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Why Does Marc Lamont Hill Discourage African-Americans From Pursuing Success?

Posted on October 3 2009 10:20 am
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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AIM’s Cliff Kincaid had another top-notch column yesterday which presented further research into the radical politics of Fox News Contributor Marc Lamont Hill. Kincaid highlighted the following quote from a February 2008 op/ed by Hill:

For whites, an Obama victory would serve as the final piece of evidence that America has reached full racial equality. Such a belief allows them to sidestep mounds of evidence that shows that, despite Obama’s claims that “we are 90 percent of the way to equality,” black people remain consistently assaulted by the forces by white supremacy. For many black people, Obama’s success would provide symbolic value by showing that the black man (not woman!) can make it to the top. Although black faces in high places may provide psychological comfort, they are often incorporated into a Cosbyesque gospel of personal responsibility (“Obama did it, so can you!”) that allows dangerous public policies to go unchallenged.

(I’ll leave aside that Hill does not specify the “mounds of evidence” demonstrating “black people remain consistently assaulted by the forces by white supremacy.” He also fails to note what public policies would be “dangerous.” There’s a bigger ideological fish to fry here.)

For poor children — of all races — born into the ghetto, what is the path out of poverty? Who are the symbols and role models they should embrace to inspire them? Are they anti-capitalist, anti-American figures like Assata Shakur, Fidel Castro, and Mumia Abu-Jamal which — until recently — Hill trumpeted from his websites? Or do the life stories of Barack Obama, Bill Cosby, Condoleezza Rice, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Sowell, Jay-Z, and, yes, Marc Lamont Hill himself present more useful narratives?

Hill can mock the idea all he wants but a “Cosbyesque gospel of social responsibility” works. The American Idea — that in this country one can achieve personal success as a result of taking responsibility for oneself and participating in the free market system — has been demonstrated time and time again to be true no matter the skin color or gender of the person engaging in it. And Hill’s personal success is evidence of this whether he can realize it or not.

Part of this “gospel” of personal responsibility is honesty. Now that his previously expressed radical views have been exposed Hill has a few options:

1. He can risk his lucrative position as a Fox News contributor by defending the politics and leftist symbols which the majority of the country finds repugnant. (The “Free Mumia!” cult is marginal even among leftists. When Michael Moore of all people admits that a “progressive” movement is off base — as he did in Dude, Where’s My Country? — then perhaps that should cause some reflection.)

2. Hill can reexamine his politics. He can have his own “second thoughts” and explain how he no longer holds the same views he once did. He can do the same thing as Obama — throw his radical friends and symbols under the bus in order to engage the American mainstream.There’s nothing wrong with changing one’s political opinions.

The above two options are intellectually honest. The third, which Hill has chosen to pursue thus far, is not:

3. Hill can hide his actual views by changing his twitter page’s background, deleting his myspace, and trying to ignore his critics. In this fashion Hill can “have his cake and eat it too.” He can collect his Fox News money and present center-left views on The Factor while retaining his radical credibility in the leftist culture of the uxniversity.

This third option is not acceptable. The intellectual culture cannot function if its participants are deceitfully hiding their true political convictions.

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