilson on August 9th, 2014.
I attended a book signing Marc was having in Harlem where he explained some of the points he makes in the book. He spoke about how he came to title the book by talking with a woman in Ferguson after the killing of Mike Brown. She explained to Marc what the scene looked like after Brown was killed by Wilson, and how his body was left outside for everyone to see for hours before any medical examiner was called to take his body. As the smell of death filled the air, and hundreds of people were able to see such a terrible sight. She said his body was left on the ground as if he was "Nobody." Hill also explained that his original idea for his book as solely going to be focused on the conditions in Ferguson, however, as the years went on and more injustices came to light, he felt it necessary that he paint a broader picture.
Hill went into great detail of how all of many different incidents that were prominent in the media. What I was impressed with in particular was the fact he didn't just focus on the effect, but rather the causes. He didn't leave much for discussion as a result of how well-researched and nuanced his writing was. It is a quality that is missing in today's media. Another plus was the fact Hill closed out the book on a more hopeful note that describes the practical changes that need to be made for the problem to truly be solved. Many times authors can articulate the problem and leave readers more hopeless than before we picked the book up. Hill showed his readers what could be.
With the recent Charlottesville events, Nobody is a relevant story. Marc Lamont Hill takes you on a journey beneath what is shown and fed to us as the masses and beautifully breaks down what it truly means to be Nobody in America today. Great read.