Marc Lamont Hill Talks About the “Nobody”



Dr. Marc Lamont Hill re-visited his alma mater here at Temple University on Thursday to engage students in a discussion about topics addressed his new book, Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond.

The book places a spotlight on the experiences of marginalized groups of people, particularly people of color, who Holl says have become victims of systemic racism and policing. Dr. Hill defines the ‘nobody’ as “Those who have been rendered disposable, by the American culture, by society.” In this sense, Dr. Hill expands on the concept of ‘the other’ that acknowledges the lives of those who are considered alien in society.

The speaking event was coordinated by visiting Temple professor Todd Brewster, who reached out to Hill in hopes of him engaging the Temple community in an enlightening discussion. “I hope that it’ll be something that the students would find invigorating and have them thinking about the kinds of things that are the themes of his new book,” Professor Brewster says.

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill with Temple Update reporter Nydja Hood

Most of the seats were filled at the Annenberg Hall atrium where the panel took place, and the students in the audience became engaged in the conversation during the Q&A session. “Not only was the place full, but also there were lively people who brought great questions and they seemed to really enjoy the event,” said Professor Brewster.

Dr. Hill said he wanted to inspire journalists through his dialogue, and emphasized that although objectivity can sometimes be a difficult task for them when covering these stories, ultimately, the truth will speak for itself. “Showing the image of Walter Scott getting shot in the back is enough. Showing Mike Brown’s blood-stained body on the ground, that laid out there for four and a half hours is enough. We tell the stories as best we can, and then we let the public make its own decisions,” said Dr. Hill.

Both Professor Brewster and Dr. Hill seemed to agree that journalists carry a great responsibility in their storytelling, and should be aware of the extent of their influence.

“I think it’s really important going forward that journalists take on an important role of shedding light, casting light, on things that we need to see in our world,” said Professor Brewster.

With a new president in office, Dr. Hill says he is hoping they will continue the conversation about policing for years to come. “One of the great things about activism in the last few years is that now you can’t run for president, or mayor, or governor, and not talk about policing, not talk about body cameras, not talk about stop and frisk. So I’m glad we’re having new conversations, I just wanna keep those conversations going and I hope whoever is president, will do that in an important way.”


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