On Wednesday, February 10th, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill graced Alumni Hall as a part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. Since his personal involvement and success is so elaborate, I’ll list just a few of his accomplishments: professor of African Studies at Morehouse College, CNN commentator, and host of HuffPost Live and BET News. He came to Penn State ready to challenge our minds with his topic, Chaos and Community.
As soon as he finished thanking Penn State for having him, Dr. Hill wasted no time mentioning that our struggle with justice is still not over. He explained that the election of the first black president did not solely dissolve our fight for equality. He suggested that we need to make our campus come to terms with its potential, even though change can be unsettling at times. With it being Black history month, he recognized Black history and its ideologies that have shaped America. When considering the history of our country, we must point out the hypocrisy of fighting for a free nation while enslaving millions of people. Dr. Hill acknowledged that Black people have been America’s social conscience from the beginning. “We are not an add-on to America, we are America,” he emphasized. The program became interactive when he asked us to stand up and sing all verses of the Black National Anthem. In case you didn’t already know, those verses are long!
The meat of Dr. Hill’s speech focused on how to achieve a better world. The first point he emphasized was to listen, because people often state their opinions while refusing to accept opposing ones. The comments under Beyonce’s “Formation” video on YouTube is a great example of this problem in real time. Next, Dr. Hill wants us to ask different questions. In addressing inequality, we have to approach the issue differently. Asking the right questions stems from getting accurate information. Remember, some textbooks tell a different story than the people who lived through it. Finally, Dr. Hill dared us to act bravely. Acting bravely means to turn to each other for support and recognition. With those points, he gave Penn State the keys to success in our ever-present struggle to be recognized and respected with the equality that we deserve.