Journalist speaks on criminalization of youth in the United States

By Alvin Buyinza

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

African-American journalist and CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill gave a lecture called “The War on Youth” Wednesday evening concerning the criminalization of youth culture in current day America and how it has led to acts of state violence against Black youths.

Referring to the murder of Michael Brown, Hill says Brown’s death was a “metaphor for what it means to be vulnerable to state violence, and is almost representative of the war on youth.”

He discussed what he believed to be the vilification of Brown by the mainstream media after he died, but acknowledged the fact that Brown was not perfect.

“If we continue to articulate the narrative that black people need to be perfect to not get shot, we end up with a dangerous set of politics,” Hill said.

He addressed the failures of neoliberalism by highlighting issues like the lack of clean water in Flint, Michigan, low living wages for graduate students and labor workers at universities and the lack of diversity and representation in colleges across the country.

Towards the end of the lecture, Hill made a statement to resist the war on youth through joining activist organizations and protesting outside of the campus atmosphere.

“I just thought he included a lot of topics in the lecture and I thought it was really well put together, how he connected all of them,” senior journalism major Brita Turner said.

Others students like Samari Ijezie, a senior political science and economics major, thought Hill was compelling.

“As an African-American woman, it made me want to be more of an intellectual and seek knowledge in so many different ways,” she said.

Alvin Buyinza can be reached at [email protected].