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Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond (2016)

de Marc Lamont Hill

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2494109,750 (4.02)2
"Unarmed citizens shot by police. Drinking water turned to poison. Mass incarcerations. We've heard the individual stories. Now a leading public intellectual and acclaimed journalist offers a powerful, paradigm-shifting analysis of America's current state of emergency, finding in these events a larger and more troubling truth about race, class, and what it means to be "Nobody." Protests in Ferguson, Missouri and across the United States following the death of Michael Brown revealed something far deeper than a passionate display of age-old racial frustrations. They unveiled a public chasm that has been growing for years, as America has consistently and intentionally denied significant segments of its population access to full freedom and prosperity. In Nobody, scholar and journalist Marc Lamont Hill presents a powerful and thought-provoking analysis of race and class by examining a growing crisis in America: the existence of a group of citizens who are made vulnerable, exploitable and disposable through the machinery of unregulated capitalism, public policy, and social practice. These are the people considered "Nobody" in contemporary America. Through on-the-ground reporting and careful research, Hill shows how this Nobody class has emerged over time and how forces in America have worked to preserve and exploit it in ways that are both humiliating and harmful. To make his case, Hill carefully reconsiders the details of tragic events like the deaths of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and Freddie Gray, and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He delves deeply into a host of alarming trends including mass incarceration, overly aggressive policing, broken court systems, shrinking job markets, and the privatization of public resources, showing time and time again the ways the current system is designed to worsen the plight of the vulnerable. Timely and eloquent, Nobody is a keen observation of the challenges and contradictions of American democracy, a must-read for anyone wanting to better understand the race and class issues that continue to leave their mark on our country today"--… (mais)
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  pollycallahan | Jul 1, 2023 |
This book provides an earnest, if dated, examination of social problems that afflict the poor, people of color, and other U.S. minorities as things stood back in 2016. Issues include poor living conditions, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Author Marc Lamont Hill refers to “neoliberalism” as the source of these problems, but, unless I missed something, the author doesn’t really explain what this is or how it works.

This book needs to be updated to reflect the George Floyd story and the oppressive designs of the Trump Administration. ( )
  akblanchard | Jul 14, 2021 |
A wide-ranging book that dips into some of the ways that the powerful oppress the less powerful in America. I already agreed with the author on the issues. It seems like someone who doesn't, but is genuinely interested in learning about the issues, would not be turned off by the tone.

I'm not sure I've gained much more *new* insight from reading the book. But I think this book ties together a lot of points well, which helps me think and talk about these things in an orderly way. I think that's pretty valuable. ( )
  haagen_daz | Jun 6, 2019 |
Hill's book is a collection of essays focused on the people whose names have become party of a litany of violence against African-Americans in recent years: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin and others. These people who have been made a Nobody in contemporary America are given their full human dignity in Hill's account of their lives, as well as the incidents that brought their demise and their aftermath. But Hill goes beyond the headlines and uses these incidents as a window into the greater societal and political trends that undergird them: "broken windows" policing, plea bargains denying people accused of crimes of their day in court and the incredible power this gives prosecutors, "Stand Your Ground" laws and the arming of America, mass incarceration, and the neoliberal ideal of running the government "like a business" that leads to the exploitation and disasters of places like Flint, Michigan. This is a powerful book and important book and one I highly recommend that everyone concerned about the future of our nation reads.
Favorite Passages:
"The case for broken-windows policing is compelling because it lightly dipped in truth. Yet while there is a correlation between disorder (social and physical) and crime, research shows that this relationship is not causal. Simply put, there is no evidence that disorder directly promotes crime. What the evidence does suggest, however, is that the two are linked to the same larger problem: poverty. High levels of unemployment, lack of social resources, and concentrated areas of low income are all root cause of both high crime and disorder. As such, crime would be more effectively redressed by investing economically in neighborhoods rather than targeting them for heightened arrests." - p. 44

"Unfortunately, since modern American society, as with all things in the current neoliberal moment, prioritize privatization and individualism, the very notion of the public has become disposable. As the current criminal-justice process shows, no longer is there a collective interest in affirming the value of the public good, even rhetorically, through the processes of transparency, honesty, or fairness. No longer is there a commitment to monitoring and evaluating public officials, in this case prosecutors, to certify that justice prevails. Instead we have entered a moment in which all things public have been demonized withing out social imagination: public schools, public assistance, public transportation, public housing, public options, and public defenders. In place of a rich democratic conception of "the public" is a market-driven logic that privileges economic efficiency and individual success over collective justice." - p. 78-79

"There is plenty of reason to debate the central premise of privatization - that business always does it better - but we don't have to go there to find this idea objectionable. In the way that privatization separates government responsibilities from democratic accountability, the notion is flawed from its very conception. Businesses are not made function for the public good. The are made to function for the good of profit. There is nothing inherently evil in that. In most cases, the profit motive will almost certainly lead to a more efficient and orderly execution of tasks. But it does not necessarily lead to an equitable execution of tasks; indeed, it quite naturally resists and equitable execution of tasks. Furthermore, bu injecting moneymaking into the relationship between a citizen and the basic services of life - water, roads, electricity, and education - privatization distorts the social contract. People need to know that the decisions of governments are being made with the common good as a priority. Anything else is not government; it is commerce. One only needs to look back at Michigan to see this idea manifested because the crisis in Flint, as Henry Giroux has written, is what happens when the State is 'remade in the image of the corporation.'"

 
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1 vote Othemts | Feb 11, 2017 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Marc Lamont Hillautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Addo, KorantengArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Booher, JasonDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Brewster, ToddPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stanisic, RenatoDesignerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Thomas, WhitneyAuthor photographautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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For the two Mikes who changed my life:

Michael Eric Dyson -- mentor, teacher, and dear friend --
who placed before me an open door;
and
Michael Brown, who died August 19, 2014, so that
a new generation of Freedom Fighters could live.
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The ghost of Ralph Ellison hovers over this book.  (Foreword by Todd Bennett)
This is a book about what it means to be Nobody in twenty-first century America.   (Preface)
Forty years from now, we will still be talking about what happened in Ferguson.
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"Unarmed citizens shot by police. Drinking water turned to poison. Mass incarcerations. We've heard the individual stories. Now a leading public intellectual and acclaimed journalist offers a powerful, paradigm-shifting analysis of America's current state of emergency, finding in these events a larger and more troubling truth about race, class, and what it means to be "Nobody." Protests in Ferguson, Missouri and across the United States following the death of Michael Brown revealed something far deeper than a passionate display of age-old racial frustrations. They unveiled a public chasm that has been growing for years, as America has consistently and intentionally denied significant segments of its population access to full freedom and prosperity. In Nobody, scholar and journalist Marc Lamont Hill presents a powerful and thought-provoking analysis of race and class by examining a growing crisis in America: the existence of a group of citizens who are made vulnerable, exploitable and disposable through the machinery of unregulated capitalism, public policy, and social practice. These are the people considered "Nobody" in contemporary America. Through on-the-ground reporting and careful research, Hill shows how this Nobody class has emerged over time and how forces in America have worked to preserve and exploit it in ways that are both humiliating and harmful. To make his case, Hill carefully reconsiders the details of tragic events like the deaths of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and Freddie Gray, and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He delves deeply into a host of alarming trends including mass incarceration, overly aggressive policing, broken court systems, shrinking job markets, and the privatization of public resources, showing time and time again the ways the current system is designed to worsen the plight of the vulnerable. Timely and eloquent, Nobody is a keen observation of the challenges and contradictions of American democracy, a must-read for anyone wanting to better understand the race and class issues that continue to leave their mark on our country today"--

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