Dr. Marc Lemont Hill Reorients the Anti-Colorblindess Argument… And All on Daytime Television

The conclusion of Racial Formation in the United States discusses the issue of “colorblindness” and, mainly, its contradictory nature. The main contradictions that come with the notion of colorblindness have to do with white right-wing’s accusations of reverse racism in contrast with the realities of racial inequality which results from structurally racist institutions. One of these institutions, the education system, is often a subject of scrutiny for colorblindness advocates who see affirmative action as an example of reverse discrimination. In the video below, Dr. Marc Lemont Hill engages in a debate with Colby Banahan, who has created Whites-Only Scholarships. After hearing Banahan’s claims to the scholarships’ legitimacy, Dr. Lemont Hill begins his refutation with a thought that I found very interesting: “Being white is itself a form of scholarship.” Dr. Lemont Hill points out this contradiction of a colorblind ideology in a way that many of the arguments in Racial Formations do not: instead of citing examples of racial inequality by using facts that expose how much less privileged African-Americans are, he uses the exact rhetoric employed by colorblind ideology that rejects affirmative action in order to show how much more priviliged white Americans are. Listen to the full debate below!


3 thoughts on “Dr. Marc Lemont Hill Reorients the Anti-Colorblindess Argument… And All on Daytime Television

  1. There is a competition of suffering. There are two facts: 1) there are poor white people, and 2) there are poor black people/people of color. Because the poor POC are of color, their poverty is greater (not just monetarily but opportunity-wise as well). However, that doesn’t diminish the fact that both groups are experiencing some form of poverty. As of now, I am not completely sure what the problem is with creating scholarships for poor white people specifically, provided that these scholarships do not strip resources and attention from the scholarships for people of color specifically.


  2. Nearly a year ago, “Black Lives Matter” posters were defiled and covered by “All Lives Matter” pro-life propaganda. The argument that ensued on this campus and across the nation echoed a similar complaint of “reverse racism.” By focusing on Black lives, opponents claimed they were privileging one race above others, which in a very simplistic and ignorant interpretation resembles racial prejudice. Somehow, the acknowledgement of persecuted Black lives by their own state government–a particular violence unique to Black lives–was purported as insensitive of other plights.

    Similar to this inquiry about why there are no whites-only scholarships, the faculty-endorsed support of the Black Lives Matter student organizers prompted the President of the Young Republicans Club to write an article asking why his group never receives the same defense by the administration and faculty (http://amherststudent.amherst.edu/?q=article/2014/11/03/amherst-college-republicans-response-all-lives-matter). The author even went so far as to shamelessly denounce the emails that identified the poster vandals as just that–“poster vandals and internet trolls” responsible for “tearing down, defacing or covering of posters.” In his own words, Robert Lucido, the Young Republicans President, asserted that this response to the All Lives Matter posters was “an utter disgrace” because this reaction was “not anticipated.” How could these department emails and student outcries possibly implicate the vandals as “racists?” Finally, he concludes his misinformed and embarrassing rant by pleading for the same outrage when his club, as “minority group” on campus, has their signs removed from various locations and events protested.

    The event protest that most irked Robert? The walkout of a climate-change denial speaker by the students in the Environmental Studies department, whose faces were proudly published in the student newspaper rather than cowering in anonymity. While I am unsure what constitutes Robert’s gall in referring to himself (a 1%, white male from a well-off suburb in New Jersey) and fellow club members as “minorities” on campus by the same merit that black students are minorities, his entire plea focuses on the ways that he is not additional privileges in a society structured to cushion his socio-economic standing and physical security.

    Tomorrow, Amherst students will see signs plastered across the campus that identify the death of free speech as “the true victim of the Missouri protests.” I excitedly anticipate another foolish response begging for support of a racially insensitive and ludicrous attack on black lives.


  3. It is really interesting that qualifying for this scholarship requires applicants to be at least 25% white. Whiteness is an ever-changing term which causes me to question how 25% is qualified. Do those in charge of endowing the scholarship ask for a comprehensive family history or simply require a photo and make their best guess as to a person’s breakdown of race? As is made evident through the video and scholarship itself, Colby Banahan does not understand the inherent racism built into societal structures, which would lead me to believe that his personal beliefs would find their way into the decision process through awarding scholarships based on levels of “whiteness.”


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