Marc Lamont Hill on Black Elected Officials and Why the Political System Prevents Progressive Politics From Being Articulated

Black Americans have seen some historic wins in the 2020 election.

Cori Bush became the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. Middle school principal Jamaal Bowman took home a “W” for New York’s 16th Congressional District. And, of course, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will become the first woman and first Black person to be sworn in as vice president of the United States of America.


We out here.

Despite our (collective) excitement, media studies professor and author Marc Lamont Hill remains vigilant.


“I’m also always cautious that we not invest too much in Black elected leadership,” Hill tells The Root. The Philadelphia native says part of the issue is that the American political systems do not allow for a radical politic.

“When you have Black people elected in Congress, every two years, you’ve got to be reelected. So if you’re not playing ball with the Democratic establishment, if you’re not being responsive to some of the special interests, then it’s very easy for them to primary you,” said Hill.

The We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest author says that in addition to the political system, ideology is a factor in determining whether or not a radical politic can be articulated.

“We can’t presume that Black elected leadership has a radical or progressive vision just because they’re Black,” said Hill. “A Black prosecutor is still working within a system that criminalizes. A Black police chief is still operating within a system that normalizes the militarized presence of policing.”


Hill contends that Black politicians are but one tool that we can use to forge forward towards liberation. See the conversation above.

We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest and Possibility is on sale Nov. 10.

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.

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Uh Marc voted for Jill Stein and said we could survive a Trump Presidency. He can sit his ashy ass all the way down and not get back up

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